A huge amount of wearable tech has been unveiled over the last few months, adding to a range of devices that is growing ever more interesting. Looking set to be one of the big consumer tech trends of 2014, wearable gadgets are very much the focus of many manufacturer’s plans.
So are we looking at a future where we find ourselves covered in high-tech bit and pieces? Carrying a smartphone around is one thing but in the coming years we could see our handsets being added to with several other strange gadgets, creating a human network that augments our everyday life in ways we may never have imagined before.
Best of the wrist
Many such devices are designed to strap around your wrist, often connecting via Bluetooth to the smartphone in your pocket. Along with telling the time, smartwatches like the Galaxy Gear and recently-unveiled Gear 2 do loads of other things, bringing notifications, updates and information from your phone to your handset.
Aside from smartwatches, there is another category of wrist-mounted tech known as smartbands. Focussing on your health and fitness, devices such as the Sony Smartband and Jawbone UP24 track your movements and activity, linking with a smartphone app to give you detailed information on your exercise regime.
On the head
Another category of smart devices are designed to fit on your head, mainly as a way of putting a screen directly in front of your eyes. Google Glass is the most prominent of these, a gadget many people have heard even if few of us have actually used one.
Running its own apps, Glass look to be a powerful offering, although the device has opened up much debate about privacy and whether or not people will feel comfortable wearing it.
A more immersive experience is offered by the soon-to-be-available Oculus Rift, a headset which covers both eyes and delivers an in-depth gaming experience. Designed initially to work with PCs and smartphones, there could come a day when the device works along with games consoles like the XBox and PlayStation.
There are also some wearable devices which don’t easily fit any category, such as the Alcatel One Touch Pop Fit. Essentially a compact, budget Android smartphone, the Pop Fit comes with an armband which makes it easy to strap on when exercising, as you might with an mp3 player.
Another unusual device is the ReSound LINX, a smartphone-controlled hearing aid. Fitting on the ear like a Bluetooth headset, the gadget’s corresponding app allows adjustments to be made to its audio output, including treble and bass. The device can also save location-based presets for places like your home, workplace and so on.
Can you imagine a near future where we are covered in connected smart tech, with several small devices all channeling information through to a smartphone? It’s an interesting idea and the way in which wearable gadgets develop will be fascinating to watch.