How wearable technology could take users to new worlds

Wearable technology is already a part of everyday life, with so many of us adopting fitness trackers and smartwatches for daily use. Analytics company GlobalData predicts that the wearable tech market will grow by 24.6% each year and be worth more than €156 billion by 2024. Smartwatches represent the largest and fastest-growing segment, followed by fitness trackers – but there’s so much more to wearable tech than monitoring health stats and counting steps.

The Teslasuit looks like a wetsuit but is actually a full-body haptic feedback system that uses electro-muscle stimulation (EMS) and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to simulate a range of real-life feelings and sensations based on visual simulations seen on a screen or headset.

Similarly, the Teslasuit Glove, worn over the hand, comprises an ‘exoskeleton’ that creates resistance and gently pulls fingers during grasping movements to create the perception of holding a solid object, effectively allowing wearers to touch and feel things in a virtual space. Wearable tech of this standard can help bring the metaverse to life.

“You need all senses to be engaged for it to be a true metaverse experience,” says Paul Nickas, Vice President of Global Partnerships, Teslasuit. “You need to be able to really push that experience beyond what would just be VR [Virtual Reality] essentially. At the moment, in the metaverse, people are looking at it as an aural and visual kind of experience. With the ability to be able to feel, using what we have, both the glove and suit, that is the metaverse experience.”

Wearable tech for the feet is also in development. Made of light but strong carbon fibre, EKTO ONE’s motorized footwear enables movement in all directions in the virtual world.

“Being able to move around in the metaverse is going to be key if we’re talking about a virtual world that you can explore just like the real world,” says EKTO VR founder and CEO Brad Factor. “With our robotic boots, you put them on over your shoes, you put on the VR headset, and then you just walk and feel like you’re actually walking through the environment [on the screen].”

Right now, wearable tech is prohibitively expensive. The Teslasuit alone retails for €13,000. At these prices, market adoption will be slow and limited, but the industry is focused on creating wearable technology that’s more cost-effective.

“That’s the big thing for the industry: how do we make this more accessible for consumers?” says Ihsan Anabtawi, CMO of Microsoft UAE, adding, “Hopefully, we’ll get there.”

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