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Georgina Bradbury

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What is the future of wearable technology?

Wearable technology is an undeniable trend and many brands such as Nike, Apple, Samsung and Google are all bringing out products to satisfy consumers growing awareness and demand for new products.

A lot recently has been publicised about smartwatches in particular due to the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch and the new Apple iWatch- does this mean the future of wearable technology is all about wrist based devices? Can wearable technology cross over from being an fashion accessory to being a functioning part of our everyday lives? What do you think will happen in the future of this industry?


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    Nov 5 2013: I don't believe that wearable technology has a future unless it evolves to seamlessly overlay with the physical/real world. For want of a better expression, I guess I'm talking about a "wearable augmented reality" or perhaps even an immersive technology.

    At the moment there is too much of a disconnect between the virtual and the real. This disconnect means that if your attention is focused on the virtual, you are not paying attention to the physical and vice versa. Even if you are prepared to accept this disconnect and its implications, the law is not. This perspective is evidenced by the fact that wearing google glass while driving is now classed as a driving violation in several countries (I never really understood why this came as a big surprise to anyone).

    When I talk about a wearable augmented reality, I'm not talking about a clever way to have virtual and physical worlds diiscretely visible in the same field of view. I'm talking about a technology that merges the two and allows synergies to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

    So I envisage a world where wearable technology is not seen as a potential contributor to accidents, but rather as a means to reduce accidents. A world where wearing the technology will reduce your insrance premium or perhaps a world in which it becomes illegal to drive without augmented reality.

    I appreciate that google glass sells itself as "augmented reality", but at this point it has never been more true that "the map is not the territory".

    Until technology provides us with a more seamless means by which we can merge two maps and then get in and walk around, we're pretty much just finding more technically sophisticated ways of strapping a smartphone to our body.

    At the moment I don't see wearable technology as any great radical innovation set to change the world, more a set of incremental innovations designed to guarantee revenue streams.

    Bah Humbug and all that.

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