Wearable technology

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Wearable technology, wearables, fashionable technology, wearable devices, tech togs, or fashion electronics are clothing and accessories incorporating computer and advanced electronic technologies. The designs often incorporate practical functions and features, but may also have a purely critical or aesthetic agenda.[1] Wearable devices are a good example of the Internet of Things.


Wearable technology is related to both the field of ubiquitous computing and the history and development of wearable computers. With ubiquitous computing, wearable technology share the vision of interweaving technology into the everyday life, of making technology pervasive and interaction friction less. Through the history and development of wearable computing, this vision has been both contrasted and affirmed. Affirmed through the multiple projects directed at either enhancing or extending functionality of clothing, and as contrast, most notably through Steve Mann's concept of sousveillance. The history of wearable technology is influenced by both of these responses to the vision of ubiquitous computing.[2]

The calculator watch, introduced in the 1980s, was one original piece of widespread worn electronics.

Ilya Fridman designed a Bluetooth headset into a pair of earrings with a hidden microphone.[3][4] The Spy TIE includes a color video camera and USB Heating Gloves keep hands warm when plugged in.[3]

Twitter users can wear a "Pocket Tweet" using a Java application and cutting out and applying a Twitter text bubble to a person's shirt, one example of Do-it-yourself wearable tech that was part of an art exhibit for the Wearable Technology AIR project in spring 2009.[5] ZED-phones stitch headphones into beanies and headbands allowing riders, snowboarders, Drivers and Runners to stay connected, hands-free, always.[6]

Wearable technology has applications in monitoring and realtime feedback for athletes as well.[7][8] The decreasing cost of processing power and other components is encouraging widespread adoption and availability.[7]

According to Forbes, 71% of 16-to-24 year olds want wearable tech.[9] However, a study carried out in the UK in early 2015 among 1000 people reported that almost half (56%) said that wearable tech was "just a fad".[10]


Sony Ericsson teamed up with the London College of Fashion for a contest to design digital clothing, and the winner was a cocktail dress with Bluetooth technology making it light up when a call is received.[3] Zach "Hoeken Smith" of MakerBot fame made keyboard pants during a "Fashion Hacking" workshop at a New York City creative collective.[3] Graduate students from the Tisch School of Arts in New York designed a hoodie that sends pre-programmed text messages triggered by gesture movements.[11]

Prototypes for digital eyewear with heads up display (HUD) are being developed.[12] The US military employs headgear with displays for soldiers using a technology called holographic optics.[12]

Festivals and shows[edit]

Amsterdam's 5 Days Off festival included a free show called "Wearable Technology: Powered Art and Fashion."[13] In 2014, the Fashion Law Institute held a panel discussion, which focused on patents, about wearable technology.[14]


Wearable Technology is on the rise in personal and business use. In healthcare, many examples exist to date. Google Glass is a much noted device, offering promising technology but to many, pricey and awkward in use. Smartwatches so far have not been deployed much, as limited functionality and clunky aesthetics may get in the way. Some other devices are already in use, others still on the horizon—that wearables could be useful in professional and patient settings. Medical Professionals such as Google Glass Surgeon have now organised themselves in WATCH-Society the Wearable Technology in Healthcare Society, in order to search for collaboration and valid use of wearable technology in healthcare. The Society is a not-for profit organisation and open to all envisioning co-creation, collaboration and scrutinization in order to help healthcare from multiple professional viewpoints.

Modern Technologies[edit]

On April 16, 2013, Mountain View corporation Google allowed for those that pre-ordered its wearable glasses at the 2012 Google I/O conference to pick up the device. This day marked the official launch of Google Glass, a device that brings rich text and notifications as well as other information straight to your eyes. The device also had a 5 MP camera and recorded 720p.[15] Its various functions are activated via voice command. The company also launched the Google Glass companion app, MyGlass, the day before the official launch on April 15.[16] The New York Times's Google Glass App is the first third-party Glass App and it reads articles and news's summaries. It is also the first media app for Google Glass. However, in early 2015, Google stopped selling the beta "explorer edition" of Glass to the public, after criticism of its design and the $1,500 price tag.[17]

Smartwatches and activity trackers are two of the most popular types of wearable devices. Back in 2012, ABI Research forecast 1.2 million smart watches will be shipped in 2013 due to the high penetration of smartphones in many world markets, the wide availability and low cost of MEMS sensors, energy efficient connectivity technologies such as Bluetooth 4.0, and a flourishing app ecosystem.[18] On March 19, 2014, Motorola unveiled Moto 360 smart watch powered by Android Wear, a modified version of Android designed specifically for smart watches and other wearables.[19][20]

At CES 2014, wearable technology was a popular topic, and the event was coined the "The Wearables, Appliances, Cars, and Bendable TVs Show” by many industry influencers.[21] Several wearable products that were showcased include Smart watches, SmartBands, Smart Jewelry, glasses, and earbuds.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ What is a Wearable Device? WearableDevices.com. Retrieved 10-29-2013
  2. ^ "Wearable Computing: A First Step Toward Personal Imaging". IEEE Computer 30 (2). 
  3. ^ a b c d Alexandra Le Tellier Tech Togs July 22, 2009 Technology Brand X/ LA Times
  4. ^ And you thought the Jawbone Headset was stylish, LA Times blog
  5. ^ Chris Davies Pocket Tweet app turns your shirt into a Twitter bubble July 1, 2009 SlashGear
  6. ^ "ZED-phones". 
  7. ^ a b Duncan Smith The Rise of the Virtual Trainer July 13, 2009 Product Design and Development
  8. ^ Simon Jones In pro sports, wearabletech is already mainstream December 9, 2013, WearableTechWatch
  9. ^ By Victor Lipman. Forbes."71% Of 16-To-24-Year-Olds Want 'Wearable Tech.' Why Don't I Even Want To Wear A Watch?". September 22, 2014. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
  10. ^ Simon Jones Our survey says ...something doesn't add up April 16, 2015 WearableTechWatch
  11. ^ Restauri, Denise. "The Brains Behind The Hoodie That Texts". Forbes. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Anne Eisenberg Inside These Lenses, a Digital Dimension April 25, 2009 New York Times
  13. ^ Joel Weickgenant Plenty of Spinning, but More Than Just the D.J. July 15, 2009 New York Times
  14. ^ Clark, Evan (9 February 2014). "Patents in a Wearable Tech World". WWD. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "Tech specs". Google. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "Google Finally Reveals Glass Specifications, MyGlass App Now Live". Self Screens. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  17. ^ http://uk.businessinsider.com/tony-fadell-releasing-google-glass-explorer-beta-to-public-mistake-2015-7
  18. ^ More Than One Million Smart Watches will be Shipped in 2013, ABI Research
  19. ^ "Moto 360: It’s Time". The Official Motorola Blog. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  20. ^ "Sharing what’s up our sleeve: Android coming to wearables". Official Google Blog. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  21. ^ http://www.cnet.com/news/wearable-tech-at-ces-2014-many-many-small-steps/

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