Wearable Technology: A Personal Connection
Source: Luke Chesser on Unsplash Would you wear a pair of glasses to teleport yourself to Vegas? How about a virtual reality headset to immerse yourself in your favorite online casino game? While teleportation might never be a reality, the transfer of data from one place to another grows at an ever-increasing rate. With wearable technology, such as virtual reality headsets, you can expect to feel more connected through electronic devices worn as accessories, clothing, or even tattooed on your skin!
How many steps?
Wearable technology became a commercial success with fitness trackers such as the Fitbit. Suddenly everyone’s New Year’s resolution was measured in steps! While smartwatches and fitness trackers continue to grow, wearable technology is also expanding to other industries. In this new decade, we can expect wearable technology to revolutionize navigation systems, advanced textiles, and healthcare.
Wearable technology has a wide variety of applications, but the most revolutionary is that it gives us real-time data about our body and its performance. By measuring heart-rate, insulin, and even stress-levels, it makes us increasingly aware of our needs. Moreover, new developments in sensors and apps make it possible to send medical information directly to doctors and healthcare providers. As you can imagine, this technology will revolutionize healthcare and save lives. Wearable sensors can extract medical information, and healthcare apps can manage and organize this information to reorder prescriptions, remind you to take your medication, or alert you when your body needs attention. Wearables will give seniors and people with chronic illnesses and disabilities more independence and control over their own bodies. For instance, a new device in the market, the ADAMM or Automated Device for Asthma Monitoring and Management, detects coughing and wheezing and tracks the data through a mobile app. Originally intended for teenagers, the device helps anyone suffering from asthma or other respiratory illnesses stay on top of their symptoms. The non-invasive way in which wearable technology tracks and detects illnesses is very appealing and promising. DocWire News recently wrote about emerging wearable medical devices including a wristband prototype that can detect cancer cells. This wearable device, created by researchers from the University of Michigan, promises to examine circulating tumor cells in the blood to diagnose cancer and advise on treatment. Source: JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
Wearables of Today and Tomorrow
As wearable technology continues to expand, we can expect it to integrate into a wide variety of industries, such as fashion, sports, and the military, which is reportedly considering the use of microchip implants to keep track of its troops around the world. Let’s explore some of the most exciting wearables that have recently hit the market or will soon be available.
- Child-monitoring devices: Mostly in the form of watches, these GPS-tracking devices are already in the market for as little as 25 USD.
- Sneakers or soles with GPS: Footwear with built-in GPS trackers can serve a dual purpose. It can be another child (or senior) monitoring device, or it can help you navigate the world without worry. Download a map to these soles and they will direct you through soft vibrations. A buzz on your right or left foot will guide you until you’ve reached your destination (even if it’s the top of a mountain!).
- VR headsets: Virtual reality is the closest thing to teleportation, for now at least. VR headsets lets you look around a virtual space as if you’re actually there. Have you ever tried one? You probably will soon because all the big technology companies seem to be working on their own new and improved models.
- Rings with payment technology: Payment technology is built into most smartwatches and cellular phones for secure, contactless transactions. Now, other wearables are entering the payment-technology market. The NFC ring, for instance, can pay for your groceries and do a lot more. This ring can unlock your smart phone or tablet, lock and unlock your door, and share and transfer information such as passwords. And it doesn’t even need to be charged, ever!
- AR glasses: Augmented reality glasses allow users to see both a digital display (text messages, news, prompts) and the world through optic lenses. According to Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, we will see a breakthrough in tech glasses this decade and, by the next decade, they will have replaced smart phones.
- Smart tattoos: The future is not only within reach; it is within skin! A team of Harvard and MIT researchers have created the Dermal Abyss tattoo ink that is capable of monitoring your heartbeat, glucose, electrolytes, and other biomarkers. Innovators believe that future tattoos will help you monitor your mood and even regulate your TV-watching habits. If tattoos are too permanent for you, do not fear. Temporary tattoos such as Bio-Wearables, Nanotech tattoos, and the Living Tattoo are all prototypes that will soon revolutionize the world of wearable technology.
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