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It has been predicted that wearable technology will be ubiquitous by the end of 2014 The Digital Trends and Predictions We Should Expect To See In 2014 The Digital Trends and Predictions We Should Expect To See In 2014 Experts seem to think that wearable technology like the Google Glass and activity trackers will be ubiquitous in the coming year. What do you think, folks? Read More . Which seems a little optimistic to us. After all, Google Glass is still only available to a select few with money and connections, and all smartwatches suck. No, they really do.

Still, looking further ahead, wearable technology may have a future…or it may prove to be nothing but a passing fad. What’s your take?

Future Fashion Or Faddy Failure?

We want to know: Is Wearable Technology The Future, Or A Fad? It’s a very simple question with two definite answers. But as always with We Ask You, we’re interested in not only what you think but also why you think the way you do.

Wearable technology, for those unsure of exactly what the term implies, is any piece of clothing or fashion accessory that incorporates technology. Basic examples we have already seen include calculator watches and bluetooth headsets, but things have moved on somewhat in recent years.

Now we have Google Glass What The Internet Really Thinks Of Google Glass [Weird & Wonderful Web] What The Internet Really Thinks Of Google Glass [Weird & Wonderful Web] This week in Weird & Wonderful Web, we take a look at what the Internet really thinks of Google Glass. Some people are in love with this futuristic device, others hate it. What about you? Read More and its competitors, a huge range of activity trackers Fitbit Flex vs. Jawbone UP: A Comparative Review Fitbit Flex vs. Jawbone UP: A Comparative Review In today's world, nothing escapes the fact that we are moving in a direction where quantifying and recording stuff obsessively is sort of the norm. We use Foursquare to check into places, we annoyingly take... Read More , and smartwatches 5 Alternatives To The Apple iWatch That Are Already Available 5 Alternatives To The Apple iWatch That Are Already Available Rumors that Apple is developing a smartwatch have caused a wave of new interest in this relatively small and obscure market. What is a smartwatch? Do they already exist? What can they do? These are... Read More coming from countless electronics manufacturers. Apple is one of the few not to have jumped on this particular bandwagon, but it’s heavily rumored to be working on a standalone smartwatch already nicknamed the iWatch. Because sticking a lower-case “i” in front of a generic product name is what Apple does.

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These are therefore exciting times in the world of wearable technology, but the jury is still out as to whether this field of consumer electronics is going to be the next big thing or merely an interesting diversion along the road to somewhere else.

We want to know your views on wearable technology, no matter how positive, negative, or middling. Do you think Google Glass will become mainstream? Do you see yourself wearing a smartwatch? Can you imagine a time where technology is built into the very clothes we wear to hide our modesty? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Have Your Say

All comments will be read and most will be replied to, before a follow-up post is published containing the We Ask You Results.One reader will even win Comment Of The Week, which will be included in the follow-up post!

We Ask You is a column dedicated to learning the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

  1. Josemon M
    January 31, 2014 at 6:09 am

    No doubt that wearable technology has a future, but in a sudden. The problem is that the technologies and the prototypes has limitations. with the help of artificial intelligence we will be able to achieve those goals

  2. Eric N
    January 31, 2014 at 5:30 am

    The current type of wearable technology that's getting the most coverage (Google Glass, Smart Watches, the likes) are probably going to go from a fad to a niche

  3. Dalsan M
    January 30, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Wearable technology has been around for years, and even more so in Japan and other parts of Asia many years before that. Cell phone watches have been around in Japan and China for quite a few years, but haven't reached most other parts of the world until recently (past three or so years).

    Also, many people wear helmet and other attachable cameras to video to see first person views of certain actions (extreme sports being a major player in this). Other than recording video, medical monitoring, and few other non-mainstream reasons, it is about time that more technological advances in wearable technology appears for mainstream use. The problem is finding the right reasons and uses for the technology.

    Google Glass is just a failed attempt at reaching a more connected user; a Funny-looking "cyborg" attempt that looks silly, abd causes the wearer to give funny looks just to view and read what it's on the heads-up display on one eye. Health and personal safety issues would be a major reason not to use Google Glass. Instead, I would like to see more innovations on tiger MIT project "Sixth Sense": http://www.pranavmistry.com/projects/sixthsense/ and http://code.google.com/p/sixthsense/.

    Far from being a perfected setup, the "Sixth Sense" offers more functionality and uses for everybody, even for (and especially) those that have disabilities to be able to communicate and learn about almost everything around them. I can see this becoming more mainstream with almost limitless functionality for personal, educational, and medical use.

    Many of the other wearable technology, other than watches, are for niche markets, such as GPS tracking for runners, which is not something everybody does or wants to do. The Sixth Sense isn't for everybody, either, but there are many use that would appeal to mass users. Reading and watching the videos about the project gives ideas on the uses for the Sixth Sense, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Similar to what once was thought of with cell phones, we can only imagine what other uses can be had from such devices.

    • Dave P
      February 3, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      I hadn't previously heard of Sixth Sense, so thanks for the link.

