This summer's blockbusters were obsessed with wearable tech

From action to animation, heists to horror, movies got into wearables
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Wearable tech can be hard to build - it's small, it sits on the body, it needs to connect to the internet. Smart earbud makers know this. Smart ring creators definitely know this.

You know who doesn't give a shit about all that, though? Hollywood. So while the Apple Watch reigns supreme and everyone else scrambles around trying to figure out how to make innovative wearables work, the movies carry on promising us all this sleek, super-fast tech to turn us into bionic superhero spies.

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And Summer 2018 was an especially busy time for it, following on from the futuristic wearable tech in Black Panther earlier this year. Not only did we have the best roster of blockbusters in a while - never mind that they were mostly sequels or franchises - but we got to see what wearables Hollywood is dreaming up when smartwatches are on millions and millions of real life wrists.

Warning: Spoilers abound for some of the summer's biggest movies.

Mission Impossible: Fallout

This summer's blockbusters were obsessed with wearable tech

The sight of Ethan Hunt and his new secret agent friend hustling through a party at the Grand Palais, Paris armed with smartphones scanning around trying to find a particular RFID bracelets made us chuckle. RFID!

But it's actually a pretty crucial plot point; Hunt and co use the tech to not only locate their mark John Lark but also to allow Hunt to later pose as Lark by wearing it after they dispose of him in the mens' bathrooms.

Who needs an old fashioned photo to identify a nuclear arms dealer when a uniquely programmed but easily transferred RFID bracelet will do? Also why are the bands themselves black and rubbery? This is a swanky charity party. As if someone who calls herself The White Widow would hand those out. Although to be fair, this is a film with Dell laptops in it.

Ocean's 8

This summer's blockbusters were obsessed with wearable tech

One of our favourite wearable tech scenes this year came courtesy of Ocean's 8, the all-lady heist movie which sees Helena Bonham Carter as bankrupt fashion designer Rose Weil. Rose gets sent into a bank vault wearing jewellery scanning smartglasses (above) that can send the scan of a diamond necklace to a 3D printer back at the ranch.

Being in a vault, she gets a 'No connection' error blinking in front of her eyes but the gals get themselves above ground to get things going. And we get to watch Bonham Carter trying to scan all the angles while appearing to just be inspecting the jewels. As for the tech, it's a sort of depth sensing, camera-equipped Microsoft HoloLens squeezed into a Snap Specs-style pair of non-tinted glasses. So who knows how far off, really.

Ready Player One

This one's pretty self-explanatory really. Ready Player One is the first mainstream movie that deals with virtual reality since VR became well.. reality. Spielberg's sci-fi adaptation of Ernest Cline's cult 2011 novel has even been credited with leading to an increase in VR headset interest and sales.

Seen by some as essentially ad advert for VR, HTC reckons it boosted "intent to purchase" figures for VR headsets (especially high end ones) in China. Hey guys, you know this is a dystopia right?

Incredibles 2

This summer's blockbusters were obsessed with wearable tech

Look, we're not saying Screenslaver's superhero slaving goggles are how we're all gonna go down in our final days but... No wait, that is exactly what we're saying. Pixar's superhero family sequel once again pits a rich villain with a lot of tech at their disposal against Mr. Incredible and (mainly) Elastigirl's powers.

In a move reminiscent of the screen-laden hover chairs in Wall-e, Screenslaver manages to stick brain controlling headsets onto a whole bunch of superheroes to turn them evil. Equal parts cool to watch and terrifying to contemplate. If it all gets too much, just think back to how awesome that mid-century smart home was. We can all hide out there for a while.


Also terrifying is implant body horror hit Upgrade which was a hit in the US and just opened in the UK. Directed by Leigh Whannell, one half of the team from Saw, Upgrade sees Grey Trace left paralysed after a brutal mugging. But then helped by a billionaire inventor Trace starts on a path to becoming a very augmented human with an AI implant called STEM that's designed to help him get revenge.

Of course, it all gets a bit effed up with Upgrade suggesting that the Fitbits and biometric wearables we're all comfortable wearing could be bad news down the line.

Spotted wearable tech in a summer movie that we didn't catch? Let us know in the comments below.

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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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