‘Wear’ Will Wearable Technology Take Us This Year?

Racepoint Global

Written by: Simran Devgun – Client Executive, Racepoint Global UK

Last week, the Racepoint Global London team joined tech enthusiasts from across the country for the fifth annual Wearable Technology Show (WTS).

With the wearable technology market estimated to be worth $34 billion in 2020*, along with the impact wearable tech already has on our day-to-day lives, its importance is undeniable.

Whether a fitness tracker or a smart-watch, it seems that everyone has some version of wearable technology. With that being said, we went to this year’s WTS to find the most remarkable, innovative and downright-weird emerging technologies in the sector.

We left the show with some very invaluable insights into the world of wearables; here is our round-up from this year’s event.

Putting the ‘tech’ in textiles

Smart-textiles may not be your first thought when discussing wearables, but in recent years the industry has seen massive growth, making it was one of the largest areas of technology at this year’s show.

We spoke to Kymira, a sports brand that uses infra-red technology to support and enhance the performance of athletes. What is more interesting, however, is the new technology the team is developing that could change the game for consumers. Kymira has successfully created clothing that uses exercise to power electronic devices.

The technology is still in its prototype stage, but in a world where we love smartphones, hate having low-battery and (arguably) need more exercise, this could very much be the next big thing.

We also saw innovation with Conductive Transfers. This start-up prints conductive circuits into clothing and has already been applied to create portable ECGs and caps that can measure brain activity.

These developments prove smart-textiles are not only for the fitness conscious. We’re seeing an influx of healthcare and military applications and with the industry only set to grow, we’re looking forward to further advancements.

The applications for VR are virtually endless

It used to be that virtual reality headsets were for the gaming geeks who wanted to get lost in the land of make-believe; but no more. Now, brands including Facebook, Google and Amazon are creating their own uses for VR – industries from product design to real estate, and notably, healthcare, are investing in the technology.

The Korean company, The Joyful Space of Creation, has developed a virtual reality game that children can play before surgery to reduce anxiety. The game puts the child in an interactive scenario where they can begin to understand medical instruments and become more relaxed in the unfamiliar hospital environment by collecting magic items and talking to friendly characters.

By tapping into the fact that children love to play video games, and combining it with cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, it is claimed that the game can help to reduce stress levels in children by 40%.

Virtual reality is becoming accessible for all disciplines, and with the ease of linking virtual reality hardware to smartphones, its impact on consumers and businesses will only grow.

The potential for wearable technology is limitless

Wearable technology is undoubtedly on the rise. While our first thought may go toward fitness trackers and smart-watches, there is definite scope for all industries to use wearable technology for their own advancements. Businesses can use VR to train staff, hospitals can use intelligent textiles to detect illnesses, and light sleepers can use specially designed noise-cancelling earplugs to block out snoring (essential!) – improving efficiency and lowering costs.

What we learnt at this year’s show is merely the tip of the iceberg with so many other prototypes in development. Wearables are becoming more efficient, more personalized and more adaptable. We’re looking forward to seeing how much will have changed at next year’s show.