Attention to wearable technologies seems enormous, as consumers and businesses expect that these devices will take on the implementation of everyday functions.
Wearable technologies have ceased to be something fantastic like superhero gadgets, which many fantasized in childhood. Every month new models of “smart” watches come out, every now and again there are reports on new glasses of augmented reality and new sports trackers. Small technological start-ups crowd large players, introducing new and affordable developments.
How did it Begin?
When did the first wearable devices appear? Back in the late 90s, Chinese companies produced mainly hybrids for watches and mobile phones for the domestic market. In the global market, Samsung introduced such a watch in 1999, but this device was not very popular.
Companies in the field of healthy lifestyle and sports have created the second direction of wearable devices. The first fitness tracker is the fruit of the collaboration between Apple and Nike. It was called Nike + and was a smart sneaker sticker that received information about the user’s activity (time, pace, calories burned and distance traveled), and then transferred them to the iPod Nano.
The next significant device in this niche is Fitbit released in 2008. In addition to the motor activity, it monitored the quality of sleep. Starting with the calculation of the steps, the distance traveled, the calories burned and other parameters of activity, their functionality was supplemented by measuring the parameters of the body and lifestyle (pulse, sleep), the ability to distinguish between different activities (running, cycling, swimming), notifications and reminders.
What to Expect
But the development of technology never stops. So what innovations in the area of wearables are possible?
At the moment wearable tech is an accessory that is located on the human body and communicates with the global network and other devices. It organizes its functionality around the owner’s movements in space or changes in the surrounding environment. But in the future, it will be integrated with the clothes.
Clothes that analyze the environment and body parameters and adapt to them; images and videos on clothes; a collection of parameters on the activity and health of clothing-covered parts of the body – there are many projects. Among sportsmen, such clothes have already found their users. For professionals, it is valuable that sensor-encased cloth already knows how to collect, transmit and analyze biometric indicators: breathing, palpitation, sweating and so on. A good example is AiQ Clothing.
People do not like to have things similar to someone else’s. That is why wearables should be personalized. Cuff even produces jewelry, which doubles up as wearables.
Powered with alternate methods
Tommy Hilfiger designed a clothing line with solar cells inside that charges the clothes. Wearables can make users do something to power them.
Companies developing mobile apps will have wearables to go with their applications. For instance, a sleep tracker and its mobile app.
The goggles of augmented reality project an image on a small display opposite the user’s eye, which can carry much more functionality than a miniature watch screen. The device has a built-in camera, display and voice control. The glasses are able to show navigation, the latest news from social networks, as well as make calls and use other apps. But wearables and AR together can change the future.
Wearables will ask for a permission to collect personal data in future.
Wearables can grow and adapt to the user’s habits by giving him what he requires.
Wearables are rather expensive now, as not so many companies produce them. But this can be changed in the future.
The Apple Watch serves as a “subordinate” accessory that helps you read messages and make calls without getting the iPhone out of your pocket. Using phones can cause pain in the neck and shoulder. So soon, companies will start selling wearables that pairs with smartphones and people will no longer need to look at their phones. It is also possible to use Google lenses tech instead of looking at watches.
Work with gestures
It is already possible to use some of the mobile apps with gestures. Wearables will also have such a possibility. So you won’t need to look at the app.
From Wearable Devices to Swallowed Ones: the Near Future
Covering the vast surfaces of the human body and limbs with sensors, intelligent clothing collects much more information than a wristband or a pendant hanging on the neck. But getting into the body, the device will have access to an even wider range of information.
Google, the well-known manufacturer of Jawbone fitness bracelets and a number of other companies are engaged in the development of “indigestible sensors” – capsules that are swallowed by the user and are inside his body for as long as necessary depending on the type of capsule and its tasks. Some types of devices will live in the digestive system, others, smaller ones – in the bloodstream.
Sensors will be able to determine a variety of parameters – the level of hormones, the presence of bacteria, viruses, toxins, markers of a variety of diseases, including cancer. The device will not only diagnose diseases or dangerous conditions of the body but also, for example, measure the level of alcohol in the blood and will not let the user drive a car.
Summing up, the future of the wearables look bright and promising. This technology is an excellent platform that will help companies make people’s lives more comfortable.