  4. Tom W
    January 30, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Right here, right now, it is a fad. It's something that people only buy to say "I have this thing". There needs to be a massive change in what people think of when they are discussing wearable technology, starting with:

    1) It has to be useful. More useful than what I currently own. I don't wear a watch because I can tell the time from my phone, so I'm definitely not going to buy a smart watch because it does less than my phone and costs far too much money. Google glass costs far more than that and still can't match the device I carry around in my pocket. Which brings me onto the next point.

    2) It has to be cheap. You can tell how much money people will spend on technology by using their phone as a baseline. The price of any wearable technology has to match phones based on price and features. If it has less features, it should cost a lot less than a phone, if it has more than it can be priced higher, but not by a large amount. Most people these days don't have bottomless bank accounts.

    3) It has to be independent. I don't need to be carrying around another device. If wearable technology is going to succeed, it should remove the need for a big, bulky phone, rather than relying on a phone to do all the legwork.

    4) It has to be wearable. By this I mean that people have to want to wear it. Wearable technology is crossing the boundary between functionality and fashion, which means that some people will only wear it if they see it as a proper accessory. It has to look good, go with multiple outfits, and be cheap enough that several designs can be purchased for different occasions.

    If all of that happens, then it may have a future. But what is more likely is that one type of wearable technology (either watches, or glasses, or another category) will meet all of the criteria and become successful, and that category alone will gain traction at the expense of most other types of wearable technology.

    I think it would be better for everyone involved if the technology companies leave the design to the professionals. Provide tech that can be easily integrated into multiple types of accessory, and lest the fashion designers take it from there.

    • Dave P
      February 3, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      You make some great points, as usual :)

      1. I completely agree. At the moment it seems smartwatches (in particular) are unnecessary and only really there as another revenue stream for manufacturers.

      2. I certainly think if Google Glass were $300 or less and widely available they'd be selling in huge numbers.

      3. 100 percent spot-on.

      4. This is where Apple, which (love em or hate em) usually does well on the design front, may succeed. It could be that other manufacturers will have to team up with designers and fashion outlets to nail this aspect.

    • Tom W
      February 4, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      I was actually thinking about Apple as I was writing the last point. Once Apple throws it's hat in, the nature of the game will change. We'll just have to wait and see what the new rules are.

  5. Jeremy S
    January 30, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    It is the future. People said the same exact thing about headphones when walkmans first came out. "it looks stupid" or "it is idiotic" etc. Wearable technology is here and it is going to stay. People need to get used to it.

    • Dave P
      February 3, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      Which way will it go then? Will smartwatches rule the day? Or will it be Google Glass-type affairs? Something else we haven't thought of as yet?

    • Jeremy S
      February 4, 2014 at 3:47 am

      To be honest I don't think it will be just one. I think all wearables will be common. Some will be more common than others but I think they will all be extremely common. If I had to pick one, I would say that smartwatches are probably going to be most successful and the runner up being some kind of eye wear.

  6. Angela A
    January 30, 2014 at 11:18 am

    I honestly can't decide. I know lots of my friends are addicted to their fitbits, but they just seem annoying to me as I'd forget it. I'd want it to be more permanently attached, like in my earring.

    • Dave P
      February 3, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      How about something wired into your brain? It's coming, it's just a long way off.

  7. likefunbutnot
    January 30, 2014 at 3:14 am

    It's not a fad, because actual people aren't doing it yet.

    10 years ago, people would half-jokingly say that I was going for a "Batman" look because I had a business-provided cell phone and my personal Windows Mobile smartphone clipped to my belt, but the other reaction that I got was that I was the "mole-man" who could always get on the internet.

    And I think that the people who are doing anything more serious than a Smart Watch right now are in "mole-man" territory. They probably don't CARE, but they look kind of weird, just because current devices are so bulky and borderline silly. We don't exactly have a rich ecosystem of wearable computing applications or control systems just now. But I think that stuff is coming. It's going to depend on greater degrees of miniaturization and some kind of better plan for controlling information (or Apple suddenly declaring that a kinda-heavy wearable device is now "cool" - which will probably work for a lot of its current customers), but I think it's an entirely inevitable outcome.

    I looked at a Pebble Smart Watch, but ultimately I realize that I don't actually NEED something like that yet. There's no killer "must have" function. My SMSes already show up on every device and computer I own. Bluetooth audio follows me everywhere and is as close as my car radio or my JayBird controls and health monitoring (which is hit-or-miss on mobile devices anyway) is passively happening on my phone already. Basically, "the wrist" isn't a big enough improvement over "the hand" to make it a widespread draw. Too many young people already realize that they don't need a watch when the time is on their phone as it is.

    Someone is going to figure out some kind of gesture or camera-based control for these things that is going to make having a display in a headset (or a pair of contacts) practical. Monetizing it will follow seconds later since having a direct path to your visual cortex is every advertiser's wet dream, but the utility of computer-aided facial recognition, on demand social history or even just augmented reality shopping will some day be enough to get most every human in the developed world with disposable income and a favorable view of technology wearing them.

    • Dave P
      February 3, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      I'd say smartwatches are on the verge of being mainstream, though I don't think anyone has quite nailed the concept yet. As you say, right now they're far from necessary and are instead just a want. Which makes one hell of a difference in terms of adoption rates.

  8. tammy dean
    January 30, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Looks awkward, limited functionality...not going to happen.

    • Dave P
      February 3, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      Google Glass, specifically? Or the genre as a whole?

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