What is wearable technology?
Wearable technology is a general term for a group of devices—including fitness trackers and smartwatches—that are designed to be worn throughout the day. These devices are often called wearables for short.
Wearables have become increasingly popular over the past few years, but the basic idea is nothing new. For example, if you’ve ever worn a wristwatch, you’ve already used a simple kind of wearable. Today’s wearables can actually connect with your existing devices, like computers and smartphones, which means they can do a lot of interesting things.
Whether you’re training for a marathon or are just trying to be more active, these devices can help you get a better understanding of your daily activity. They can track the number of steps you take, your average heart rate, how long you sleep, and more. This data can then be synced with another device, which allows you to see trends and patterns in your activity. For example, you could find out how far you’ve walked over the past week or estimate how many calories you’ve burned in a day.
Fitness trackers are available in a range of prices and form factors, depending on your needs. Basic models that clip onto your belt or shoe can cost as little as £50, but other models—such as wristbands and even jewellery—can be more expensive.
If you have a smartphone, you’re probably used to receiving a lot of different notifications, like emails, text messages, and phone calls. But if you don’t like looking at your phone throughout the day, a smartwatch may be able to help. These devices can be synced with your smartphone, which allows you to see notifications on your wrist at a glance. Most smartwatches can also be used as simple fitness trackers, but they’re a lot more expensive. The average smartwatch starts at around £150.
Most smartwatches rely on a smartphone to function, which also means the model you choose will depend on your phone. For example, the Apple Watch can only be synced with an iPhone, while Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) devices—such as the Ticwatch Pro—can be connected to both Android and Apple phones. There are some smartwatches that can be synced with just about any smartphone—like the Pebble—but they also tend to have fewer features than the models listed above.
Some companies, such as Samsung, have developed their own operating system for their smart watches, but mostly these will work fine with non-Samsung phones.
Some smartwatches have an esim (An esim is basically a small chip inside your phone), which means that you can leave your phone at home and still receive and make calls, check emails and texts.
Safety wearables are devices that are designed to help you in situations where you feel threatened or in danger. They’re sometimes disguised as jewellery so they can be used in a discreet way without letting a potential attacker know what the user is doing. Most are operated by a button that sends an alert to others, sounds a loud alarm, or both.
The alerts they send can either be pre-programmed texts or recorded voice messages. A lot of them also have built-in GPS, allowing you to immediately share your location with friends, family, nearby people, or even the police.
Pros and Cons
Wearable technology provides us with the ability to monitor our fitness levels, track our location with GPS, and view text messages more quickly. Best of all, most of the devices that allow us to do this are hands free and portable, eliminating the need to take our devices out of our pockets.
Before wearables, it was possible to obtain a lot of the information listed above, but it was sometimes a hassle and required devices that weren’t always convenient. Wearables are connected to our smart devices, transmitting this information to them and allowing us to view it at later times, as well as in the moment. This can help you with setting goals and tracking your progress toward them.
Apple and Wear OS devices now have fall detection, that detect if you have a fall and can call a pre-entered contact if this happens.
Wearables tend to have a fairly short battery life. Some devices can last for several days. But some of the more advanced wearables will only last for a day or so. For some, it can be a hassle to remember to regularly remove your wearable to charge it. Because of this, a number of developers are looking into the possibility of wireless charging options that would eliminate the need to remove the device.
Some wearables have been reported to measure data inaccurately on occasion. This can be especially dangerous when measuring data like heart rates. For individuals with heart conditions, this false reading could lead to overexertion and further health issues.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether a wearable device is something from which you would benefit. With their increase in popularity, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before committing to one.
The Future of Wearables
A number of industries are developing new and innovative types of wearable technology, especially in the health care industry where they’re looking to take a step beyond fitness trackers to create health care trackers. These could be used to monitor things like blood pressure, vital signs, or blood sugar levels for diabetics. Even devices like smart hearing aids and glasses that measure vision performance are becoming available to both medical professionals and the general public.
Other devices like pet trackers and smart jewellery (including smart rings, that can be used to make payments and unlock smart locks).There’s a lot of potential for wearable technology at the moment. It’ll be interesting to see where things go from here and how they continue to impact us both individually and as a society.
The odds are that wearables will become less and less visible even as they grow in popularity. Rather than actually looking like a fitness band or clip-on tracker, devices may end up looking more like jewellery or clothing. They also may be hidden from public view in the form of something like a patch or strap.
A lot of today’s popular wearables, like Fitbit and the Apple Watch, are geared toward helping you improve your health and fitness. But many companies are taking the next step and are looking into wearable devices that monitor and solve medical problems.
Taking this a step further, the medical industry is looking into creating wearables that can be embedded underneath the skin. This would allow users to track all types of medical activity that is currently unavailable to most people. This could include blood analysis, the effects of drugs, and a number of other vitals. It may be a while before we see this type of technology hit the market, but it has the potential to change the lives of many.
Wearables also seem to be headed in the direction of authentication as a means of doing things like unlocking your home, getting into concerts, and even buying things at the store without having to go through the checkout process.