The growth of wearable technology has beyond exponential, beyond explosive.
In 2010, U.S. consumers spent a mere $6.5 million on devices worn on your body. By 2015, sales have multiplied more than 1,000 times to over $7 billion and are expected to top $12 billion in 2018.
The Apple Watch has played a crucial role in rise of the wearable and one of the key functions users are seeking are the health monitoring functions of the device, with smart watches incorporating the features that fitness activity trackers have popularized.
Samsung has just announced the release of a Bio-Processor, which “measures body fat, and skeletal muscle mass, heart rate, heart rhythm, skin temperature and stress level,” according to the tech giant. It is scheduled to begin to be available in new devices by the first half of 2015.
Beyond self-monitoring, wearables now offer medical uses that could transform the treatment of many chronic diseases.
“The healthcare industry has started to adopt wearable technology with solutions such as automated devices for asthma monitoring and management, back therapy devices to bring relief from lower back pain, battery operated knee brace to provide relief from pain for more than 40 hours as well as sensors to monitor family members with memory problems attributed to conditions such as Alzheimer’s,” Glenn Blake at CloudTweaks reports.
But the biggest sign that wearables have reached a crucial tipping point is the fashion industry’s increasing attempts to embrace of the technology.
As smartphones have become commonplace, many developers are incorporating digital text and “smart ink” as fashion statements.
This year’s Consumer Electronic Show is the first since the release of the Apple Watch, which Cnet’s Richard Nieva called a “gateway drug for many into the habit of wearing computer chip.”
The show will feature its annual FashionWare show and far more wearable technologies than ever before.
“Compared to last year, the square footage of the wearable tech section at CES has quadrupled to 9,400, according to the Consumer Technology Association,” Nieva reports. “The number of wearables exhibitors has almost tripled to 41, not including the companies that fall into the health and fitness category, like Fitbit.”
If wearables do become as commonplace as many expect, the potential for secondary uses — like cashless payments — is massive.
But the surest sign of this category’s success would be the demise of the word “wearable,” which is kind of terrible. It even rhymes with terrible.
We won’t need a special word for devices we wear because wearable technology will be in everything.
[Image by Teppo Kotirinta | Flickr]