Ever since the Caped Crusader first donned his famous utility belt, the idea of wearable gadgets has captured the imagination. Of course wearable technology is nothing new and even the earliest wristwatches and spectacles fall into this category but today's technological advances and miniaturisation have opened up an immense range of possible future applications limited it seems only by our imagination.
The Smart WatchThe Apple Watch is probably the most hyped example of the smart watch but is certainly not the first nor the most advanced. Despite huge pre-launch publicity, its sales have been slow and by Apple's standards it must be regarded as something of a flop. Its fitness app gives such information as how long you have been sitting for and of course it works perfectly well as a watch (but so does a bottom of the range Casio!). Its appearance may impress a twelve year old gadget fan but most mature adults will find it rather tacky. The main problem is that it really only functions as an iPhone accessory making it about as interesting as a TV remote control.
Fitness BandsFitness Bands such as Fitbit and Jawbone are hugely popular as their wearers seem to believe that simply by wearing them they are following a life changing fitness routine. Their measurement parameters are fairly basic but give some indication as to an individual's fitness levels. Serious athletes rely on more sophisticated monitoring in order to optimise training techniques and achieve the best possible performance.
Contactless Payment DevicesThis technology has been around for a long time now but its take-up has been slow. For most users it seems like gadgetry for the sake of it with no particular advantages but for retailers and banks it represents a great way to get money with no need for any expensive human input. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Barclays are working on providing customers with smart key fobs, stickers and wristbands.
Fashion and ClothingWhen Katy Perry wore a Cute Circuit LED illuminated dress in 2010, the idea of wearable technology in fashion really took off. Smart textiles are now available capable of displaying changing patterns, colours and even tweets! It may simply be a gimmick but has huge sales potential.
Military UniformsFollowing on from the above, smart fabrics have a significant future in the design of military uniforms. Although we are unlikely to see our armed forces going into action wearing Katy Perry dresses, military uniforms will certainly incorporate sophisticated circuitry to power all kinds of equipment. The advent of ultra-thin flexible batteries with solar and kinetic charging will add to the smart uniform's capabilities.
Click on Image to Enlarge