Wearable devices could make the transition from wristworn trackers in 2014 to health sensors which are completely embedded on and in a user's body in 2018, according to a report from PSFK Labs and iQ by Intel, an online magazine curated by Intel employees.
The report created three categories for wearable devices today: connected intimacy, tailored ecosystem and co-evolved possibilities. The three categories are meant to cover the different kinds of wearable technologies on the market, but the report adds that most of the technologies within each category could change form factors so that they will eventually be implanted sensors.
The first category, "connected intimacy", covers technology that simulates closeness between people, including a concept device, Tactilu, which is a bracelet capable of transmitting touch between users. The next category, "tailored ecosystem", looks at technology that adapts to the user's schedule to provide feedback for the user, such as a tooth embedded sensor that relays eating habits to a dentist or a baby's diaper that updates parents on the health of the baby.
Finally, "co-evolved possibilities" covers augmented reality technology and wearables that interact with the cloud such as Google Glass and Proteus Digital Health's ingestible sensor. Other examples in this category include a chip worn on the finger that acts as a USB and a wristband that creates unique passwords for devices based on the user's heartbeat.
The report said, in 2014, users will most likely be able to use a wearable wristband for data-streamed care to manage their health, catalog personal experiences to the cloud and receive responsive coaching for behavior change. In 2015, the report predicts the function of wearables will expand so that data-streamed care and behavior change will move to clothing, while wristworn devices will be used to communicate, verify passwords and reflect one's wellbeing through an "emotional mirror".
Eventually, communication and control over devices will move to glasses, the report said, and behavior change features will be based in jewelry, and in 2018, almost all features could be implanted.