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Wearable technology, wearable devices, tech togs, or fashion electronics are clothing and accessories incorporating computer and advanced electronic technologies. The designs often incorporate practical functions and features, but may also have a purely critical or aesthetic agenda.
Wearable technology is related to both the field of ubiquitous computing and the history and development of wearable computers. With ubiquitous computing, wearable technology share the vision of interweaving technology into the everyday life, of making technology pervasive and interaction friction less. Through the history and development of wearable computing, this vision has been both contrasted and affirmed. Affirmed through the multiple projects directed at either enhancing or extending functionality of clothing, and as contrast, most notably through Steve Mann's concept of surveillance. The history of wearable technology is influenced by both of these responses to the vision of ubiquitous computing.
The calculator watch, introduced in the 1980s, was one original piece of widespread worn electronics.
Twitter users can wear a "Pocket Tweet" using a Java application and cutting out and applying a Twitter text bubble to a person's shirt, one example of Do-it-yourself wearable tech that was part of an art exhibit for the Wearable Technology AIR project in spring 2009. ZED-phones stitch headphones into beanies and headbands allowing riders, snowboarders, Drivers and Runners to stay connected, hands-free, always.
Wearable technology has applications in monitoring and realtime feedback for athletes as well. The decreasing cost of processing power and other components is encouraging widespread adoption and availability.
Transitioning to night life and entertainment industries electroluminescent shirts have appeared in concerts such as Electric Daisy Carnival and Lollapalooza. Michael Graziano Clothing has worked with such artists as Deadmau5, Coldplay and Andy Moor they are appearing in the tourism industry.
According to ABI Research due to the relative ease of compatibility with smartphones and other electronic devices, the wearable technologies market will spike to 485 million annual device shipments by 2018.
Sony Ericsson teamed up with the London College of Fashion for a contest to design digital clothing, and the winner was a cocktail dress with Bluetooth technology making it light up when a call is received. Zach "Hoeken Smith" of MakerBot fame made keyboard pants during a "Fashion Hacking" workshop at a New York City creative collective.
Amsterdam's 5 Days Off festival included a free show called "Wearable Technology: Powered Art and Fashion." In 2014, the Fashion Law Institute held a panel discussion, which focused on patents, about wearable technology.
On April 16, 2013, Mountain View corporation Google allowed for those that pre-ordered its wearable glasses at the 2012 Google I/O conference to pick up the device. This day marked the official launch of Google Glass, a device that brings rich text and notifications as well as other information straight to your eyes. The device also has a 5 MP camera and records 720p. Its various functions are activated via voice command. The company also launched the Google Glass companion app, MyGlass, the day before the official launch on April 15. The New York Times's Google Glass App is the first third-party Glass App and it reads articles and news's summaries.It is also the first media app for Google Glass.
The next wave of wearable devices expected to hit the market will be smart watches. ABI Research forecasts 1.2 million smart watches will be shipped in 2013 due to high penetration of smartphones in many world markets, the wide availability and low cost of MEMS sensors, energy efficient connectivity technologies such as Bluetooth 4.0, and a flourishing app ecosystem. On March 19, 2013, Motorola unveiled Moto 360 smart watch powered by Android Wear, a modified version of Android designed specifically for smart watches and other wearables.
In 2014, Cuff unveiled a collection of safety-focused, fashion-forward, wearable technology. The CuffLinc products contain a tiny wireless device, which allows users to send a signal to their contacts by hitting a button, hidden within the accessory. The device syncs to the user's smartphone.