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Will we see an unobtrusive Google Glass as wearables trend towards the invisible by 2017?

Wearable tech is set to do a disappearing act by the year 2017 – not because it will fall out of favour and by the wayside, but due to the fact that wearables are set to shrink and become invisible over the next couple of years.

Not all wearables, of course, but that will be the trend according to the latest report from Gartner, which estimates that 30 per cent of smart wearables won’t be visible to the human eye by 2017. In other words, they will be pieces of jewellery, clothes, shoes and so forth with stealthily in-built smart features – and existing wearables will become a lot less obvious and clunky (we’re looking at you, Google Glass).

Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner, observed: "Already, there are some interesting developments at the prototype stage that could pave the way for consumer wearables to blend seamlessly into their surroundings. Smart contact lenses are one type in development. Another interesting wearable that is emerging is smart jewellery. There are around a dozen crowdfunded projects competing right now in this area, with sensors built into jewellery for communication alerts and emergency alarms.”

She added: “Obtrusive wearables already on the market, like smart glasses, are likely to develop new designs that disguise their technological components completely."

Gartner’s report, which is snappily entitled “Predicts 2015: New Business Opportunities and Complexity on the Rise in Consumer Devices Market”, also guesses that by 2016, biometric sensors (such as fingerprint scanners) will be on board 40 per cent of smartphones.

A further prediction is that come 2018, some 25 million head-mounted displays will be in the hands of consumers, with virtual reality hitting the mainstream.