Lowdown: Wearable tech

Nick Hirst

You'll have heard of Google Glass – if you're lucky you might even have tried it. But these high-spec specs are just the tip of the wearable technology iceberg. The $1.3 billion market is predicted to hit £19 billion in 2018 by tech analysts Jupiter. The opportunity is to get in early on the rapidly developing ecosystem that will make wearables a mainstream phenomenon.

The most famous wearable technology is probably Nike Fuelband. Competition on the sector is already intense, from Jawbone's Up, Fitbit's Flex and the B1 from Basis. Start-ups like Vital Connect and Proteus are taking a different approach: instead of designing slick-looking hardware, they're concentrating on unobtrusive sensors that use smartphones to crunch and visualise data. Vital Connect's current product is a self-adhesive, disposable strip that costs around $5 and monitors things like heart rates; it's aimed at healthcare professionals as well as ordinary consumers.