All About Wearable Technology
No smartphone? Connect with your loved ones through your watch!
Wish to keep a tab on your health? Smart tattoos and fitness trackers got you covered.
No wallet? Pay with a single tap from your smart wristwatch!
Wearable Technology has taken over the world of fitness, fashion, gaming and so much more - we cannot wait to uncover what tech-enabled secrets this technology holds!
In this modern age, everything is smart. Your TV, smartphone, wristwatch, juicer and blender. Heck, even our books are smart e-book readers!
So why should our wearables be any less? We don't think the fad of wearables will ‘wear’ off quickly. Think of this: the IoT industry is a $486.7 billion giant and is expected to rise to $566.4 billion by 2027. A major driver of this growth will be wearables with embedded IoT sensors!
So, let’s dive in and uncover the tech-enabled goodness of Wearable Technology!
We love to occasionally stir the pot and today we decided to rattle up the Marvel and DC debate. A ruthless vigilante who armors up in seconds, relying on his intellect, fighting skills and not to forget…wealth. Yes, we speak about Batman and Iron Man. They are similar in more ways than we can imagine. Who according to you nailed the technology better?
Tony Stark possesses many suits (53 at least!) that have different functions. They are all linked to JARVIS enabling him to stay connected, fly, shoot lasers, increase strength and even fly him into outer space. Iron Man has powered armor but he’s not the only one who can suit up and save the world!
Bruce Wayne AKA Batman’s suit allows him to sense danger, absorb shocks, communicate telepathically, create force fields, sustain in space and even rearrange the molecular structure of matter…and much more.
Batman and Iron Man were both born as regular humans i.e., without metahuman genes or any powerful magic coursing through their veins. Their ammo, intellect, courage and sense of justice made them immortal. The same goes for us!
After all, we’re just humans and not the children of Krypton. We must rely on real-world, plausible tech, to enhance the course of our lives. Today, ChatGPT has become our JARVIS and our smartphones are akin to Batman’s Sonar Goggles!
Yet, if all this sounds too futuristic, focus on the advent of wearable technology that’s allowing us to leverage data from wearable devices to analyze or predict. What exactly is Wearable Technology? How can you use it? How did it start?
Great questions! So, without further ado – off we head to the knowledge Batcave.
Too much? Sorry, we caved in.
Please Explain: What Is Wearable Technology?
Simply put, Wearable Technology, known mostly just as ‘Wearables,’ are electronic devices physically worn by individuals to track, analyze and transmit personal data. Wearables make up a broad category that includes any device worn or attached to a user’s body.
These ‘smart’ IoT (Internet of Things) devices can track biometric data (such as heart rate, sleep patterns, etc.) and are largely used in healthcare but are becoming popular in the gaming and fashion industries.
Wearable Technology has diversified into smart devices such as Google Glass, Apple Watch, Fitbit, Motiv Ring and Oculus Rift promise to change the way we receive, use and share data. While we can just pick up a smartwatch today at a whim, the journey for Wearable Technology dates way back to the 1500s!
Let us take you down the memory lane.
The Evolution Of Wearable Technology
Every great invention has an interesting past and for Wearable Technology, it all began with a small watch:
German inventor Peter Henlein created small watches that were worn as necklaces.
Wristwatches were created but were worn mostly by women as bracelets.
The first wearable hearing aids were introduced.
In 1904, Aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont pioneered the modern use of the wristwatch. In the 1970s, calculator watches became available, reaching the peak of their popularity in the 1980s. In the late 90s, MIT Media Lab designed, built and demonstrated data collection and decision-making from ‘Smart Clothes’ that monitored continuous physiological data from the wearer. At the same time, they developed a smart glass prototype that enabled rapid web search and instant messaging.
It was with the advent of Bluetooth headsets in the year 2002 that wearable technology achieved popularity. Wearable cameras were being used as part of a growing sousveillance movement. In 2008, Ilya Fridman incorporated a hidden Bluetooth microphone into a pair of earrings.
Fitbit released its first step counter, allowing wearables to track information such as steps and heart rate.
McLear, also known as NFC Ring, released the first widely used advanced wearable device. The smart ring could pay with Bitcoin, unlock other devices, transfer personally identifying information and other features. McLear owns the earliest patent, filed in 2012, which covers all smart rings, with Joe Prencipe of Seattle, WA as the sole inventor. In 2013, the Samsung Galaxy Gear was the first widely available smartwatch.
Apple followed with the Apple Watch, making smartwatches a staple of modern wearables.
2020s And beyond
The sheer variety of wearable tech available continues to grow, as designers look for new ways to innovate and incorporate technology into all kinds of clothing and accessories. We could even see Wearables in the form of tattoos.
Today, close to 3% of the world’s population consistently track their oxygen, steps, calories burnt and so much more through their smartwatch! This brings us to our next thought – how does it all work?
How Does Wearable Technology Work?
Wearable Technology is a type of electronic technology or devices incorporated into items that can be comfortably worn on a body. Wearables help track information in real time and have motion sensors that take snapshots of your day-to-day activity and sync them to mobile devices, laptops or computers.
