Wearable technology is being massively touted as the future for communication, entertainment and personal computing and, certainly, that would seem to follow all recent trends. Since the 1980s, technology has become smaller and smaller and, so, the idea of having all your contacts and communication ability stuck to your body is an obvious next move. Whether it be Google Glasses, the Pebble or the Smart Shirt, all of these items will need to share a number of common principles if they are to be a success and understanding these will be key to understanding this hardware trend.
They all solve a recurring problem
Basically, wearable technology has to be useful. Nobody wants a piece of technology weighing down their wrist or wrapped around their face unless there is a good reason for it. Practicality is everything.
Does not take the wearer out of the world
Many people's first reactions to Google Glasses was appalled shock, with the assumption that any wearer would, essentially, be living inside a computer, never actually interacting with the world around them. In reality, for wearable technology to be a success, it needs to help the wearer interact with the world as opposed to distracting them from it.
Focus on the person
Any truly popular wearable technology will have to be human-centric, not machine-focused. Rather than hardware companies taking a piece of technology and thinking ‘how can we get people to use this?' it must begin with a human requirement that makes researchers think ‘how can technology address this?'
Solve more problems than it creates
Of course, there are going to be some issues with wearable technologies. Google Glasses poses the obvious one: does anybody with perfect vision really want to wear glasses? The answer is only positive if the glasses bring more advantages to the table than disadvantages.
Take advantage of existing behaviour
What it will all come down to is how much these devices feel like natural extensions of normal human behaviour as opposed to catalysts for new behaviour. In reality, they should not change the wearer's behaviour much at all, just make doing the things they already do either easier or more enjoyable.