Design principles at the heart of wearable technology

Technology leaders must focus on solving real human problems if wearable technology is to become the omnipresent, multi-billion dollar industry many predict, according to Marcus Weller, founder and CEO of Skully Helmets.

It must meet a legitimate need and should attract attention for more than just its novelty, he writes in a piece at VentureBeat.

"What many understand already is that investment in new technology not founded on authentic utility is the stuff bubbles are made of. Wearable technology should at its core, enable us to transcend our problems," he says.

Among 10 design principles for making wearable technology compelling, Weller says the development of such technology must:

  • Start from the human, not the machine: It should start with a human problem, then consider several possible technical solutions. It doesn't start with a certain technology.
  • Enhance human capabilities, not replace them: It should help the wearer better experience the world, not replace or intervene in that experience.
  • Capitalize on existing behavior: It shouldn't force the wearer to adapt or force new behavior.
  • Augment the things we love, and automate the things we don't: It should enhance our favorite experiences, and give us more time to do the things we love.

The global market for wearable technology is expected to triple to $6 billion by 2016, according to projections made in August 2012 by market research firm IMS Research. IMS senior analyst Theo Ahadome told FierceMobileHealthcare that device sales will grow to anywhere between 39 million and 171 million devices in that time frame.

Yet the industry has critics who see too much duplication and too little innovation. In a recent piece at Forbes, writer John Nosta argued that we we're in a "rut of repetition," and challenges the pharmaceutical industry, academics, government and others to "punctuate" the market.

Tech played a major role in the Cleveland Clinic's top 10 medical innovations of 2014, including some devices that have been in development for a while and are just now ready to enter patient care.

To learn more:
- read the VentureBeat article