2013: The Year of the Wearable

According to Forbes (and a growing number of other sources) 2013 will be the year of wearable technology. "There will be no bigger exception to commoditization of devices than wearable technology. Wearables will be the big story of 2013. You’ve already heard about Google Project Glass. Perhaps you also read about competitive offerings from Apple and Microsoft. Accessory designerOakley is an early arrival with wearable glasses that lets skiers see real-time data on their current location, snow and ice conditions, and hang distance of jumps as they careen downhill.

But wait, there’s more—lots more. The FDC recently approved a pill you swallow that will transmit internal medical data to your medical team.  Elsewhere, sensor-embedded tattoos for immobilized patients confined in their homes. Also in 2013, there will be a button-sized computer that monitors your health functions and sends data to health technicians. Nike alone offers five digital sports devices, including shoes that signal when they need replacement. There are numerous competitive offerings from other vendors as well. At Stanford University they’re working on batteries that become part of your clothes.

The gadgets will make big news, but third-party developers who will deliver a new generation of mobile apps for wearable devices to market will foment the real revolution. I predict these apps will ignite a groundswell of both business-to-business and business-to-consumer demands that will get all of us using wearables before the end of 2013." (source)

Is this a trend or here to stay?

If 2013 is the year of the wearable, we have an opportunity to define how these new devices are designed so that they have lasting value to broader consumer audiences. If not, than we'll end up with a pile of short-lived novelty devices. Here are four principles that we can follow to design wearable technology that is wearable, useful and that has lasting value.

More info and images from ForbesEngadget, BBC News