Last week, the market research firm MarketsandMarkets
a report that projected global shipments of wearable electronic
devices -- otherwise known simply as "wearables"
will grow at a compounded annual rate of 30.4% between 2012 and
2017. By 2018, 134.3 million units will ship worldwide, with
expected revenues of $8.36 billion.
This changing tide in how we consume technology has not gone
unnoticed. Already, wearables are being regarded as the future of
how we'll engage with the digital other-world created over the past
30-plus years. During a
a recent roundtable
, international service design consultancy Fjord broke down the
potential causes for this shift, identifying the waning novelty of
the smartphone as the chief reason wearables are now gaining so
much momentum. Smartphones have been on the market for 13 years,
enough time to make it the norm for consumers to have constant
interaction with high-end, connected technology, but too long for
people not to expect the next big product trend. Smartphones have
also helped elevate digital tech to the lifestyle product category,
thanks in part to the close attention paid to aesthetics by
innovators in the space. Finally, ever-increasing computing power
has played a big role in the move toward wearables, too. These days
advanced algorithms are capable of mining a wealth of data
generated by small, accessory-based sensors. It's access to that
information, Fjord's experts concluded, that makes wearables so
With this in mind, we here at Minyanville decided to put together a
picture of what a future filled with wearables might look like.
While we doubt you'll ever find anyone decked out quite like this,
the following infographic gives a sense of where wearable tech is
Our caveat: Keep in mind that our list is by no means exhaustive.
We haven't included smart bras, crowdfunded HUD swimming goggles,
and spray-on health monitors, to name a few. Be sure to tweet us
with other wearable tech we've missed.