2013 became the first year in history that the majority of American adults have owned a smartphone of some kind. Now that carrying around a pocket-sized computer has become the norm, designers are exploring the use of wearables to find new ways for people to become even more connected to the Internet of Things. Consumers are showing an early interest causing some to estimate that over 200 million wearable devices will be shipped by 2018, driving more than $30 billion in revenue.
Much of the rising consumer interest can be attributed to the many household brands that have recently launched wearable products. At this year's CES show it was difficult to find a major tech company that wasn't introducing a smart device made to be worn in some way or another. While many of the wearables revealed at CES 2014 were watches, fitness trackers, or some combination of the two; those weren't the only items that caught our attention. Among our favorites were the Looxcie 3, which can be worn like a necklace or attached to a ball cap and is able to live-stream WQVGA-resolution video to sites like Facebook while recording at 720p. Another was the Oculus Rift 'Crystal Cove' headset prototype, which presents a truly immersive gaming and entertainment experience using a 1080p AMOLED display and infrared LEDs to reduce latency and improve positional tracking. Even the kiddos had something to be excited about with the FiLIP smart locator and phone, which looks cool and can triangulate the child’s exact position using GPS, GSM, and Wi-Fi hotspot to keep them more connected to mom than a backpack-leash.
While consumers can expect to see advances in wearable technology, including products that feature Android based apps and Bluetooth LE for extended battery life, advances in wearibility may take more time. When the novelty of wearing these devices wears off, look and usability will still be the determining factors for most. As a tip to those creating the next generation of wearable devices, Sonny Vu, the founder of Misfit Wearables, says that wearable products must be designed to look “either gorgeous or invisible.”
From glasses that augment reality to belts that monitor posture, designers are crafting wearable devices for every purpose imaginable. The opportunities are endless with solutions like NGFF connectors from TE Connectivity, enabling the development of next generation wearable tech. As 2014 sets up to be the year of wearables, Mouser will continue to provide the newest products from top suppliers. Sign up below to become a Mouser Insider and stay up to date with the latest information on this emerging industry.
Justin is a contributing author who loves to read and write about the advancements of technology and robotics. When not at work, you can find him conquering Risk and Catan or on an adventure with his wife and kids. Last Father's Day he received a #1 dad shirt, so now that's official.
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