Wearable technology includes a wide range of devices, such as smart watches, bracelets and shoes. These devices are designed to help with tracking health data, providing alerts and even taking photos.
Wearable technology is also incorporated into clothing and other accessories, such as smart jackets that can answer calls, play music or take photos. They can even detect a potential injury or dangerous surroundings.
Wearable technology devices aim to connect humans with technology in ways that provide style and comfort. These devices include a variety of gadgets from watches and bracelets to rings, pendants and wristbands to even implants. Some of these gadgets are meant to help track health stats. Others allow you to interact with augmented reality and virtual worlds.
Some of the most popular wearable devices today are fitness activity trackers, smartwatches and smartphone-integrated clothing. These devices have been around for a while, but have recently experienced a growth spurt as the public embraces their multi-functionality.
These gadgets have evolved from the first rudimentary pedometers to more sophisticated tools that are able to monitor heart rate, sleep patterns and stress levels. These new wearables are a part of the quantified self movement that promotes ideas on how to improve one’s lifestyle and avoid diseases. Wearables are also used to motivate people by providing daily feedback on the progress that is being made.
With all the advancements in electronics, nanomaterials and biocompatible materials, smart wearable devices are now being used for medical applications. The healthcare industry is one of the biggest beneficiaries of these innovations as doctors now have a better way to diagnose and treat patients in real time.
These sensors can monitor a variety of parameters including blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels and more. They can also send the information to a patient’s medical team in real time and help them make quick decisions.
Moreover, it can also allow patients to access specialists from different parts of the world. This could drastically reduce waiting times and travel costs. Currently, it is difficult for many people to get immediate medical attention due to the cost of traveling and waiting for an appointment. But with telehealth, this barrier will be broken down. This technology allows patients to have video meetings with their physicians from the comfort of their homes.
Researchers are working on smart tattoo pigments that can monitor biomarkers in the body. For example, they have developed a glucose-sensing tattoo that can replace blood sugar testing fingerpricks for people with Type 1 diabetes (Bandodkar and Wang, 2014). The technology has the potential to improve diagnostic accuracy and reduce associated social costs.
Invisible smart tattoos could also track UV exposure or act as radiation focus points for cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment, says Carson Bruns, an artist and nanomaterials professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. The tattoos contain microscopic sensors encased in plastic shells that are injected into the skin with a tattoo gun, just like traditional tattoo ink.
These smart tattoos can change shape or colour to alert the wearer of a range of health-related issues, such as hydration levels and air pollution. They are being developed by beauty-tech entrepreneurs and research institutions, including MIT. They are powered by ambient energy harvesting, which converts kinetic, thermal and solar energy into power.
Rather than clothing, microchip implants are another form of wearable technology. These devices are embedded under the skin and work with a smartphone app to store information. They can also provide a way to track location or access a building.
The earliest iterations of wearable tech were used to protect people and enhance their abilities. For example, a helmet helped soldiers survive head blows that would incapacitate an unprotected person and eyeglasses improved their ability to see.
More recent technology includes augmented reality (AR) headsets, such as Google Glass, that allow people to view computerized images on a screen mounted near their eyes. These devices are able to offer immersive experiences that can increase the effectiveness of training and work in various fields.
Although many of the benefits of wearable tech are obvious, there are also concerns that the technology could violate a person’s privacy. For instance, eye-tracking and tone analysis could reveal intimate information that might be used for advertising or monetary gain.