Wearable devices have long been promising to help us lead better and healthier lives while becoming less dependent on our bulky smartphones. Last year was a particularly important year for the wearable tech market as new products came out and actually delivered on these promises. Most notably, Apple released the Apple Watch. FitBit went public. Go Pro unveiled impressive action cameras you can wear to your adventures. Microsoft and Oculus revealed plans for Hololens and Rift, respectively.
Did this positive momentum continue on to 2016? Yes and no. Some market expectations have yet to be met—which is why some of these wearable devices are now tucked away in the closet after just a few weeks of use. That said, technology will no doubt solve the shortcomings we see today. Here are some of the things consumers hope to see going forward.
Longer Battery Life - Notoriously short battery life is one of the biggest obstacles preventing wearable tech from attaining broad market retention. People want wearable tech that can last weeks or even months—not just a few hours. Most devices still use components designed for mobile phones, therefore struggling to solve power consumption, form factor, and weight issues.
But worry not, as alternative forms of energy is now being used to power wearables. Tommy Hilfiger has recently released clothes with built-in solar cells that can be used to charge devices. Kinetic energy-powered tech as well as body-heat powered tech is also currently being polished to achieve commercial viability.
Invisible – In just a few years, the current wearables might seem archaic—like boom boxes on your wrist. Experts predict sensor-clad smart garments and conductive fabrics, and they’re already in the pipeline. Biometric garments that keep track of body vitals are now being developed. Future wearables might be as small as a thin film that you can hide inside jewelry.
Sentient – Are you frustrated that your $150 activity tracker can’t learn to measure additional exercises like jumping rope, kettle bell workouts, or ballroom dancing? Future wearables may be able to evolve as its user learns new things.
Wearable tech has a long way to go, but it is certainly headed in the right direction. Perhaps in 10 years, instead of having to wear a smart watch or band to track our heart rate and physical activities, we can just put on a shirt with buttons that capture our data and is powered by the ambient environment. It may never need to be recharged. It can tell us when to drink water, when to stop and seek shade, when to train harder, etc. The world of the future might just be so much better with wearable tech.
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