Wearable technology: what’s happening and where is it going?

Wearable technology

Over the past few years, the rise of wearable technology has been evident. We look at what is currently available and what the future could hold with potential developments.

Trackers

Life seems to be getting more challenging for many people across the world. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine is imperative. However, limitations on time, equipment and space are all problems for many. The use of a fitness tracker can alleviate some concerns about how to tie regular activity into your day-to-day activities. Instead of dedicating an hour in one go, moving around while undertaking your everyday work or leisure. With the recent lockdown came an increase in sluggish behavior from children. The use of fitness trackers for them can be equally effective, with many viewing the challenge as exciting. Some types, such as Garmin, incorporate a game into the app, allowing users to have more turns for achieving their goals daily.

Trackers for children are not limited to measuring steps or heart rate. Most parents have concerns about their children’s whereabouts when they are out of the house. Deliberations over whether to allow kids to wander the streets with their friends or to withhold their freedom and keep them safe at home happen in almost every household. A tracker can be a great way of allowing children to develop their independence while still maintaining a close eye on their location.

Smartwatches

As well as being useful as fitness trackers, with all the benefits listed above, smartwatches can also be an excellent option for those of us who are constantly on the go. From alerts telling you about text messages or emails you have received to calendar reminders about essential appointments you must attend, you can pick and choose the notifications you receive. Many watches inconspicuously alert the user, meaning that you can learn more while in meetings where getting your phone out of your bag or pocket would be frowned upon.

Smart Clothing

When someone uses this term, most people assume it only refers to smart watches, as mentioned above. However, there are many items of actual clothing which can be labeled smart. For example, Jacquard by Google has a variety of products which feel as though they are straight out of a futuristic movie from the twentieth century. They almost seem too good to be true, like an April Fool’s joke. They have teamed up with a variety of popular brands, such as Adidas, Levi’s and Samsonite, to combine leading tech with stylish garments and accessories. Life just gets that bit easy with the ability to stop, start and skip music with the swipe of your hand over your sleeve, for example, or controlling your phone. However, it does not stop there. The Adidas insoles link to a FIFA app allowing you to build up points based on certain criteria, such how many times you have kicked a ball during a day. Nike offer a similar item for basketball.

Smart clothing for fitness is a growing trend. Items, such as compression shirts for cyclists, come complete with technology that could change your approach to the sport. Sensors are integrated into the garment and, paired with a clip-on pack, they will send vital data to your smartphone concerning levels such as heart rate and fitness. Similar features are available in other items such as sports bras, yoga pants and compression sleeves.

Not all ‘smart’ clothing has to be packed with interactive tech. There has been a recent boom in smart product design where the companies put a lot of research into solving problems with clothing, such as the hypoallergenic belt buckle, which can make belt-wearing a lot more comfortable for many. Although it may not seem as revolutionary as some of the previous items mentioned, the ability to go about your day-to-day life without the fear of itching or being sore can, indeed, be life-changing.

The Future

Wearable technology shows no sign of slowing down. Developments are being made on a daily basis and it won’t be long before more almost unbelievable products come onto the market, undoubtedly endorsed by popular celebrities linked to the industry. 

It is also thought that prosthetics will become more closely designed to replicate a human’s limbs, thus having a huge impact on the wearer’s life. The increase in the popularity of 3D printing has been huge. Of late, its use within medicine is being considered. As with all tech, there are many ethical considerations, and certainly, many developments are leaving the general public open-mouthed and unsure about the impact. Whatever does happen next, it is surely going to be massive.