Smaller sensors and batteries, flexible circuitry and sweat-resistant electronics are becoming more common. Savvy companies are combining these elements into wearable technology so we can adorn ourselves with all manner of geeky goods. This isn't some wild, off-the-cuff idea. More than 70 percent of young people really, really want wearable technology [source: Forbes].
Fitness-related products are some of the best examples of contemporary wearable tech. The FitBit, for instance, is a bracelet that tracks steps taken, heart rate and calories burned, and it displays information from your smartphone, too, such as caller ID and message notifications.
The Move is a Pilates shirt that tracks all of your movements and logs them to software for later review. The embedded sensors also trigger vibrations if your positions are out of whack (and potentially harmful).
You can buy smart jewelry that gives you turn-by-turn navigation instructions and indicates how many new messages you have. There are heart rate rings and jackets with built-in controls that communicate with your smartphone or music player.
Designing products like these is challenging enough from an engineering standpoint. Making them appealing in a fashion sense is equally hard. Few people will wear tech just for the sake of tech; if the clothes aren't cool, too, they'll simply gather dust.
Wearable tech designers need to stay up to date on products with the greatest potential for mobile computing. And they need a keen eye for cutting-edge textile trends, too. A successful combination of the two could create the next big portable computing trend.