A third of wearable tech will be invisible to the eye by 2017

Gartner predicts 30% of wearables will be inconspicuous to the eye very soon
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Wearable tech doesn't half make it hard to show off our early adopter status. The best-looking wearables masquerade as regular watches, jewellery or glasses and everything else isn't quite brag-worthy yet.

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Gartner predicts that it will get even more difficult to catch people's eye with our futuristic purchases. In the forecasting company's Consumer Devices for 2015 report, it predicts that 30% of "smart wearables will be unobtrusive to the eye" by 2017. In other words, we won't know they're even there. Invisible, see?

Here at Wareable we've already seen some tentative steps in this direction. The Withings Activité fitness tracker for example looks exactly like a small, stylish traditional watch apart from the fact that Withings has hidden sensors and Bluetooth inside.

"Already, there are some interesting developments at the prototype stage that could pave the way for consumer wearables to blend seamlessly into their surroundings," said Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner.

"Smart contact lenses are one type in development. Another interesting wearable that is emerging is smart jewellery. There are around a dozen crowdfunded projects competing right now in this area, with sensors built into jewellery for communication alerts and emergency alarms."

Gartner also stated that it believes 25 million head-mounted displays will have been sold by 2018 once device manufacturers overcome software and privacy challenges. That includes VR goggles like Oculus Rift and Gear VR as well as augmented reality specs like Google Glass.

We reckon these two developments will go hand in hand as smart glasses become indistinguishable from regular glasses, through partnerships between the likes of Google, Intel and sunglasses fashion giant Luxottica.

In a matter of years then, we'll no doubt resort to loudly announcing to the entire room that we're checking our email via our tiny earpiece or designer glasses. Just so they know we've still got it.

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Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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