Wearable Technology is embedded with built-in sensors that keep track of bodily movements, provide biometric identification, or assist with location tracking. Based on their primary function, such as fitness, health or entertainment they vary in functions by incorporating microprocessors, batteries and connectivity to the internet. This helps collect data that can be synced with other electronics, such as mobile devices or laptops.
Wearables use IoT-based smart sensors and accelerometers to track movements and speed, while some use optical sensors for measuring heart rate or glucose levels. The common denominator amongst all Wearable Technology is that they monitor data in real-time and stream it to the cloud or mobile devices.
Now that we know its functionality, how different are wearables from each other? Let’s find out!
Different Types Of Wearable Technology
Did you know that Tony Stark, despite making more than 50 ‘Mark’ armors, donned only 19 of them onscreen? What’s more, each of them was different and served a unique purpose. Whilst we can go on about this, let’s take you through different types of Wearable Technology, the armor that we can buy and wear:
A watch that does more than just tell time! It provides users with notifications on their calls, messages, emails, social media updates, etc.
Helps keep track of the number of steps the user walks each day and continuously monitors the heart rate. Using this information, the devices can calculate and report accurate data on calorie burn and exercise done by the user.
Head Mounted Display
The wearable devices are specially built for sports personnel who love running, cycling, swimming etc. These devices come with GPS trackers and record information on the user’s pace, heart rate, etc.
Smartwatches are designed as jewelry especially targeting women. These jewelry notify the users of their text messages, calls or emails when their phone is out of reach.
Smart electronic devices are incorporated into Wearable Clothing to give an interesting and fashionable look.
These wearable electronics are surgically implanted under the skin. These are usually used for medical reasons like tracking contraception, insulin levels, etc.
You can even get Smart Tattoos embedded into your skin today that replace conventional tattoo ink with ‘functional materials’ that change their color in response to external stimuli. This includes changes in blood sugar levels for people with diabetes, monitoring kidney or liver functions, or warning athletes of dehydration.
We would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below! Till then, we will quickly jump into the benefits this technology holds. Read on!
Benefits Of Wearable Technology
Vibranium-weaved Panther Habit suit for Black Panther, Spider Man’s super suit, the Cloak of Levitation for Dr. Strange and Batman’s Batsuit – what do they have in common? Yes, they look kickass but they also help accentuate their abilities. Similarly, what benefits do wearables hold for us?
Wearable Technology provides a high level of convenience to users as they are lightweight, portable, easily accessible and can be worn as regular accessories.
Wearable devices with sensors, such as heart rate monitors, accelerometers and GPS trackers, can collect and analyze data about a user's physical activity, sleep patterns and health metrics. Real-time monitoring can also be useful for athletes who need to track their performance and adjust their training accordingly.
Wearable Technology In Healthcare
Wearables promote proactive healthcare and boost patient engagement. Wearables in healthcare also reduce costs and decrease staff load. For instance, a smartwatch for people with Parkinson's disease tracks symptoms and transmits the data so that more personalized treatment plans can be developed.
Enhanced Safety And Security
Some smartwatches have built-in fall detection sensors that can automatically call for help if a fall is detected. They can also be used to track the location of a user in real time. Smart jewelry can also be useful in emergencies as a locator.
Wearable devices can improve communication by enabling users to stay connected with others while on the go. Wearable devices with voice assistants, like Siri or Alexa, can also help users stay organized and manage their daily tasks.
Enhanced Fashion And Style
Smart clothes combine fashion and function. They are designed to be customizable to match the user's style and preferences.
However, smartwatches and Fitbits are a thing of the past! The future of Wearable Technology holds even more fascinating things – read and you’ll see.
Unweaving The Wearable Future
We said it before and we’ll say it again: data is the ruling currency for this tech-enabled world today!
We live in a world where anything you wear can become a utility data collection device. The Wearables market is thus expected to be worth around USD 231 billion by 2032 from USD 61.3 billion in 2022 – almost 4 times its size!
So far, we have seen some innovative products across the markets in areas like health, entertainment, gaming, fashion and fitness. However, the future of smart Wearable Technology is mostly linked with interconnectivity among devices and the ability to sync data between wearables and mobile devices. Everything will be connected to everything, owing to IoT – we mean, your watch will be connected in real-time to your phone, car, speakers, or even your health insurance provider!
Organizations are actively looking into energy harvesting - another big domain within Wearable Technology. It is essentially the study of converting body heat, movement, or solar energy into power through wearables.
Which brings us to this burning question - how connected is connected enough? We’ll find out the answer soon with advancements in Wearable Technology!
One thing is certain - the lines between sectors like fashion, retail, health, wellness and even fintech are blurring. One commodity that is enabling new functions for user mobility, as well as data reliance, is Wearable Technology.
As Wearable Technology keeps getting better, it is important to think about things like user privacy, security, ethics and how the tech will work with other emerging technologies. Humans are always working ahead of time looking for answers, data and enhancing connectivity and we can say that this is just the beginning. Hope this article was insightful and you learned all about Wearable Technology!
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