Wearable Tech: The Next Big Thing

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Experts are arguing over whether the wearable tech industry will grow to $20 billion or $50 billion in the next few years, but whatever the number, it’s going to be huge. Here are the companies at the forefront of the revolution. 

By Linda Franco (Co-founder, Machina)

Wearable technology is clothing or accessories with advanced electronic technology. Whether it’s Google Glass, Apple’s unannounced iWatch, Nike’s Fuel Band, or Jawbone’s Up, not a week goes by without an article about wearable tech in the news. This isn’t new though. Wearable technology has been around since at least the early 80s. Even the concept behind Google Glass is over 30 years old, with initial prototypes developed by Steve Mann in 1981.

The wearable technology industry is worth about $3 billion dollars today, but it’s skyrocketing. While last year’s estimates said that it could grow to $20 billion by 2016, Credit Suisse just released a report saying that the wearable technology industry could grow to $50 billion between three to five years, with Forbes saying that Credit Suisse’s forecast could easily be overly conservative. Whether it’s a $20 billion industry, or a $50 billion industry, one thing is clear: companies that are being founded today will lead the charge to making this industry become mainstream. So who are some of them and what are their main products? (Full disclosure: I’m including Machina, my company, among these).

CuteCircuit With T-shirts

The world’s first connected clothing with a LED display, camera, microphone, speaker and accelerometer all packaged into one t-shirt which can be controlled via your smartphone. TshirtOS can be personalized and controlled using an iPhone app via wireless connection.

Electric Foxy

Garment that can measure the precision of specialized moves, empowering the user to becomes her own instructor, coach or trainer by helping her set goals and tailor movements required to have the correct posture or better physical performance.

Pebble

Pebble is a smart watch that was successfully crowdfunded via Kickstarter, raising over $4.7 million within 30 days of the campaign when it’s initial goal was $100,000 USD.

Machina

We’ve integrated sensors into a jacket for musicians to create music with motion. We’re providing an API so that people can play with the jacket however they see fit.  We raised over $77,000 USD on Kickstarter. Our mission is to create wearable technology that is fashionable, functionable and adaptable. The Midi Controller Jacket is only one of our products. We have a hoodie with speakers integrated into it. It let’s you listen to music without having to insert headphones in your ear.

Next wednesday, June 26th, CODAME will showcase how the tech and fashion industries are collaborating in innovative ways. Anyone interested in wearable technology, and the future of computing should be there. It’ll be a great place to watch innovative pieces come to life. CODAME is a non-profit organization based in San Francisco that brings together artists, coders, game developers, creators, performers and musicians to experience the intersection of art and technology.

Because I love the Women2.0 community and I think it is full of interesting and passionate people, click here for a promotional code for the event: CODAME-LOVE for a $5 discount.

Can’t wait to meet you all there! I will be showcasing with my brand our most successful wearable technology garment, The Midi Controller Jacket.


449acef80849a5ce083dc0e877fa8054About the guest blogger: Linda Franco is the co-founder of MACHINA, a wearable technology fashion brand. Linda studied marketing and strategic design in Centro University in Mexico City. She co-founded The Gyzu Experiment, a web design and development firm, and Plan de Escape, a project where male inmates in a prison for violent crimes where taught about fashion, marketing, and trends. The project culminated in a fashion brand owned by the inmates that can be used as a path to rehabilitation when they leave prison. Follow her on Twitter at @LindaLFranco.

Photo credit: Antonio Zugaldia.