Here Comes the Wearable Tech Revolution
Wearable tech isn’t anything new. We’ve had smart watches for years now and bluetooth headphones before that, With traditional versions of both of these devices for far longer. Innovations like shoes that track a runner’s speed, distance, and form have become fairly common in the last ten years. The tech industry as a whole is always advancing and more and more seems to be doing so at an exponential pace. At times, wearable tech has seemed to struggle to keep pace, with devices such as Google Glass and Snapchat Spectacles failing to live up to their hype, but there have been a few survivors. The Apple Watch and The Oculus Rift are two of the more high profile success stories, which continue to live on thanks to software updates and hardware iterations. That said, it takes both the successes and the failures to pave the way for the tech that follows.
So it seems we may finally be the cusp of a true wearable revolution. The proven success and desire for wearable tech is urging companies forward in developing new innovative methods, while at the same time the barriers that had previously repelled consumers, think cost, functionality, and feasibility, are starting to fall. The mainstream brands like Apple and Oculus can continue to evolve and grow existing tech, but fresh concepts are stretching and pulling the industry in exciting, new and necessary directions. We want to profile two that have recently caught our attention and which we’re planning to keep an eye on as they evolve and grow.
First up, is the Tap Strap, which is an attempt to innovate on the keyboard/mouse interface combo. These two peripherals have both remained largely unchanged since their invention and for the most part are mandatory when it comes to operating a computer. The Tap Strap seeks to combine both into a single device while also evolving the experience of both activities. By wearing a series of interconnected rings your hand becomes the device and you input commands through a series of gestures with your fingers, almost a morse code type system. The possibilities for this seem promising, potentially providing a new method of typing for use with headsets that completely obscure the users vision, as well as for the visually impaired. It also seems like the first genuine step towards the exciting tech predicted almost two decades ago in the movie, Minority Report!
Our other featured tech is from the partnership between Google and Levi’s. Together they’ve developed a jacket with touch sensitivity that can act as the interface device for phone. Levi’s jean jackets are a timeless piece of fashion and this newest appears to be no different, but appearances are deceiving. Woven in with the standard denim material are conductive fibers, which are connected to your phone via Google’s contribution to the collaboration, their Jacquard Tag. Jacquard interprets the various gestures you perform on the sleeve of your jacket, think tapping to answer a call or swiping to turn up the volume on your podcast, and relays them to your phone. And a single Jacquard can serve for a number of different products, so once your whole wardrobe as the conductive fibers you won’t need a tag for each one of your shirts.
The possibilities for wearable tech truly are endless and the desire for tech that more easily and less obtrusively integrates into our daily life will continue to drive the industry forward. Who knows how far away we are from the day when every pair of glasses can also serve as a web browser, but it may be a lot closer than you think.