Standalone smartwatches now operate on their own, without the need for a paired smartphone, often taking SIM cards just like a cell phone. They include all of the same functionality of a full-featured smartphone, just in a wearable form where data can be accessed through Wi-Fi. Nowadays smartwatches are like mini-wearable computers which run mobile apps, are media players, and some can be used as a mobile phone to take calls.
The future of wearable tech
Wearable tech doesn't necessarily have to mean that it is taken off as easily as the examples above. There are more invasive versions of the tech such as microchip implants or even smart tattoos – not for the faint hearted.
What wearable tech will actually be able to do is so far reaching it's mind blowing. There are obvious benefits in that it has implications in the fields of medicine, health and fitness. In fact, wearable technology is set to transform the health and wellness industry.
And that's not all…
There is also bound to be a fun aspect to wearable technology and for gamers there is the promise of more realistic gaming environments with augmented reality. Augmented reality combines the real world and some computer generated sensory input, so gamers can become even more immersed online.
It could even be used in retail where you are literally 'wearing' the technology. Via virtual mirrors, you can have your body shape scanned and clothes projected onto you as a way of trying on before you buy without actually taking off the clothes you are in.
All that's left now is to develop a range of aesthetically pleasing designs.
As well as practicality and functionality of wearable tech, researchers are also considering design and even fashion. We may start to see wearable technology in our favourite brands of clothes: T-shirts, jackets, headbands and jewellery.
In fact, wearable devices may transform the use of mobile devices altogether in the not-so-distant future. The potential wearable trends of the future include solar clothes that can recharge your phone, a tracker to work out where each outfit is in your wardrobe, bike helmets with a built-in navigation system (which is better than using a smartphone whilst cycling along).
There are also going to be smart socks that work out if you are making injurious movements whilst running, smart bras that track your heart rate, and even more luxurious clothing that uses technology to enhance its appearance.
These are exciting times for wearable technology, that much is certain.
- Gavin Wheeldon is the founder of So Purple Group Limited