Wear Next?: Could wearable technology blow all our minds?

For several years, we’ve seen designers and technologists experiment with wearable technology — merging left and right brain thinking in an attempt to create something meaningful. The problem has been bridging the gap between buzzword and bona fide success. Despite significant investment — step forward Google Glass — tech companies have failed to create objects of desire out of these elegant little helpers, let alone anything that’s actually needed. However, 2015 might just be the year when that’s all about to change…

According to CCS Insight, 2015 will see sales of wearables boom. That prediction was given credence at Computex, Asia’s biggest trade show, where wearables in a huge variety of forms were a big focus.

The Apple Watch is the most obvious example, alongside a range of fitness devices like Fitbit. Given Apple’s track record, it’s hard to bet against smartwatches becoming a must have but to our mind they’re not the most interesting or transformative example of wearable technology.

With Google now focusing on areas like smart textiles and a new micro-interaction chip, there’s an anticipation of wearable tech playing a growing and more immersive role in our everyday lives. This will see wearables moving beyond mini computers that sit on our wrists to become fully integrated into the things we naturally wear and carry.

Among the most exciting new developments are the products that don’t just feed information to the user but actually affect the mind and body. Thync has recently launched a product that alters the mood of the user by sending electrical impulses to the brain that either energise or make the user calm, with the ability to control the extent to which either occur. Similarly, a new product called Quell uses neurostimulation to relieve pain for people suffering from conditions like arthritis.

It may sound like science fiction but as applications mushroom our acceptance and expectations of this kind of product will inevitably grow. Wearables offer the prospect of a more instinctive interaction process, where the way we interact with technology becomes unconscious and embedded, and the focus moves to what we are getting out it.

How far that process goes is hard to judge but the possibilities do seem vast. We all negotiate the world through the limits of five senses, but immersive technology that’s literally wrapped around us offers the prospect of a different kind of human experience. This technology won’t hit the High Street tomorrow but neuroscientists like David Eagleman are working on technology that could bring us all a sixth sense and more — changing the way we all see the world in a really fundamental way. Whether you think that’s a good thing or not is a whole other debate but it’s certainly mind blowing.

Written by: Sami Sharaf

Originally published at www.opx.co.uk.

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