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Wearable technologies: what are they and how will they change our daily lives?

Wearable technologies that are incorporated in our clothes and accessories seem to be destined to make a big impact on our daily lives.

As well as smartwatches and augmented reality glasses, there are interactive materials and sensors, virtual reality helmets and items of jewellery with built-in microcomputers.

Smart clothing will monitor our exercise regimes and plan training schemes to suit our individual needs. Doctors will be able to keep check on our physiological functions in real time thanks to detailed biofeedback, while it will also be possible to analyse the quality of the air that we breathe. Rather than having to look at directions on a sat nav system screen as we walk along, vibrations in our shoes will guide us to our destination. Augmented reality devices will enable us to play an active part in exciting video game adventures.

Interactive socks are already available from Sensoria to improve running form and technique using sensors in the fabric, while the Italian company ComfTech has created hi-tech clothing to monitor the health of newborn babies in both hospitals and homes.

Wearable technologies can also improve personal safety thanks to devices such as the Kingii. It is a wrist-based unit that offers an alternative to a traditional, bulky life jacket and contains the smallest inflatable in the world, which can provide buoyancy for people weighing up to 124 kg.

The world of wearable technologies is continually evolving and there is boundless scope for their use: from fitness and entertainment to health, business and home automation. One thing is for certain: we are witnessing a revolution that is guaranteed to change our lifestyles once again.