In 2049, there will be smart nails and people wearing AR visors 24/7

So says report that peers into the future of wearable tech
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We've already had a go at predicting what we think will be big in wearable tech in 2018, but what about looking a bit further ahead into the future?

That's exactly what O2's latest Future of Mobile Life report attempts to do exploring how our connected lives could take shape in 2049. Using input from futurist Dr Ian Pearson combined with a survey of adults in the UK, it produced some perhaps not-too-far-fetched ideas about what our future selves can look forward to.

Essential reading: When will video game wearables actually exist?

The first part of the report focuses on the future of smartphones with Pearson predicting that embeddable and wearable tech could replace smartphones, suggesting that we'll be opting for wearable visors instead that will allow us to project a favourite photo or video.

Pearson also predicts a mixture of embedded sensors, tiny capsules positioned in close proximity to our nerves as well as smart visors and contact lenses will alter the way we interact with people on a day-to-day basis. These tiny capsules will apparently allow us to feel the physical interactions with one another, whether that's a hand shake, a hug or a kiss.

In 2049, there will be smart nails and people wearing AR visors 24/7

To illustrate how the idea of embedded tech could take shape, O2 collaborated with inventor Sean Miles and beauty brand Nails Inc to create a set of mobile nails that are accompanied by a piece of connected jewellery that will let you talk into the nail by raising your finger to your face.

As far as we are at with that kind of tech now, we have seen sensors being embedded into the skin, smart pills that can track vitals from inside the body and smart contact lenses. So perhaps it's not too much of a stretch to suggest that some of these ideas could become a reality one day.

AR all day

Another prediction hones in on augmented reality and the idea that AR meet-ups will become a thing and that in fact everyone will be wearing AR visors on an almost permanent basis. We're still of course only really just starting to see AR headsets arrive on the scene, but with the likes of Microsoft, Apple and Google playing in this space, the technology is only set to get bigger over the coming years.

Other notable insights from the report include the claim that we will be able to charge devices through solar powered coatings in clothing or even through body heat or kinetic power so you can really ditch that charger. From the survey, it asked the question on what people would most most like to see in the future with realistic VR holiday previews along with foreign language translation topping the most wanted list. We do of course have VR experiences that can whisk you away to exotic destinations and we've seen our first wearable translators this year as well, but there's certainly room for both to get much better.

So there are some big talking points here as far as the future of wearable technology is concerned. We are already seeing a lot of these devices or ideas being explored by companies and startups right now. The question is whether in 32 years time they will really be ready for the mainstream as the report and Pearson suggests. Smart nails? Capsules that let you feel a hug? Yes, they sound ridiculous. But hey, they could happen.

In 2049, there will be smart nails and people wearing AR visors 24/7

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Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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