Wearable electronics. On the threshold of the future

We are living in the age of curiosity: the future, as science fiction writers presented it long ago, we can see it rapidly approach and unfold in present day. Although there are no colonies on Mars yet, cars can’t float in the air (although there is a certain amount of progress toward this direction) and robots haven’t yet become full members of our families, but many items have already arrived or become seen in common everyday usage, as if they were taken from the pages of a science fiction novel or film screens: tablets, battery vehicles, 3D printers and a wide range of devices which come under the sensational title, “wearable electronics.”

Do you recall the movie “Spy Kids 2”? Along with other spy equipment the characters received an advanced watch that “does everything except telling time.” Today you can buy almost the same gadget but it will actually display the time and can boast a more stylish design!

The wearable electronics sector is in the early stage of development. At the moment there isn’t a single company in the industry that has been able to label itself the unanimous leader in the industry, although there are many challengers for this position and the range of “smart” products is already quite wide. This includes all kinds of bracelets (for sports, health monitoring and even fixing sleep quality); computerized watches that combine the most popular features of smartphones; augmented reality glasses and helmets; casual clothes that contain activity trackers, phone chargers and heaters; and, certainly, fashion accessories as well as jewelry.

Current global giants are increasingly encouraging and inspiring innovators to “evolve personal computing in exciting new ways”. Intel recently declared winners of the “Make it Wearable” global initiative. I should highlight the teams that presented the projects of an exoskeleton and an artificial tooth, which allows its owner to carefully monitor the hygiene of the mouth. This is an example of how we are on the way to cyborgization in a certain sense!

Another project deserving attention and development that could benefit large industrial enterprises and dangerous manufacturing is clothing that is capable of generating oxygen. Dreams Come True concept that was introduced by the Russian author Alexey Ilyin will help people choose for themselves what dreams they want to see at night. Through the waves emanating from the device, the new energy will fully immerse you to a deep sleep, preliminary modeling its central theme.

The emergence of devices deeply bound up with social aspects is also a notable trend. Such wearable electronics as contact lenses that measure the blood sugar level or temporary tattoos that unlock the doors using NFC are not so popular and wide spread today, but one day they can save your life!

All of these devices have yet to reach its peak of functionality, aesthetics and ease of handling and it will most likely happen in the near future. With competition among high-tech giants, ambitious startups are striving for the superiority tooth and nail, as there is a great deal at stake: according to analysts from ABI Research, delivery of wearable gadgets will be augmenting on average by 56.1% a year from 2014 to 2019. It’s expected that not only private customers but enterprises will also increasingly use these devices, with the segment volume reaching 18 billion US dollars by 2019. It’s obvious that the company first to offer and sell a universal, highly demanded gadget would skim the cream off the market.

In the past six months, the GS Venture corporate venture fund rushed in pursuit of the Perfect Gadget. More than 20 years of efforts from GS Group have been aimed toward every home in Russia to have access to high quality television. Now, expanding on its focus, the holding company strives to make bold and innovative solutions habitual and readily available. We are looking for a project that will embody modern functionality, intuitive interface, sleek design and flexibility. The Fund is equally interested in the projects in the field of medicine, microelectronics and augmented reality where each of these areas is on the threshold of a breakthrough.