The history of wearable technology is littered with commercial failures and a few game changers, with not much in between. The reality is, however, that the duds seem to outweigh the successes by a wide margin. With technology ever-growing and new advancements continuing to be made, wearable technology is becoming a growing interest for both tech developers and fashion designers alike.
2000: Levis ICD+ Jacket
The Levis ICD+ jacket was launched commercially in summer 2000 and is widely considered to be the first commercial wearable electronics garment. The anorak allowed devices such as a mobile phone, MP3 player and headphones to be able to be incorporated into the jacket, with buttons to switch between devices, and a section for the headphones to connect to the devices.
2002: Bluetooth Headset
The creation of handsfree phone calls is attributed to Nokia’s development of the Bluetooth headset. Enabling people to answer calls simply by pressing the button on the side of the small device that sits comfortably inside the user’s ear allowed people to take their phone calls on the go and continue to carry out their tasks while answering phone calls.
The fitness collaboration between Nike and Apple sparked a worldwide fitness trend. Allowing a device to be inputted into your running shoes, then tracking your walking/running distance, time, calories burned and your pace through the app on your iPod.
2008: Fitbit Classic
Further developments and upgrades have been made since the Nike+ such as the Fitbit. The Fitbit was the first wristband designed to track the wearer’s distance travelled, calories burned, the number of steps they have taken, the intensity of the activity they are doing, and is even able to track sleep.
2013: Google Glass
Google launched a trial of their glasses which allowed access to your phone through using a pair of glasses, however, it was not their biggest success. Many people feared the use of these glasses may cause headaches and device addictions after a significant period of time.
2014: Solar Powered Jacket
Tech developers are constantly on the lookout for ways to create new inventions that do not require the use of electricity. Tommy Hilfiger released a solar powers jacket that allows your phone to change while wearing it. This created buzz around the clothing item as it allowed for users to be on the go, yet still having access to change their phones.
2014: Activity Trackers
Another development of the Fitbit is the further advancements on the activity trackers. A simple gadget built to wrap around your wrist to track fitness, sleeping patterns, heart rates, and some have even been designed to monitor exposure to UV rays.
2015: Apple Watch
2015 was a groundbreaking year for wearable technology. Noted as one of 2015’s most anticipated wearable announcement, the Apple Watch has certainly lived up to its expectations, allowing users to text, answer calls, track fitness and even control their TV.
In an era where technology is slowly consuming people’s time, and removing people from the reality of everyday life Ringly provided a solution. Through a series of subtly vibrations the user is able to be alerted of their phone notifications but only has to check it when an important notification comes through.
A device created to assist those suffering from chronic pain, Quell is able to recognise the pain and is able to attempt to block the pain through stimulation of the user’s nerves. Being strapped to the user’s body, the device is able to pick up signs of distress and acts to reduce the amount of pain the user is experiencing.
Reducing the hassle and worry of whether or not your credit card is in your pocket, Barclay’s bPay was designed to ensure this never had to be an issue again. A wireless wristband connected to your card that remembers your pin and allows you to make payments with the simple swipe of your wrist.
2015-2016: Oculus Rift
The latest in technological developments was the launch of virtual reality. Through a motion sensing headset, a set of headphones and a display built inside, Oculus Rift allows users to step into a virtual world and experience virtual reality almost as if it’s real life.