Wearable Tech: Shaping Realities

TechnologyBy Kristie Robertson

Wearable technology isn’t a new phenomenon. We’ve seen Fitbits, Google Glass, PUSH and the recent Apple Watch. Even so, wearable technology has not yet been adopted on a mass scale. Why?

When asked to predict the future of wearable technology in an interview with MaRS Discovery District, Tom Emrich, wearables expert, stated “the future of wearables lies in breaking us free from the chains we have with our current tech…[moving] tech into the background so that it enhances rather than distracts us from life.”

The key word here is ‘future’. A new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that many users of wearable tech give up on their devices within a year because they are still disrupting the lives of their wearers. BloombergBusinessweek has fleshed-out the report’s five prescriptions for wearable technology that, if heeded, will cure wearable technology’s bought of undesirability. At the top of the list is integration. Consumers want their new devices be able to connect seamlessly to other devices. This includes being able to share data via the Internet. But not just any data. Number two on the list asks wearable technology to provide important information. Users want accurate, relevant data in real time that can help them generate plans of action, or even help them alleviate stress (number three on the list) by monitoring the body’s physiological conditions and offering advice on how to keep symptoms of stress under control. Last but not least, privacy is also of concern. With large amounts of data being stored within their devices, consumers want to know that their security will not be breached. “Until users feel their data are secure, they’ll be reluctant to adopt the technology,” BloombergBusinessweek concludes.

Recently, Magic Leap, a startup in Florida who announced the close of its $542 million Series B with investors such as Google, Qualcomm and Legendary Entertainment a couple weeks ago, has been teasing us with a lightweight wearable that promises to be the closest to fulfilling Tom Emrich’s vision for wearables of the future. With their Dynamic Digitized Lightfield Signal™, Magic Leap promises to generate images indistinguishable from real objects and place them seamlessly into the real world.

As a growing number of technologies blur the line between the real and the digital world, it is important to learn about the nuanced ways in which they are transforming different sectors of entertainment, education and medicine, among others. On Thursday, November 20, Silicon Peel is hosting Meetup #21 at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada from 7 to 9:30pm. The event is open to entrepreneurs and technology and content-makers and is an opportunity to learn more about augmented and virtual realities and other immersive technologies.

Another important event to mark down on your calendars is the Institute for Management and Innovation at the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Wireless and Wearable Health Tech Symposium. The event will take place on Tuesday, November 18 in the U of T Mississauga, Innovation Complex (Rotunda) from 9am to 5pm. The symposium will focus on wearable and wireless technology in health and medical contexts and will include speakers from a number of start-up companies, as well as the voices of regulatory experts, developers, money managers and physicians.

Today, wearable technology presents a new complementary world. Tomorrow, it may be the only world.

Image from: Freedigitalphotos.net (Nongkran_ch)

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