This Is The Future Of Wearable Technology

cyborgNeil Harbisson wearing the Eyeborg

Wearable technology has the potential to enhance our surroundings, improve our health, and change the way we interact with each other. 

Google Glass aims to augment our world with contextual information, and allow us to seamlessly share our experiences with friends and family.

And fitness trackers like the Nike Fuelband, Fitbit, and Jawbone Up keep us hyper-aware of our health. 

PBS Off Book recently explored the history of wearable computing and its potential going into the future. 

People started experimenting with wearable technology back in the early nineties.

Thad Starner was one of the guys experimenting with wearable technology. He went on to help make Google Glass.

The goal of wearable tech has always been to augment your awareness of things, but not get in the way social interactions.

Consider the history of the pocket watch.

Watches were originally on walls or at the top of towers.

But over time, watches got smaller and smaller and people started putting them in their pockets. That's how the wristwatch was born.

Wrist watches give you an ambient awareness of the passing of time without disrupting social interactions.

That's the same idea behind Google Glass. It's meant to augment and annotate your world without interrupting your social experience.

Today, wearable technology is embedded into something.

But in the future, the fabric itself will be smart.

Think about a garment that you wouldn't need to wash.

And one that could change shapes and colours...

Or fabrics with a metallic coating or yarns that are conductive.

Sabine Seymour of Parsons wants to make the actual fibre smart. fibres are the raw material that makes up the fabric.

That way, through nanotechnology, people can create textiles that can sense and react to environmental conditions.

Eventually, everything we wear could become part of our environment and digital network.

Another form of wearable tech has vast implications for health. Fitness trackers, like the Amiigo, are packed with sensors and intended to help you take control of your health.

By being able to track and measure your health and fitness levels, you can easily look at the numbers to see the current state of your body.

The Zeo headband, for example, helps you understand how well you're sleeping. The Zeo helped Steven Dean of G51Studio realise that he was losing two hours of sleep per night on average.

But the next step is really acting upon that data. Already, there's a startup called Tictrac that aims to empower people through all the data they've collected about themselves.

There's also there's a 'DIY wearables' movement.

Becky Stern of Adafruit tinkers with conductive fabrics and threads to create her own tech-enhanced garments.

One of those is the light-up neck tie.

It's packed with multiple-coloured LEDs. When you talk or when there's music playing, the tie acts as a volume meter.

Adafruit also makes more practical things. Its sewable GPS unit for jackets helps you find where you are, and notifies you when you reach your destination.

Open source hardware is what's driving the DIY wearables movement. People are able to take other people's resources and create their own extensions or modifications.

Our society is already made up of humans and computers interacting with each other. So wearable tech is the next logical step.

Now, check out the best apps for Google Glass.

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