Wearable Technology: The Past of an Up and Coming, and it’s Future.
In a vast, fast moving technology industry thriving today. It is hard to slow down and really question, where does daily tech come from? How did it become so normal for the world to utilize consumer technology everyday? The industry is at a point where it’s past making the next great smartphone, it’s past making the next best HD television. Sure these things are still constantly in development, but now we see a major boom in the wearable technology scene. From fitness bands, to virtual reality simulators, top of the line knee braces for athletes making them almost inhuman. Some of the biggest names in tech like Apple, Samsung, LG, Sony, even companies like Facebook are taking advantage of the technology. 20 years ago one would only laugh at the idea of talking into a wrist watch, that is here, and it’s here right now. In the midst of all the excitement, in the middle of this battlefield of wearables. Let’s take a step back, Let’s take a step into consumer wearable technology’s past. Things today that are second nature to society, classify technically as wearable tech. Things used years ago inspired what’s here today, to utilize and make our lives easier and help enrich our lives. Let’s discuss why wearable tech may or may not be acceptable in society right now, and when will society be ready to accept new tech as a so called “fashion” statement.
A BREIF HISTORY
Brining it back all the way to 1972 the world saw the first “obvious” product of wearable technology. That’s right, the Casio calculator watch. The must have revolutionized version of the wrist watch. Not only did this gem tell the time, it had small number pad with mathematic symbols as well. The watch was a huge part of Pop culture at the time. According to an article from mashable “president Ford expressed interest in the $4,000 limited edition version of the watch at the time of its release”. On the frontier of obvious wearable tech. All sorts of fun gadgets were being manufactured from the time of the Casio up until about mid 1987. This year marked a huge leap forward for consumer wearable tech and we saw these evolve into something that helps people of all ages get through daily life. The hearing aid of course. According to mashable “one interesting thing was the very first hearing aids saw little success due to there bulky style, and very poor battery”. Obviously today these grew into a standered in today’s society. With much longer rechargeable battery’s and a nice subtle look. Hearing aids came a long way and are inspired by there very own past.
WEARABLES IN OUR WORLD TODAY
During the time frame of wearable technology being in development and evolving. Less obvious versions of wearable tech were all over the word being used on the daily. Wearables are not just VR helmets, smart watches, and night vision goggles. Wearables can be classified under tons of different categories. All headphones can be considered wearable tech, sporting goggles, knee braces, arm slings, contact lenses, polarized sun glasses, even a football fans soda drinking cap, all a type of wearable technology. What is most interesting is the distinction in society to what is acceptable and what is not. One example is over hear headphones. 20 years ago it was “cool” to have big, clunky studio style headphones and wear them daily in public. 10–15 years later, over the ear headphones lost style and we’re looked down upon as a fashion statement. Today over ear headphones might be bigger than ever due to trends in wearables and advertising. Some different products of wearables have a completely different reputation in society. Something as blunt as good glass for example, might not be something in society and the fashion world are ready to accept. An article from daily mail UK talks about a female tech journalist reviewing google glass at the time of its consumer release in a San Fransisco Bar. She was almost assaulted and was threatened by a man for looking at him in fear she was recording with the glasses or taking pictures. This is primarily a problem the tech industry is seeing with wearable technology. With the power of Google glass or something such as the oculus rift, the functionality of these products are unmatchable, but there physical appearance is something that the world might not be ready to accept in public. One might ask them self “is it worth wearing this VR Helmet if it means I look crazy?” This is a problem wearable technology has been and will continue run into when it comes to certain category’s.
EASING IT IN..JUST RIGHT
Others have the idea of style and functionality balance perfectly. Look at the current smart watch market. Watches like the Moto 360 by Motorola, and the Apple Watch by Apple. Are not only an amazing piece of technology but they are also amazing to look at. An interview from Time magazine with Apple’s own CEO Tim Cook said not only is thinner device meant to take you away from your phone throughout the day, it is the most personal device ever, that is why it’s beautiful and enriching. Looking at something such as the Apple Watch and the Moto 360 one can see where wearable technology is going.
From a calculator watch, headphones, the very first hearing aids. To the oculus rift, Google glass, Nike fuel bands. To something beautiful such as the Apple watch or the Moto 360. Wearable tech is a branch in a much larger industry, with a rich and almost overlooked history. Wearable tech is going to evolve into something bigger and something more “acceptable” in society. 10 years ago the world would laugh at the idea of a consumer watch that lets you take phone calls. What will be seen 10 years from today? History tells fads will come and go. Maybe the industry will see Casio’s re-release of a calculator watch? Most likely not. But technology alone has come so far, wearable technology is a branch that is going to grow even faster.