Wearable technology is known by an array of terms such as wearable tech, wearable gadgets or simply wearables. These are just but a few terms that are most prominent.
What is Wearable Technology?
It can simply be defined as accessories that fall under the category of technology gadgets or devices whose functionality is exploited by the consumer wearing them.
They can don different parts of the body. For example they can be worn on; the wrist, the neck, the arm, the ear or the ankle.
History of Wearable Technology
The history of wearable technology devices can be traced back to 17th century abacus ring
At around the same time, a wearable watch was being developed in Europe. The watch consisted of an hour glass inside a drum that was hung around the neck. This paved way for the development of a wrist watch which was developed by a German artillery officer. He developed the first watch that could be strapped around the wrist towards the end of 19th century.
By mid 20th century, an array of portable and wearable technological devices had emerged. This ranged from television sets, cameras to telephones.
Modern Wearable Technology
Modern wearable technology seeks to interweave technology into the everyday life and have a positive impact. The goal is to improve the quality of life regardless where on the globe one might be.
The pioneer modern worn electronic device was the calculator watch which was introduced for the first time back in 1975.
The calculator watch is essentially a digital watch which has a built in calculator. They were extremely popular in the 1980s. They were the must-have electronic gadget. They continue to be produced though in a fraction of the quantities produced in the 1980s.
What Do Wearable Technology Devices Do?
Wearable Technology usage primarily falls under two categories;
- personal use
- business use
The usage of wearable technology in both categories is on the rise. Whether for personal or business use, wearable tech gadgets are used to serve any one of the following functions;
- As a fashion statement
- As a fitness tracker
- To synchronize data and communication from other gadgets
- For specific health issue monitoring
- As a gauge for alertness and energy levels
- As navigation tools
- As media devices
- As communication gadgets
The functionality list of wearable technology devices is increasing each day with new inventions. This is primarily driven by necessities to overcome a certain challenge. For this reason, the list of functionalities cannot be exhausted.
Most wearable technology devices serve more than one function named above. For example, the Apple Watch is not only a watch; it is also a communication gadget, a fashion item as well as a tool to synchronize data and communication from other gadgets.
Classes of Wearable Technology Devices
The classification of wearable devices is complex an inconclusive. This is because of the multi-functionality properties of the gadgets. This is compounded by the never unending inventions each day.
As a result, most wearable technology devices are classified depending on the function they serve.
Sports and Fitness
By far, this is one of the most dominant gadgets in the wearable technology field. The dominant gadgets in this category are smartwatches and fitness trackers. There are numerous competing brands whether in the smartwatches section or the fitness trackers.
For smartwatches, the Apple Watch is by far the market leader. Not only is it sophisticated but also iconic and tailored for the 21st century technology enthusiast.
Other smartwatches of note include Peeble Steel, Sony SmartWatch, Samsung Gear, LG Watch, Asus ZenWatch, Qualcomm Toq and Motorolla Moto 360. Other brands continue to emerge in the market every day.
Fitness trackers have become poular especially in the western world. This has been as a result of maintaining physical fitness being a health necessity. Constant travelling and rigid work schedules have made it difficult for many to have time for gym.
Healthcare wearable technology devices use innovative data collecting and interpretation systems to help monitor health status of an individual using it. These devices are specially engineered for the healthcare industry.
Examples of gadgets in healthcare wearable technology include ADAMM or Automated Device for Asthma Monitoring and Management, which is intelligent asthma management system. ADAMM was developed by Health Care Originals.
Valedo Back Therapy is one of the more popular wearable technology devices in healthcare. It is especially well-liked by sports people, as they are more vulnerable to lower back problems.
It has an interactive interface similar to that of video games which guides the user in exercises they should do. Depending on the performance in the exercises, the smart sensors attached to the user’s back are able to collect data which is then analyzed using a companion app.
Another innovative healthcare wearable technology of note is the consumable pill, Helius. The pill which is developed by Proteus Digital Health is able to collect and keep track of vital health data of the person who has taken it.
The information collected via the pill is recorded in real time by a companion app. This helps a doctor determine whether a patient is taking the medications in time and the patient’s response to medication and therapy.
From body cameras to panic buttons that set off alarms, the security industry is one of the biggest beneficiaries of wearable technology.
Thanks to wearable technology innovations, we are edging closer to a future where it will be essentially impossible for a criminal to commit a crime and hide.
Even credit cards have become smart, specially fitted with chips that automatically send alerts to banks in case they sense suspicious activities. This same technology has been applied in passports making it highly impossible to forge passports and other identification documents.
Gaming & Lifestyle
Wearable technology devices are the ultimate solution to smoother, novel and fun experiences when it comes to gaming. The gadgets for game controls are being tailored to be more user friendly, portable and more responsive giving gamers real life-like experiences when it comes to gaming.
It’s giving users a feel of more control as well as allowing them to execute moves and manouvres that were literally impossible a few years back. This is because; say a game of tennis, the controller is visibly similar to a real tennis racket. But this one is fitted with multiple sensors. The player moves the racket as would a real tennis player where the speed, direction and angle as he hits the ball is determined by his hand’s real time speed, direction and angle!
The need and desire to integrate and incorporate smartphones and social media into day o day life is seeing people move towards smart clothing.
On top of this, there is the urge to look smart and in touch with the latest trends and remain ahead of the curve.
There are clothing apparels such as running shoes that can track physical motions and activities, the proximity sensing shirts or even the mood jackets.
The Future of Wearable Technology
The possibilities of integrating wearable technology into day to day life are endless. It’s almost certain that in the near future, at least everyone will have a wearable technology gadget at any one give time.
Wearable technology is not only set to make life easier but also significantly reduce the size of the global village through enhance interaction and communication, reduces occurrences diseases and increase response time to emergency situations.