SXSW Proves Again that Wearable Tech is Here to Stay

March 10, 2014

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Wearable tech is a big buzzword in 2014, and this year’s SXSW is certainly proving to be no exception. From data captured at our FH black box Lounge, we’ve seen that wearable tech and devices have been trending throughout the festival, in particular when new products are debuted and sessions showcase related technology. Many brands at SXSW are showcasing the innovations and opportunities that this technology can bring to the consumer’s everyday life.

While brands like Subway are poking fun at some of the more ridiculous wearables, (See their Eatovations Prototype Tracktizza Pants below!) others are using the emerging tech to create interactive experiences during the festival. Pepsi is showing off a BIOReactive Experience in their lounge that includes a headset with built-in brain-censor to detects your concentration force that allows you to pause a movable object if you can focus long enough. Meanwhile, former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal talked to a crowd on Sunday to emphasize that wearable tech is here to help us improve our health and wellness, stating that his whole family uses fitness trackers to improve their daily habits and motivate them to stay active. Could there be a Shaq shoe debuting at next year’s festival? Though he remained silent, the athlete did announce that he wishes that technology debuting today existed when he was an active NBA player considering its benefits to his basketball game.

Billie Whitehouse, co-founder of Wearable Experiments, also cites the benefits of wearable, and telling us that her company “removes the screen as a distraction and gives the person their eyes back.” She demoed a sleek blazer that helps you with directions based on movement-censored GPS and haptic tech. Sounds complicated? Think MapQuest meets J. Crew.

Though all this tech sounds promising and helpful, could wearables just be yet another distraction? For many, the key is in the look. We talked to Francesca Rosella, Chief Creative Director of CuteCircuit, who believes that in order to help people out, wearables must also be fashionable.

Looking for more on the latest in wearable tech at SXSW? Our team talked to experts and disruptors in the space on the ground in Austin. Watch the video below, and let us know what you think about the future of wearable devices on Twitter at @Fleishman and using the hashtag #FHblackbox.