TFOT

Fashion Forward: Wearable Tech for Tomorrow’s Fashionista

Memi smartbracelet

Memi smartbracelet (Credit: Memi)

We’ve come a long way since the calculator watch of the 80’s, but the road to consumer accepted wearable tech has been anything but smooth. Nowhere is this more real than in female fashion. Becky Stern, director of wearables at Adafruit, highlighted this problem over the weekend in her talk with Engadget at their event in NYC. “Getting people to want to wear things all the time—whether it’s on or off [has been] a huge stumbling block.”

GoogleGlass on display at Fasionweek 2012 by Diane von Furstenberg (Credit:The Fashion Grid)

The issue in general seems to be in making the technology either pervasive enough to not be noticed OR fashionable enough to make a statement, all the while being highly functional. It’s a problem that Sonny Vu, CEO of Misfit Wearables, calls the issue of “gorgeous or invisible.” However, with the emergence of newer technologies that lower the cost of production and minimize their actual size, wearable technology is picking up traction. According to Businessweek, “the advent of miniature, low-cost sensors and LED modules has set off a race among tech giants and startups to deliver wearable products that can track where you are, what you’re seeing, and how you’re feeling.”

While these technologies are most prominent in fitness and performance—think Nike+ and Up by Jawbone—companies are designing products with a more fashion-conscious consumer in mind. Even Googleglass sought to gain a broader audience when it made its way onto the runway back in September 2012 at Diane von Furstenberg’s show during Fashionweek.

Up by Jawbone (Credit:Jawbone)

Although tech giant Intel (INTC) predicts that most people will eventually wear multiple items containing sensors and computers embedded into them, developers still face a major hurdle in wearable acceptance—making the technology seamless enough to become a habit. Here are a few companies that are attempting to do just that and are on the cutting edge of wearable technology:

Emotiv’s Wearable Headpiece (Credit: Emotiv)

These wearables are ‘made for women who celebrate art, science, engineering and great design.’

One final notable mention, is Studio Roosegaarde, which is a company that is focusing less on functionality and more on high fashion. They have created a dress appropriately called, “Intimately,” due to its ability to sense a woman’s heartbeat when she is aroused. Once it picks up on this emotion, the dress turns translucent. Though it’s not for the faint of heart, it provides an interesting take on the path to wearable tech.

iHeartNecklace (Credit:Adafruit)

As with most new developments, these technologies have their drawbacks, as well. However, these companies are paving the way for the future manufacturing of everyday wearable technologies. And as Forbes’, Cecilia Brown puts it, “the products with the right mix of ‘geek’ and ‘chic’ will emerge as the big winners in the wearable market.”
Check here to keep up to date on innovative approaches to wearable tech.

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