Innovation reigns as wearable tech booms

By 2018, CCS Insights predicts sales of wearable tech globally to have increased to 135 million, with over 250 million smart wearables in use.

Apple Watch has been of particular interest this year, with talks of the Apple Watch 2 already surfacing. Strategy Analytics estimates that 4 million Apple Watches were sold in the second quarter of 2015, helping the overall smartwatch market grow approximately 457 per cent annually.

Wearable-World-Infographic

(Image Source: http://wearableworld.co)

Technological Advances

Advances in technology increase the range of products available, with hardware shrinking to fit new requirements, software developing to deliver new functions and data, and power solutions emerging to meet these constraints.

Texas Instruments suggests Adapting Qi-compliant wireless-power solutions to low-power wearable products as even the tiny micro-USB charge connections are too large for some newer wearable devices. With the convenience of use and added benefit of eliminating connector contamination, wireless charging provides some exciting opportunities to designers.

The WT Wearable Technologies Innovation World Cup is already accepting entries for the 2015/2016 competition with prizes worth over $200,000. Categories include sports & fitness, healthcare & wellness, gaming & lifestyle, and safety & security, and special categories of smart clothing and smart jewelry are also being offered.

Fresh Ideas

Personal Air-Quality Monitoring

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The enviro-tracker is a personalised air-quality monitor developed by startup Tzoa. It uses internal sensors to measure air quality, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, ambient light, and UV exposure and connects to smartphones so that readings can be viewed, and recommendations submitted. The device creates a crowdsourced map of environmental data in real-time.

Audio

Winning the Gaming & Lifestyle category of the WT Wearable Technologies Innovation World Cup 13/14, ViviTouch 4D Sound was developed with electroactive polymers (EAP) used as a flexible capacitor.

Stretchable electrodes are printed on either side of the EAP film in a particular pattern, and the polymer motors move the skin around a user’s ear, generating a realistic subwoofer experience.

Pain Relief

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NeuroMetrix, Inc.’s Quell Wearable Pain Relief Technology is an easy-to-use, over-the-counter device which helps relieve chronic pain.

Utilising wearable intensive nerve stimulation technology, this 100 per cent drug-free pain relief method is designed for conditions including painful diabetic neuropathy, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and sciatica.

Into the Future

Going forward, consumers can expect wearable tech to get smaller, less intrusive, and nearly invisible.

Personalised devices nesting inside jewellery or fashion items could trend, and efficiency and accuracy will increase with time. The development of devices able to ‘learn’ is an intriguing possibility.