What are wearables? Glad you asked! Quite simply, they’re accessories or pieces of clothing that have computers or other technologies built into them – how cool is that? Even though wearables have technically been around for 35 years – the first wearable was a calculator-watch created in 1980 – the wearable market has only started to become more and more profitable over the last few years.
A well-known example of a wearable is the Google Glass – glasses you can wear and use regularly, but that also function as a mobile computer. To put it lightly, Google Glass doesn’t exactly seem like the most practical invention – it’s gained a lot of notoriety for having a lot of technical difficulties. But there are a few other wearables in the works or that have already been released that seem a lot more promising.
Some wearables are very basic and have already started to become widely used, such as watches that give you message and email alerts and clothing attachments that track data such as heart rate and blood pressure. Nike even decided to take part in the wearable game for a while with its fitness-friendly Fuelband, which exercisers could use to calculate their step count, sleep quality and regulate how many calories they burned per day.
Now other companies are trying to think outside of the box when it comes to what can be considered a piece of wearable technology. From earbuds that can be used to process and transmit data to a sock that a parent can put on his or her child to analyse heart rate and sleeping patterns, there’s no telling what wearable creators will do next. Here are some of the more interesting wearables that have come about over the last couple of years.
Ever wanted to be able to tell when your baby’s diaper needs changing simply by refreshing your Twitter feed? No? Well, now you can anyways! Huggies has developed a wearable called the TweetPee, a sensor that parents can clip onto their baby’s diaper and that sends a signal to mom or dad’s iPhone app to let them know when it’s changing time.
2. The D-Shirt
Fabric design company Cityzen Sciences has created the D-Shirt, a wearable that can track your activity and location. Wearers can wash and dry it like a regular shirt, as long as they take out the built-in transmitter first. Pretty cool!
3. Smart Socks
This one’s for all you obsessive-compulsive types out there. Smart Socks contain a chip that sends data to a phone app called BlackSocks. You can then use the app to make sure that each sock is always matched up with one other specific sock, so nothing can get mixed up. You can also use the app to see how many times each sock has been washed, as well as how many washes you have left until the sock starts to fall apart.
The challenge that wearable creators are now having to face is finding a way to make their inventions useful yet physically appealing – nobody wants to buy a wearable that doesn’t do anything worth his or her while, and nobody wants to wear anything that’s going to make him or her look weird or out of place… like the Google Glass.
What do you think of wearables? Do you think you’re going to start seeing wearable more often in everyday life?
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