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  • Writer's pictureEesha Bhagwat

Fashion Tech: What does Wearable Tech mean for the Future?

With AI and electronic use increasing globally, we see the use of it in every sector and not only in professional life. This leads to the question, how will the new age of tech affect fashion? 



What are Fashion and Wearable Tech?

Fashion technology, or fashion tech, is the use of advanced technology to create new fashion. Fashion tech is seen in all sectors of fashion such as manufacturing, design, retail analytics, consumer behavior, and more. A new component of design in fashion tech is wearable technology or wearable tech. Wearable tech is what it sounds like, technology that you can wear. Think of smartwatches, smart jewelry such as the opera ring, Bluetooth headsets, and more. Wearable tech is a new division but its popularity is increasing exponentially. According to a survey by Statista, an estimated 225 million people use smartwatches globally. 


What and Who is Wearable Tech used for?

Wearable tech has several uses outside of just fashion. The purpose of wearable technology is to lighten the load of the user.


Fitness: One of the most common uses for wearable tech is to monitor health and fitness. Think of smartwatches and Fitbits. Most people use these to monitor their caloric expenditure as well as their daily fitness goals. FitBits base model starts at $99.


Heart monitoring: Smartwatches, such as the Apple watch have a heart rate sensor. The watch beeps when the heart rate goes above the user’s set threshold. This is especially helpful for people with heart issues or those who struggle with high-stress levels. Apple Watch SE starts at $249. Galaxy Watch4 Starts at $199. 


Sleep Cycle Monitor - Smart watches also monitor different parts of the sleep cycle. For example, Apple watches monitor REM, Core sleep, and deep sleep as well as the duration of each setting and can provide an average of past sleep from user-selected weeks. 


Communication: smart watches and glasses allow users to text, video chat, or walkie without the need for a separate device. 


Entertainment: Virtual reality (VR) devices allow users to immerse themselves in video games or film. Meta Quest2 starts at $200. 


Music: Smart earbuds or Bluetooth headphones allow users to stream music anywhere from any device. Apple Airpods start at $129. Galaxy buds SE start at $80.


Emergencies: Smart necklaces or buttons allow users to contact emergency services with the push of a button. This is especially helpful for older people who are more prone to emergency accidents. 


Examples of Wearable Tech

Wearable technology is manufactured in multiple forms like:


Fitness trackers - Fitness trackers are bracelets that track total steps, calories burned, stress management, body temperature, and Cardiovascular health.


SmartWatch - smartwatches track fitness as well as advanced settings such as messaging, calling, video chatting, and maps.


Smart rings - smart rings track cardiovascular health, physical movement, blood oxygen levels, and sleep. The user can review this information on a coordinating app. 

Head-mounted displays


Smart necklace - smart necklaces track fitness, sleep duration, stress management, posture tendencies, and emergency notifications.


Smart glasses - smart glasses can be used to take calls or messages, listen to music, view videos and entertainment, and take photos when voice-activated. Some smart glasses also use AI for captions to recognize if someone else is speaking to the user.

 

Smart Clothing - smart shirts and pants monitor the user's physical levels such as body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and muscle stretch. Some smart shirts can use these features to diagnose irregular heart rhythm or irregular sleep patterns. 


Smart bandages - Smart bandages are used to monitor body temperature, humidity levels within the bandage, sweat levels, inflammation, and ph levels. This is helpful to monitor how a wound is healing especially for people with autoimmune diseases that typically have complications while recovering from an injury. 


What Brands can we see Incorporate Wearable Tech?

Major tech companies such as Apple, Samsung, and Google have mostly cornered the market on technology. Apple produces Apple watches and Airpods, Samsung has Galaxy watches and buds, and Google has Google glasses and wear OS. Other companies are finding wearable technology incredibly useful. Athletic companies such as Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas all have wearable fitness trackers to address the user's physical needs. These brands have also expressed interest in smart clothing, to help monitor an athlete's performance without any added accessories. Luxury fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, Tag Heuer, and Fossil all have their lines of smartwatches powered by wear OS. 


What is the Future of Wearable Technology?

Most innovative wearable technology is geared towards healthcare. With the use of smart clothing and smart watches hopefully able to detect irregular patterns in heart rate, sleep, skin, and respiratory. With the use of AI, this may develop into the ability of early diagnosis for the user and possibly personalized medicine for the individual. Smart contact lenses are also in production, they are presumed to be a more innovative version of smart glasses so rather than wearing a bulky accessory on your eye, smart contact lenses would be able to provide access to the internet and communication through a pair of lenses. Wearable tech is also leading to recognizing harmful environmental factors in the air such as pollution and potential allergies for the user. Wearables are also being used for human intelligence in companies such as Neuralink that want to use AI to help those suffering from a traumatic brain injury. For fashion, the future of wearable technology may allow for color or pattern-changing fabrics. Rather than buy the same item in different colors, sensors in the fabric will adjust to the color or pattern you want. Wearables can also increase the use of biodegradable sensors allowing less build-up of fashion waste. 


Conclusion

Wearable technology is here but in its starting days. Combined with AI, the possibilities are endless. Currently, wearable technology can monitor cardiovascular health, respiratory health, sleep cycles, and fitness goals, as well as syncing with another device to allow for messages, calls, and video chats. As wearable technology increases in all sectors it's important to discuss the use of data protection and privacy settings. 


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