CES Panel: Make Wearables Meaningful Or Risk Novelty

Wearable computing is a hot topic at CES where numerous people are walking around with multi-varied head-mounted displays. Less obtrusive are other forms of wearable tech like clothes and jewelry but there's a warning that unless they are created with genuine value to the user the novelty will wear off.

“There is a huge unexplored wealth in creating these new products but we have to add significant value so that they move away from being used as a novelty,” warned Jennifer Darmour design director of fashion designer Artefact.

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Artefact has created a pilates skirt incorporating stretch sensors and haptic feedback to measure and assess movement.

“Now we are taking technology and putting it onto our body we must ask how we can use the body as the interface for connecting to a larger network of things,” she said.

Jillian White, head of marketing for tech company MC10 explained that the company's goal was to reinvent how we interact with electronic gadgets.

“Conventional gadgets have been in control of how we interact with them because they are boxey and rigid,” she said. “We are working on high performance, durable electronics that are ultra thin and stretchy. If you have electronics that conform to your body you can gain more and better information.”

Chris Herbert, CEO of startup Phone Halo, which has developed a system for helping keep track of everyday items like spectacles, said the biggest barrier to wearables going mainstream was the battery.

“Batteries need to be smaller, last longer and be more easily available,” he said.