The Future of “Wearables”

Smart armband, smart jacket, GPS shoes

Smart armband, smart jacket, GPS shoes

This morning Carolyn Higgins and Bizzy Schorr had the opportunity to check out a presentation by Jennifer Darmour of Artefact, a Seattle based product design company, on the history, present state, and future of wearable technology.Jennifer’s presentation went through a whirlwind of prototype products: scarves and bike jacket collars that transform into air bag bike helmets; fancy coats with built in safety lights for bike riders; shoes that track your GPS position and give you directions via tiny embedded lights on the toes; rings that help you get the most out of your workout; and a pilates inspired shirt that guides your form precision.

Jennifer’s recommended criteria–which seem spot on and which current prototypes are starting to follow–include beauty (it has to be aesthetically pleasing), periphery (it should make use of more than our direct line of sight, and respond to natural body movements (i.e. train it to interact with us, rather than training ourselves to interact with the technology)), and meaning (the data collected should be easy to decipher and apply).

While the concept of wearable tech is making great progress as far as building products that could be considered fashion in their own right, the two big hurdles are battery packs and making it washable. Jennifer didn’t mention the new graphene supercapacitors, but we expect to see some integration in the future.

As exciting as these developments are, neither of us is ready to jump on the bandwagon. Check back on March 12th as we continue the conversation.

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