The Apple Watch debuted a few weeks ago to...less than spectacular fanfare. Don’t get us wrong: it is certainly an ambitious, highly anticipated, intriguing piece of technology that will undoubtedly reshape communication and uh, you know, tell you what time it is. It just seems redundant - and wasn’t the whole point of putting a clock in your phone to make watches obsolete? Also, the battery only lasts one day and the darn thing might cost you $10k. Wearable tech has been a dream for many years, and thanks to the Apple Watch a very visible manifestation has caught the public’s attention. From here, the trend in wearables likely to get smaller in size, more intuitive, and more capable of complex, multifaceted executions. Here’s a look at a few key players that have caught our eye:
A team from MIT is working on a thumbnail trackpad that will permit users to go virtually hands free in an extremely naturalistic fashion, and even add custom skins to the nail to match a brand new manicure! Android is releasing wrist controls for its own Android Wear watch, upping their game in the Smart Watch category. Gesture control will also play a huge role in television command, hands-free driving controls, and more. Microsoft is even patenting a new method of gesture control using floating holograms.
One of the coolest wearable technologies is the line of performance athletic clothing from Athos, which tracks muscle output, heart rate, breathing, and stability to a smartphone app, all while compressing, wicking, and even providing UPF 50 sun protection. A key to the expansion of wearable tech will be flexibility or “soft machines”, critical for incorporation into clothing. OLED screens are already making a splash in this area, but the next leap forward could be soft, printable, durable circuits made from liquid metal. Researchers at Purdue University have developed a suspension of gallium-indium nanoparticles that they say can print circuits using an inkjet printer creating flexible, selectively activated electronics in a wide variety of fabrics.
Perhaps the most exciting advancement in wearable tech is something that has the power to not just change lives, but save them. From cancer-detecting bras to physiology-tracking apps, the medical wearable future is nigh! Desert Valley is using wearable tech to keep pregnant patients upright to reduce c-sections; Echo Labs is revolutionizing the way we practice medicine. Changes are coming, and they look awesome. Next up: socks that save!
From performance gear to medical tech, the future looks bright - and fashionable - for wearables!
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