Wearables. What thoughts does that word conjure up? Chunky, plastic, ugly smartwatches that run out of juice in half a day? Or a non-stop stream of dull fitness trackers that remind you of how little exercise you actually do?
Well, consumer wearables shouldn’t just be limited to an endless stream of crappy wristbands and fitness trackers that you get bored of in just a few weeks. And their future could be a whole wardrobe that you can update with just a tap of your smartphone.
Samsung recently filed a patent for some clever new sunglasses, which you can change the look of using your smartphone. Apparently the frames and even the lenses are covered by a transparent display which can be manipulated via a smartphone app, to change the colour or pattern of the frames or even alter the tint of the lenses.
And why stop there? If we had the ability to change the look of all of our clothes, just by fiddling with our phones, it would mean less spending on new gear and plenty of spare wardrobe space. We wouldn’t have to stock up on each season’s colours and it’s the natural remedy for that awkward moment when you realise you and your mate wore the same clubbing outfit. Just go into your app and select a new shade of red for your top, and you’re good to go.
Even better, what if our wearables were actually smart? Pretty much every kid of the 80s was jealous as hell of Marty McFly’s amazing jacket, which automatically resized itself to fit the wearer and could even dry off in seconds after a soaking.
What we’d like to see is a special jacket for commuters. Every time someone invades your personal space, or tries to balance their newspaper on your head, they receive a hearty dose of electricity. And if someone with smelly pits strays too close, hidden jets douse them with deodorant.
The future of wearable consumer tech isn’t just practical, adaptable accessories, however. It could also excite and provoke, like the works of techy designer Anouk Wipprecht. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, she recently teamed up with Daan Roosegaarde for the infamous ‘Intimacy’, a dress that apparently turns see-through when the wearer gets turned on.
She’s also known for the ever-so-slightly-creepy spider dress, which features animatronic arachnid legs which wriggle around on the wearer’s shoulders. Completely useless, sure, but at least it’s an ice breaker at parties. As is the transparent dress, of course.
What kind of wearable tech would you like to see in real life, and why? Let us know in the comments below.