I’ve always been puzzled by the phrase ‘statement outfit’. Is this some formal attire you might wear to, say, a court, solicitor’s office or police station?
Judging by the news site where this phrase is used, the statement dress only ever seems to be worn to The Oscars. Do they make legal declarations at these events?
I need to know this stuff because technology is often been described by analysts as a fashion market. Types of technology go in and out of season with predictable regularity. One minute everyone is raving about centralized control, then it’s distributed, then its centralized again – I can’t keep up. I notice that when the cloud became all the rage, all the young men in tech started wearing enormous amorphous beards. Coincidence? I don’t think so!
Meanwhile, another theory has linked the technology markets to hemlines. In times of austerity, skirts are worn long, according to fund watchers. When the markets are buoyant, however, I’m told that skirt buyers are apt to “go short on hemlines”. There’s no data – yet – on the effect on kilts.
Wearable technology seems to be where trendiness meets technology. Are all these gadgets a fashion statement? That was my initial suspicion. It was wrong, but I blame that on the early pioneers.
Look at electronic tags. First they were meant to be a punishment, but they soon became a badge of honour, in the same way that baggy trousers went from prison wear to haute couture in no time. Who’d have thought people would pay top dollar to look like a young offender who’d had his belt confiscated and was in permanent danger of tripping on his own trousers?
The first wearable tech did little to dispel this suspicion. I’m sure Google glasses are a desperate cry for attention. Some of the early training ‘enhancing’ gadgets seemed more of a distraction than an aid. If you spent less time trying to configure them, and used those extra minutes doing more press ups, I’m sure you’d be yards faster, pounds light and many Euros richer. One nameless gadget I reviewed asked you whether you felt tired and then, based on your answer, it told you whether you were fit enough to train. (All they’ve done with that gadget is automate certain types of IT consultancy).
As ever, with matters of fashion, I’ve got it all wrong. There are some incredibly sophisticated and useful healthcare wearables out there – if I could just cast off these blinkers.
Valedo, for example, uses video game interactions to entice you into performing its exercises for your lower back. Encouragement (in the form of feedback) comes from sensors that automatically store and compile reports into your progress. So the machine not only tells you what to do, it mentors you too.
On the other hand, some wearables attack your health problems for you. Quell Relief, for example, compiles information that is used to adjust a knee brace device so that it always gives you optimal relief. Now that’s clever. It’s a machine doing the thinking for you.
Another pro-active user of biosensors is The HealthPatch MD, which goes beyond the usual vital signs (heart rate, breathing, temperature) and measures your steps and even your body position.
The thing I do know about fashion is that it costs and it has to hurt. While goal managers like Garmin and Fitbit manage your goals, what you really need is to gauge your pain. This is where Painmaster Patch comes in.
This is a secret pain patch that hides discretely under your clothes and uses microcurrent therapy to treat a range of psychological and pain-related conditions.
The patch works by using pulsating currents that are below perceptible levels and match the body’s own electrical exchanges. The currents flow through affected tissue from one patch to the other, helping to stimulate the body’s own natural healing processes.
This is too good to hide. It can’t be long before this digital underwear is being worn overtly, Lady GaGa style. Here’s my fashion prediction: visible pain lines will be all the rage next summer. Sort of a statement distress.