Wearable technology has been around for decades in the form of things like wristwatches and walkmans, but over the past few years it has evolved to become something people can incorporate into their overall ‘look’ rather than a bulky and often ugly accessory. The wearable tech of 2020 ranges from classy rings with payment chips built in to smart outfits.
It was really the development of portable devices for tracking fitness like Fitbit that made people aware of wearable tech and this led to the emergence of items like smart watches. These were frequently very expensive and not designed with an eye for aesthetic appeal though, and the evolution of wearable tech over the past decade shows that it is a shift towards fashion that is the future for it. That does not mean that tech as a wearable accessory is dead, just that these accessories are being designed to look good as well as serving a useful purpose.
Smart specs and Barclaycard bracelets
One example of the move towards creating wearable tech accessories that are useful and fashionable is smart glasses. While Google Glass was first onto the market with these, it failed to really make them popular, but newer models like the Epsom Moverio BT-300 and Vuzix Blade mark a stepping away from the strange-looking designs of early smart glasses. The aim is to make wearers less self-conscious while retaining the smart tech features. If that is still a work in progress, the bracelets, badges and key rings fitted with a chip to enable payments using Barclaycard bPay represent a successful blend of technology and style and show how this industry is evolving.
Are smart clothes the future?
Given the evolution of wearable tech towards looking better on the wearer, the development of actual clothes infused with smart technology would seem a logical next step. There are already moves being made towards turning that into reality, with shirts and t-shirts that change colour sparked by stimulus like heat and light already in existence, and plans in development to create clothes the wearer can change the colour of themselves whenever they want. Another potential piece of future smart fashion we could yet see is clothes fitted with built-in piezo-electric cells that will let them act as mobile phone chargers.
Practical and fashionable
Tech to wear that combines looking good with useful practical applications looks like it is where the wearable tech industry is heading. People want to seem stylish but also to know that they are getting something useful. For example, high-end trainers that are fitted with GPS trackers in their soles will meet the needs of the fashion conscious while also letting people find their way around unfamiliar places or monitor where their children are.
We can expect wearable tech to merge with fashion more and more in the next decade, offering customers practical or exciting smart features within clothes or accessories that enable them to look good and feel great.