Wearable Technology: Small-Sized Disruptive Innovations
The field of wearable technology has been one of the most innovative since the start of this century. Likewise, it also has a promising future with a possibility to disrupt multiple industries like medicine, business, and entertainment. The development of wearable technology has levelled up massively in the last decade. As the name suggests, wearable technology refers to the family of devices that can be worn or implanted on the interior or the exterior of the human body. Likewise, we can also embed some of these devices in clothes, shoes, and other accessories. Some of the examples of wearable technology include smartwatches, fitness trackers, and smart glasses.
Major Characteristics of Wearable Technology
Wearable technology, or simply wearables, features a set of characteristics that is common to most of the applicable devices. Some of these characteristics are:
Small size is one of the primary characteristics of wearable technology. The reduction in size has been made possible by the advancements in semiconductor manufacturing technology. There are powerful microprocessors that can fit within the tip of a finger.
Wearable devices are powered by small batteries and typically consume very little power. This is especially true for devices that are in direct contact with the human body. Fitness trackers can run for months in normal operations after a single recharge. Some devices requiring heavy processing and transmission might be more power savvy now, but the overall goal for the future is to reduce power consumption.
Wireless data transmission is a key feature of wearable technology. Since they are hands-free and wiring is a major hassle, acquiring data wirelessly is the only viable option. Therefore, they feature inbuilt wireless communication peripherals. The communication may be Bluetooth, WiFi, or NFC (Near Field Communication). However, some wearables like VR headsets are wired but it is less of a hassle since we do not put them on at all times.
Major Applications of Wearable Technology
As of now, wearable technology has found major applications in the following fields.
In the field of medicine, miniature wearables have been able to record and transmit data related to vital body parameters. Blood pressure and ECG monitors are some of the examples of these types of devices. Similarly, widely available wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches can also present fairly accurate data about burnt calories and heartbeat levels. Furthermore, these devices can track your hours and quality of sleep. Moreover, for people with disabilities, smart aid devices like hearing aids are able to adapt to environmental conditions.
Wearable technology has also found growing popularity in the entertainment industry. For example, we can use augmented reality glasses like the Google Glass for learning through advanced, real-life-like demonstrations. For example, students in the medical field can get close demonstrations of practical skills such as surgeries.
Apparel and accessories have also been one of the key application areas of wearable technology. Smart devices embedded inside pieces of jewellery are used for the purpose of personal safety.
The Future of Wearable Technology
The future of wearable technology is looking bright, and it has a very large space for innovation. It offers a great opportunity for individuals and companies to develop new or improve existing designs and methods. According to the experts, the future of wearable technology will bring the following improvements.
In the near future, wearable technology might not be separate from clothes and accessories. The integration will be so seamless that it will be a part of fashion. For example, the clothing might be made of selected materials so that it can measure vital body parameters. Rings and necklaces might hide some intelligent device within them so that they can send alert messages during emergencies.
Since energy efficiency is one of the major requirements of wearable technology, the future will surely bring major advancements. These include efficient harvesting of energy from multiple sources. For example, clothing made of miniature solar cells might be able to charge your devices. This is also true for shoes that can extract and store energy while a person is walking.
The increase in accuracy will be one of the most important advancements in wearable technologies. The measurement of vital body parameters such as heart rates, glucose and sugar levels, and blood pressure is very critical. For patients with severe diseases, this can be a matter of life and death. On the other hand, people with strict exercise and diet requirements will ask for the best accurate measurements to understand their progress and design future goals.
Until now, there are few wearables that can process authentication measures. In the future, your smartwatch might be able to authenticate your payments in a grocery store. Similarly, it might be able to control smart door locks and authenticate entries into sporting events and concerts.
When wearables are connected with other smart devices like home appliances, it is nothing short of magic. For example, your shirt might vibrate after the dish is prepared inside the microwave oven. Similarly, your device will communicate with thermostats and air conditioners to automatically adjust according to the body temperature. Likewise, if you are asleep, it will be able to turn your lights off automatically.
At present, the entry price for such devices, especially for highly accurate ones, is very high. Therefore, there might be a low level of adoption among general people. However, as these improvements come together, the price will decrease and the use cases will skyrocket.
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In this blog, we have learned the concept of wearable devices and how they have evolved and improved from the past. Likewise, we discussed the major characteristics and applications of these types of devices. Lastly, we predicted the space for innovation in this highly exciting field and what improvements are likely to come in the future.
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