Wearable tech is becoming more popular across a variety of industries and market niches, empowering consumers and commercial users alike through a range of inventive applications. Here are just some of the purposes that these diverse devices will serve over the course of 2020.
Immersive interactive entertainment
The mainstream adoption of wearable tech may have come about in part due to the practical benefits of products like the Apple Watch, but it will be the entertainment aspects of the hardware that help it to achieve predicted double-digit growth.
From playing casino games via sites like Casumo New Zealand to consuming multimedia content on the move without having to haul a larger device around, wearable kit is freeing users from the burden of bulky smartphones and instead presenting them with a more freeing yet no less entertaining option for beating boredom on the go.
Augmented reality (AR) has been blossoming as a strand of the wearable tech sector for a few years now, but 2020 is likely to be the year in which this really comes into its own. Indeed research suggests that more than half of firms operating in this market are developing services which provide AR for industrial use.
AR and extended reality (XR) have emerged as a particularly good fit for engineering tasks of various types. By overlaying the real world with computer-assisted scanning, it is possible for users to get real-time information that can guide their decisions while on the job. This is especially advantageous in environments where hazards exist or the work is particularly challenging since AR can lower the likelihood of errors being made and also give engineers instant access to information on the fly without requiring them to consult any other repository of information.
Such optimisations made possible with wearable tech make engineering both safer and more efficient, which is good for staff and employers alike.
Following a similar route to AR and XR in an industrial setting, wearable devices are becoming more prevalent in the healthcare sphere. This is partly about empowering practitioners with additional support in a similar context to engineers, as discussed earlier, but it is also applicable to patients as well.
For example, virtual reality (VR) is being deployed to tackle a wide range of conditions, ranging from autism and depression to cancer and beyond.
Meanwhile, AR has clear benefits in the context of surgery, where headsets worn by surgeons while carrying out operations can relay details about the patient’s status direct to a heads-up display without requiring that they take their eyes off the incredibly intricate and potentially dangerous job they are doing with their hands.
One of the more unusual wearable tech applications to have emerged in the past year is that of protecting the user’s privacy. During the protests in Hong Kong, a number of participants were snapped using a wearable projector which overlaid their faces with the random features of others in an attempt to prevent facial recognition software from identifying them.
This is clearly not a concern for the vast majority of people around the world at the moment, but there will doubtlessly be those who see the potential advantages of this technology and seek to exploit it in 2020.
Once again the perks of VR are becoming more closely explored in an educational context, with developers seeking to create truly immersive learning experiences that let students experience subjects of study in immense detail, up close and personal.
From exploring past civilisations to encountering animals in virtual environments, wearable tech is taking teaching to the next level.