Prepare yourself for the wearable tech take over: companies are creating products that are going to improve our day-to-day life, one body part at a time. It all started with fitness wristbands and progressed into the Pebble smartwatches that many hold up as the success stories for consumer wearable technology.
So what’s next – where else will we be wearing wearables?
Head: Oculus Rift VR
This is one wearable gadget that has been in the news a lot recently – Oculus Rift was recently purchased by Facebook for $2 billion. This helmet takes virtual reality to a level that many did not believe could be achieved. This helmet is currently being used for gaming, which provides realistic immersion into the game. If you don’t think it could be that realistic, check out these YouTube videos showing people whose brains have been fooled by the machine.
Eyewear: Google Glass, Evena X-Ray Glasses, Innovega iOptik
Google Glasses are on the lips of everyone interested in wearable technology. These glasses actually only contain one eyepiece that allows you take photos, look up information, or even get directions.
The lesser known wearable tech for the eyes is the Evena’s Eye-On Glasses System which was developed for those who work in healthcare. In what is one of the first uses of augmented reality in the medical field, these glasses allow healthcare workers to locate veins in patients more easily or find leakages in intravenous (IV) lines.
This year, Innovega released its prototype for a smart contact lens to enhance the vision in the wearer’s eye, giving people “superhuman” powers of sight. Meanwhile, Google recently signed a deal with Novartis to start creating their own smart contact lens that will allow for blood glucose monitoring in diabetic patients – but that’s just the beginning of their technology.
This piece of ice compression technology was born out of the age-old process of icing injuries. To help athletes recover optimally, HyperIce developed this system that compresses the area while keeping it cold in timed intervals. The wearer doesn’t have to remember when to ice and when to remove – the system does that for them.
Torso: Hitoe Clothing
Japanese companies Toray and NTT Docomo have been developing smart fabric known as Hitoe Cloth. What that means is that the fabric acts as electrodes and can measure your heartbeat, sending the information through a small sensor.
Plenty of tech companies are trying to put a ring on it. This year, Fin was selected as one of the top start-ups by TechCrunch thanks to their smart ring that turns your fingers into a keypad. By touching different segments of your fingers, you can initiate different actions associated with your devices.
Legs: Ekso Bionics
If you haven’t heard about these bionic legs that are allowing paraplegics to walk around then you haven’t been paying attention! The bionic suit made a huge appearance at the 2014 World Cup when it was worn at the opening ceremonies. These mind-controlled bionic suits are going to be a replacement for wheelchairs and it is a very exciting development in aiding mobility for paraplegics.
Feet: Lechal Smart shoes
These shoes and insoles have only recently been released by Indian company Lechal. Called “interactive haptic footwear”, these shoes essentially work with your phone to help direct you to your destination by buzzing.
These products are really impressive and we have made a number of excellent innovations. Plastic Logic, an industry-leading company in the development of flexible electronics, is hopeful for the future: “This marks the start of a revolution in wearable products, the next frontier in consumer electronics – 2014 will be the year that wearable technology starts to go mainstream,” said Plastic Logic CEO, Indro Mukerjee.