They say that the more we innovate, the faster we’ll innovate, and this is very true when we consider how fast technological development is happening right now. Whilst it took around 40 years for the first PC to be released following the invention of the computer (but not as we know it) during WW2, it now seems that there is a technology company coming out with some new fad invention almost on a monthly basis. Right now that new invention is wearable tech, and a lot of companies are pouring their efforts into developing the next generation of must-have gadget, focusing on the development of smart watches, ear pieces, virtual reality helmets… the list goes on. I firmly believe that 2014 will be the year of wearable tech, much in the same way that we saw the widespread adoption of the smartphone around 2009/2010.
The purpose of wearable tech
The main purpose of wearable technology is to change the way in which we receive information. Right now, most people have to dig their smartphone out of their pocket if they want to read a new message or email, but imagine if you had a watch that was able to tell you what your latest email was as well as fulling its duty of telling you the time. The point here is that wearable technology is meant to simplify how we interact with our existing devices; rather than having to dig a smartphone out when we want to see a notification, we can review it on something that is more easily accessible before deciding whether to dismiss the notification or not.
The rumoured iWatch
Apple is rumoured to be prepping it’s own interpretation of the smart watch, with its focus being on health and fitness. This is an interesting concept because although there are many third-party health and fitness monitoring devices and apps available for the iOS ecosystem, creating a device that is able to combine the functionality of these into what is otherwise an everyday device could prove to be a hit. If people are able to monitor their health and fitness without having to hook up another gadget or download another app then it may encourage them to explore the new features offered by Apple out of curiosity, and this could then lead to people improving their lifestyles in order to boost their health without having planned on doing so.
Dangers of Google Glass
One of the most popular wearable technology concepts that is still in its testing phase is Google Glass, a set of glasses that the user wears which beam an imagine in front of the user’s face. Google Glass doesn’t impair the user’s vision in any way, rather what the user sees is a display in front of their face that overlays whatever else is going on around them.
There was a case of a woman recently in the US who had been issued with a traffic ticket for driving whilst wearing the glasses, but the judge ruled in favour of the driver citing the reason that the device didn’t impair the user’s ability to control a vehicle. This case just goes to show that whilst there are some doubts about the suitability of Glass for certain situations, wider adoption will inevitably lead to people being more aware and educated about the device and eventually its use in any scenario will be accepted.
2014 has already seen the introduction of many new wearable gadgets, namely the second generation Pebble watches and virtual reality headsets, and with this I am certain that there are many more innovations to come as the year goes on. As people begin to get use to using technology is this new and incredibly interesting way, we can expect to see widescale adoption as the benefits are realised. Who knows – in 10 years time, somebody not wearing a headset could look out of place!