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Oh what a year for wearables. Like every coming year until we run our civilization into the ground, 2014 saw a lot of growth in the tech-on-your-body department. From breakthroughs in affordably monitoring health to deeply aggravating displays of wealth, there was something for everyone. There was also a lot of bluetooth bluster and bad ideas. Here are our widgety favorites from across this year's wearable spectrum.
It was a good year for Google Glass, it was a bad year for Google Glass. Basically, Google Goddamn Glass came out and it was exactly whatever you decided to feel about it beforehand. To mask our mixed feelings of annoyance and intrigue we defaulted to Casey Neistat's use/review video.
Rain's excited pre-review of the Apple Watch captured why so many people wanted one so badly: good design means a product feels like Yours. While secretly an excuse to plug his adorable dogs and photo studio, he tapped into the watch's features that make it feel so personally tailored. Less fussily, Android Wear has rolled out its own simple, easy options. Personally, I'm leaning back from the increasingly networked and data-filled accessories, but there are plenty of options for that.
Thankfully, medical wearable tech is getting more personal too. With increasingly flexible circuitry and sensors, patient data and even medication release are more easily managed through wearables. Google's insane sensor-laden contact lens is a great indicator of the intimate future of health tech.
Interestingly, there were a lot of finger-centric designs this year, but most failed to put their finger on deliverability. This bulky Kickstarter ring that decided that finger spelling things out in the air was the cool future move for UX and turned out to be a flop. This sex toy looking one with a similar premise...still no clear ship date. This pretty one for girls... who want a subtle digital device with limited capabilities hidden in a huge stone. Thank the sweet lord it comes in pink, too bad it's still not actually shipping yet.
More promisingly, flexible batteries will really help widen the array of options for small wearable tech. So many of the design constraints for wearables are based around battery size and life, that changing the nature of batteries themselves might be the only way to keep the ball rolling forward...and away from chunky noticeable devices.