The Future of Wearables

Under Armour recently spent $710 million to buy three tech companies: MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, and Endomondo.

Why? It’s part of their plan to break into the newest tech market: wearables.

In recent years, the market for devices that stick to clothing and skin has experienced exponential growth. I’m not sure how much weight loss is affecting that demand. (The company that sold the most units in 2015 was Fitbit.)

But the market is beginning to grow beyond fitness trackers.

Oculus Rift. Apple Watch. GoPro. Wearables are now for everyone from gamers to entrepreneurs. With companies expected to ship 110 million of these devices around the globe by in 2016 alone with no signs of growth slowing, pretty soon, everyone will have a wearable of some sort.

But how will that affect our lifestyles?

Well, it might save many lives. And I’m not just talking about Fitbits decreasing America’s weight problem. Google has developed a contact lens that monitors blood sugar levels for diabetics that has an LED light embedded in the lens, which lights up to alert the wearer when their blood sugar levels have crossed certain thresholds. This invention, along with similar technology, could save countless people from hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia related deaths.

It could create a greater sense of connection. With virtual reality products like Oculus Rift, you can say goodbye to Skype and FaceTime. Why talk to a screen when virtual reality lets you talk face-to-face?

It could save countless man hours. You don’t need a computer nearby to answer emails. You don’t even have to go to the doctor for a medical checkup. Not when you have little bits of metal to do both for you in the comfort of your own home. If you do have a health problem, making an appointment to get it fixed might simply be commanding your watch to do it for you.

To add autonomous driving into the picture, think about this. If you had your entire day’s schedule in your smartwatch, you could just get into your car, and your watch would check your appointment locations and tell the car where to go. You wouldn’t need to look at the road once.

After all that speculation, two movies come into mind: The Incredibles, and Iron Man (not any particular one). I mean, Syndrome and Tony Stark basically took their wearables to the nth degree.

No, I don’t think we’ll have flying suits with bombs the size of an eraser anytime soon. (I hope not, anyway.) But if you’ve watched Zero Dark Thirty, you can clearly seen the how wearables have already been weaponised.

Back on the main topic.

I think that in the future, many people will have several wearables on them at any one time, for communication, health and whatever they happen to doing at that moment. It’s like having a second nervous system with bits of information about your health, number of footsteps, and your friend’s dog all being transmitted into your ears and eyes instantaneously. Who knows, maybe by then, techies will have figured out how to transmit taste and smell electronically. That, put mildly, would be interesting.

What cool wearables have you seen?

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