The digital domain is creeping off our desktops and onto our bodies, from music players that match your tunes to your heart beat, to mood sweaters that change colour depending on your emotional state.
“Everyone agrees the race is just beginning, and I think we’re going to see some very, very big leaps in just the next year,” said tech entrepreneur Manish Chandra at a wearable technology conference and fashion show in San Francisco on Monday.
The market for wearable technology, which totalled almost $9 billion last year, should climb to $30 billion by 2018, said analyst Shane Walker at IHS Global Insights.
As wearable technologies proliferate, humans will need to adapt, said Georgia Tech professor Thad Starner. He advises Google on its glasses. Mr. Starner has worn his for several years.
“It seems like a paradox, but when you pull the technology closer to your body, there’s a seamless interaction, it’s more an extension of yourself,” he said.
But there are sure to be cultural and social issues. Google Glass and some emerging competitors have raised concerns of people who don’t want to be surreptitiously videoed or photographed. And what about interacting?
In a newly released survey from Cornerstone OnDemand, 42 per cent of workers said they would not be willing to strap on wearable tech for their jobs, with older and more traditional employees more reluctant than their counterparts. The survey polled 1,029 Americans aged 18 and over in August, and had a 3.1 percentage point margin of error.
And then there’s an issue of bandwidth, said Ritch Blasi, a consultant with SVP—Comunicano who researches the wearable technology market. At this point, there simply isn’t enough network service to support universal and constant wireless use, he said. But that too will catch up.