Wearable Electronics are minute electronics devices worn by the consumer which enable wireless networking and mobile computing. The word “wearable technology” refers to any electronic device or product which can be worn by a person to add computing in his action or work and utilize technology to benefit advanced features and characteristics. Wearable electronics may consist of glasses, jewelry, headgear, belts, arm wear, wrist wear, leg wear, footwear, skin patches, and e-textiles.
In recent years, there has been lots of research and development going in the field of wearable electronics attributed to their popularity and wide acceptance in global market.
The major application market of wearable electronics include,
- Healthcare and Medical- blood pressure monitors, hearing Aids, continuous glucose monitoring, smart glasses and others
- Fitness and Wellness- activity monitors, emotional measurement, foot pods and pedometer, head up display, sleep sensors, smart clothing, smart watches, sleep sensors and others
- Infotainment- head-up display, hand-worm terminals, head-up display, smart clothing, smart glasses and others
- Military- head-up display, smart clothing, smart glasses and others
North America is the largest market for wearable electronics followed by Europe and Asia Pacific. In the last few years, North America has been witnessing the fastest growth rate; however Asia Pacific region is expected to take over as the fastest growing market in upcoming years.
Some of the major drivers of the industry include increasing demand of consumers towards communication, networking, positioning and recognition technologies in compact and portable forms, developments in material science, augmented reality and chip evolution and low power inter device connectivity (Bluetooth 4.0, infra red and NFC). Some of the key challenges for the industry are thermal consideration, negative effect of radiation on human health, and device protection.
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With the growth of sensors, particularly in the health and medical space, the potential uses of wearable computing technologies are quite extensive. Wearable electronics are expected to increase their adoption levels in different sectors such as health and fitness, gaming, fashion, mobile money, education and transportation.
Rising average life expectancy, baby boomers population and larger proportion of patients requiring long term treatment are some of the key drivers in healthcare and medicine segment whereas demands from professional athletes, recreational fitness consumers, and corporate wellness programs are propelling the market of wearable technology in fitness and wellness sector. The ongoing military up gradation programs around the globe such as, the U.S.’s ‘Future Force Warrior (FFW)’, Australia’s ‘Project Wundurra’, Israel’s ‘Integrated Advanced Soldier (IAS)’, and the U.K.’s ‘Future Infantry Soldier Technology’ are expected to increase the overall market share of wearable electronics market in military and defense.
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Some of the key players in the wearable electronics market include Adidas AG, Recon Instruments, Inc., Fibretronic Ltd., Jawbone, Inc., Fitbit, Inc., Nike, Inc. (U.S.), Olympus Corporation, and Weartech s.l, Vuzix Corporation , Google, Inc., Apple, Inc.,By-Wire.Net, Imprint Energy, Inc, Jawbone, Inc., O’neill Wetsuits LIC, Plastic Logic Ltd., Texas Instruments, Inc., Zoog Technologies, Inc., Weartech S.L, Shimmer Research, Inc., Vancive Medical Technologies, Infineon Technologies Ag, Glassup SRL, Eurotech S.P.A, and AT&T, Inc.