How far are we going with wearable technology?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: November 27, 2013

Wearable technology is somewhat of a new fad in this industry - at least, in regards to how many forms it comes in at this point. We've had wearable tech around for a while with gadgets like Bluetooth headsets, but the wearable tech that we're seeing today like smartwatches and smart glasses are relatively new to the wearable tech game. Smartwatches in particular are starting to pick up speed, mostly because there are a few different models to pick from and manufacturers seem most interested in producing this type of wearable technology; as for smart glasses, the item isn't exactly widely available so it's hard to pin point exactly where these gadgets stand now.

But smartwatches and smart glasses aren't the only wearable technology that manufacturers are interested in producing, as lately some strange patents have seemed to surface in order to produce even more variants of wearable tech. Most notably, manufacturer Sony has filed patents for a "SmartWig". Whaaaaaaaat?

Even looking at the word SmartWig has me raising an eyebrow, as it's such a strange term, much less not exactly something I can even fathom anybody wanting at this point in time. That might have something to do with my lack of imagination, but if there's anybody out there right now that would really, truly want a SmartWig then I would like to hear from you. But I suppose first you might like to know exactly what it is that a SmartWig would do, wouldn't you?

According to Sony, the purpose of a SmartWig would be to collect data, specifically mentioning data such as road navigation and personal data like one's blood pressure. Sony has also gone on record to say that the wigs would be "both intelligent and fashionable", and can be made out of any synthetic material such as horse hair, human hair, wool, buffalo fur or even feathers. So, in a nutshell, this is the idea for the SmartWig as it stands. I can't even make something like this up - like I said, lack of imagination. Did I mention that it's supposed to vibrate?

"Girl, hold up. My hair vibratin' again."

I do realize the patterns, however. Wearable technology is something that is sparking people's interest, and while I'm not saying that SmartWigs aren't something that people might be interested in one day, I do have a certain level of skepticism towards it. SmartWigs look like the first step to making technology less detectable. For example, smartwatches are easy to spot on one's wrist. Likewise, Google Glass is also easy to spot as not actually being a pair of glasses - it has a vastly different design. But with wearable tech like a SmartWig, which might offer funky colors and make it easy to tell that it's different, will probably have some natural options available that make it less obvious that somebody is wearing computer hair. 

But I am getting ahead of myself, because this is still just a patent. In other words, it's just an idea. A weird idea, but an idea. It got me to start thinking about what other wearable technology we might have in the future.

We've also seen how Motorola has filed patents for "neck tattoos", or stickers really, with the goal of digitally enhancing voice communication. I could see Motorola's wearable technology going further than Sony's, but who knows at this point? In a couple of years' time, maybe both of these gadgets will be something that everybody will be saying they couldn't believe they could live without. I suppose it's better to be safe than sorry, you know what they say: If you like it then you better put a patent on it. 

I think wearable technology will be big. It might not be right now, but in the future I can see it becoming popular. We've already got watches and glasses, but I could also see there being an appeal for wearable tech that comes in the form of jewelry like earrings, rings or necklaces. And for men, you could have wearable tech on cufflinks or belts. Honestly, I'm surprised that Sony went for hair before anything a little more traditional. SmartWigs just seem a little too outlandish for me, but that's just me. I suppose it couldn't hurt to see what the technology is like after the idea is put into action rather than just an idea on paper. 

Readers, what do you think about where wearable technology is headed? What would you like to see become a smart object? Do you think you'd wear a SmartWig? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Images via Telegraph, CyberShack