The Internet of Things (IoT) is the networking of the physical world and nothing epitomises this more than wearable technology.
Everyone has quickly become used to objects such as the Fitbit activity tracker and the Apple Watch but many people don’t appreciate the truly limitless potential of how wearable technology could affect their lives in the future.
The following are just a few examples of how wearable technology can and will change our lives.
- Helping Us Become More Productive
The modern world is constantly becoming more pressurised and demands on our time continuously increasing. Especially in business, employees are being expected to find ways to do more with less. Personal assistant devices are aimed at making us more productive by taking away mundane time burning tasks. MYLE for example is a PA wearable that saves wearers several seconds each time they carry out some tasks. For example doing something as simple as posting a tweet can take a minute if you take into account finding your phone, unlocking the phone, launching the Twitter app, posting the tweet, locking the phone and putting it back in your pocket. With a PA assistant clipped to your top and operating using your voice you can post the tweet in a few seconds.
These small amounts of time saved over the course of the day and across many mundane activities such as emailing or calling someone can result in an hour or more being freed up.
- Keeping Us Healthy
The health care industry is investing heavily in wearable development and the potential benefits to patients and doctors are enormous.
Health monitoring wearables such as HealthPatch MD and Vitaliti allow continuous tracking of vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure and storage of this data for review by both the wearer and healthcare professionals.
Bracelet devices such as SunFriend and JUNE monitor our exposure to the sun. We are all aware of the dangers of over exposure to UV but research also suggests that there are a wide range of benefits to us that come from being exposed to the sun. These wearable devices can keep us informed of exactly how much sun is good for us and when we are approaching too much and therefore tell us to cover up or get indoors.
When people think of wearable tech they normally think of bracelets or glasses but what about a belt? At this years CES, Samsung unveiled the Welt. A smart belt that not only monitors your steps per day and your waistline but also tracks tension on the belt to determine if you are eating too much.
- Protecting Us
Devices have already been launched that are focused on ensuring our personal safety. For example Artemis provide smart jewellery that when you feel threatened you simply tap the bracelet or necklace and it immediately starts audio recording what is happening and calls your emergency contact numbers.
Other companies are producing products such as hair clips that actually monitor you for physical signs of assault and then automatically trigger calls for help to your contacts or emergency services.
Many health care devices have also been developed that not only monitor your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing but also monitor you for signs that you may have fallen over and using GPS tracking then alert your contacts and provide them with your location. Families worried about their senior relatives will be able to ensure they have gotten out of bed and are moving around their homes or neighbourhoods as expected and therefore provide early warnings if something is wrong.
- Enabling Us to Be Greener
Many companies are investing in wearable technology that can not only power itself but also potential generate power to charge other devices. Voltaic Systems have already developed products that include backpacks fitted with solar panels. Although products such as these are currently cumbersome and unsightly, as solar and wearable technology develops we will find ourselves being able to generate enough energy from our t-shirt to power all our personal devices. Indeed wireless energy and inductive charging may mean that our wearables will help us to power other devices at home and work. A future where our shirt is pushing power back into the national grid is possible!
- Making Us Superhuman
Improving the human body is where wearable tech really shines. If you watched the 2014 world cup opening ceremony, a paraplegic man named Juliano Pinto kicked the first ball of the tournament wearing a mind controlled exoskeleton and it is developments such as this that could truly change our lives.
Already produced are devices that can improve our hearing and help us focus on only what we want to hear, devices to help us keep our hands steady, lift heavier weights through perfect form or even simply help us draw a perfect circle.
The possibilities are truly limitless.
Posted Monday, July 11th, 2016 by Pete Luck