Wearable technology is a much closer future than you might imagine. Supermodel Karolina Kurkova stole the show most recently at the Met Gala red carpet, wearing a pale blue dress filled with LED lights that changed colour with her emotions:
Right now, Fitbit remains king of the activity trackers market. These derivatives of smart watches obsess over data analysis, their owners now getting overly excited when they compare distances walked, calories burned, floors climbed, and weight.
The world now revolves entirely around numbers, allowing companies to reach previously untouched markets. What’s next, a statistic for the amount of times Game Of Thrones gets spoiled?
No matter how hard Apple pushes smart watches, they’re still only a novelty. Smart clothing has already been a popular concept in the realm of tech prototypes and cutting-edge haute couture, but now major corporations such as Samsung, Google, and Under Armour have begun investing.
Following a similar direction to smart watches, smart clothing began in the sports market. Luxury lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret recently released a smart sports bra that measures the user’s heart rate.
Smart clothing is now able to integrate into normal fashion without making you look like a biopunk art installation; adjusting size and colour is a simpler manufacturing process when compared to changing the size and length of a smart watch. Already, smart clothing is available in more varieties than any other wearable technology.
Noble Biomaterials makes CircuiteX technology. CircuiteX allows for an entire circuit to be etched on to one piece of fabric. These threads “allow for the ‘detection, transmission, and protection of electrical signals’ within smart clothing.” explains General Manager Bennett Fisher.
“Once the sensor is inside the clothing, what you’re wearing becomes a sensor.”
Smart technology’s impact isn’t just physical either. The more sophisticated and ‘high-tech’ technologies become, the more they can, and will, shape us biologically. Smart clothing is changing our physical appearance, but smart lenses are changing our visual perception.
Sony have recently filed a patent for self-powered contacts that allow the wearer to record what they see, which sounds way too close to that one episode of Black Mirror.
The device would be controlled by blinking. Blinking normally effectively covers the lens for 0.2 to 0.4 seconds each time. The lens could “delete dark frames automatically, providing better visual playback’ as Sony’s patent explains. An antenna would be in the lens, allowing it to transmit captured images wirelessly.
As amazing as all of this reads, it is entirely theoretical right now. However, the technology behind corrective vision has improved rapidly in recent years. Real recording contact lenses might be around the corner in just the blink of an eye.
It’s only a matter of time before smart clothing and accessories become the norm, and anybody wearing “dumb” clothing gets as mercilessly mocked as that one friend who still uses an old Nokia.