Wearable technology is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the larger technology industry, now surpassing the development of smartphones. From the basic fitness trackers and technologically advanced smartwatches to virtual and augmented reality headphones, these wearables are everywhere. The new era of wearables focus on connecting more with the human body – they're equipped with smart sensors that keep a track of our movements and biometrics, usually using Bluetooth to connect wirelessly to a smartphone. Similarly, others depend on Wi-Fi connectivity and simple mobile 4G LTE data connections.
Sensors are used in wearables to connect to you as a person, thereby facilitating you in achieving goals such as staying fit and healthy, losing weight, being more orderly/organized or monitoring your overall psychological and physical health. As far as VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) heads-up displays are concerned, a wealth of new entertainment and educational opportunities are being provided along with improving the world around us.
Types of Wearable Devices Present in the Market Today
Most wearables can fit into these categories:
One of the most popular types of wearables is fitness trackers, which come in a variety of forms and types. Fitness wristbands at first were connected to an app that enabled users to track the number of steps the users made each day. Wristbands are getting more sophisticated now and can be used to track your heart rate, amount of calories burnt, and even your sleep cycles. There are other types of fitness trackers like belts that track your heart rate while you exercise or attached to your clothes like clip-on options.
In the market, fitness trackers are available in a variety of prices and form factors that are dependent on your needs. You can clip the basic models onto your belt or shoe which will cost as little as Rs. 1000, however other models like a wristband or even jewellery can be more expensive. Some of the famous fitness tracker brands are Fitbit, Garmin and Samsung Galaxy Fit.
If you like most people who own a smartphone, then you're probably used to receiving many notifications like emails, text messages, and phone calls. However, if you dislike looking at your phone the whole day, a smartwatch is the best option for you. These devices can be connected with your smartphone, which enables you to see notifications and updates on your wrist at a glance. These days, many smartwatches can also be used as simple fitness trackers as well, but they're much more expensive. Most smartwatches depend on a smartphone to operate, which additionally means the model you opt for will be dependent on your phone. For instance, the Apple Watch can only be connected with an iPhone, whereas Android Wear devices like the Fossil Sport and Samsung Gear can only be synced with Android phones.
This gadget takes you to an alternate world of virtual reality. Advanced headwears provide virtual information that is fed directly to your eyes. They may not seem as traditional ‘wearables’, however, there are a variety of devices that can be worn on your head. Similarly, virtual reality headsets can take you into virtual worlds and games, and there are now several options available, such as the ones from Google. These include pieces of headwear like smart glasses with inbuilt cameras and microphones, and also smart earphones.
4. Smart Clothes
With the advanced innovation in digital devices, sensors, wireless communications, material sciences, and textiles, it should not come as a surprise if the clothes we wear joined the act. As a fitness and personal health trackers go by the term “wearables” these days, it’s also generally used interchangeably with smart clothes by people and the industries that make them.
Smart clothes, which are popularly known as high-tech clothing, smart garments, or electronic textiles are the clothing items which have been improved with technology to add functionality beyond that of the normal use. Advanced textiles with interwoven or printed circuitry are used in some smart clothes, whereas others use sensors, haptics, and extra hardware to provide smart functionality. Similarly, multiple smart clothes can connect to an app or program on a secondary device with the help of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
5. Smart Jewellery
Wearable technology is being incorporated into our lifestyle in many different ways. Smart jewellery is one of the really great ways of combining fashionable designs with the latest and cool innovations in tech. Ranging from smart rings to smartwatches, and everything in between, there are various jewellery choices that may work with your lifestyle and also your fashion sense. These days a piece of jewellery can be a lot more than just an attractive ornament. Smart jewellery can now be an activity tracker, a sleep monitor, a stress remover or a complete fitness device and much more.
If you do not want your wearables to be easily removed, then you can plant a futuristic implantable in your body! These tiny devices can be surgically implanted underneath the skin, which can also include your hands or neck. Some implantable are planted in the body for medical reasons. For instance, insulin pumps will deliver insulin directly into your body. Similarly, contraceptive devices will deliver hormones into the body. However, there are others that are there for non-medical reasons as well-like microchips implanted in the hand can very well be used in place of travel cards.
Pros of Wearable Technology
Wearable technology enables us to monitor our fitness levels, track our location using GPS, and go through our text messages more quickly. The best part is that most of the devices which allow us to do this are hands-free and portable, thereby getting rid of the need to take our devices out of our pockets.
Before the wearable technology existed, it was possible to obtain a lot of the information given above, but sometimes it was a chore and needed devices that weren't always convenient. Wearables are synced with our smart devices, transferring this information to them and letting us view it at later times, as well as in the right moment. This will facilitate you in setting goals and keeping track of your progress toward them.
Wearables relatively have a short battery life. There are some devices, such as the simpler Fitbit trackers which last for several days. However, some of the more technologically advanced wearables with more functionality, like the Apple Watch, tend to last for a day or so. For some, it may be a chore to remember to regularly take your wearable off to charge it. Owing to this, a number of developers these days are trying for wireless charging options which would eliminate the need to take off the device.
Sometimes it has been reported that wearables measure data inaccurately on occasion. This can be especially harmful and dangerous when measuring data such as heart rates. For instance, users with heart conditions, this false reading could lead to further health issues.
Most of the times, wearables have little to no security measures in order to keep their data safe. The fact that a lot of the data is not encrypted and that most of these devices use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology to transmit data means that hackers can get their hands on it quite easily.
You should also consider how this data can become big data to be gathered and used by governments and organizations. Put simply, it means that your tracked information could be used by these entities for marketing or health purposes, which can also lead your data to be misused.
In the end, it's up to you to decide whether a wearable device is something you would want. With the increase in its popularity, it's important for one to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.
One of the quickest growing markets in the entire technology sector is wearable technology. At the moment, the wearable sector is mostly dominated by fitness gadgets and is largely used to monitor your heart rates or count the steps. With the upsurge in the use of wearable technology, one can easily tell it will soon be a household name in the near future.