The tech industry is advancing faster than ever. From self-driving cars to wearable technology, seeing all sorts of devices is much more now than it ever was. People wear “smart” glasses with which they can spend time on the internet while walking to the bus. It's like science fiction minus the fiction.
How do you think the future will look? Is everyone riding in a self-driving car in 10 years or do you think the majority of the vehicles will still be like they are now? And what about those “smart” glasses?
What Does The Future of Wearable Technology Look Like?
It all started with eyeglasses in 1286, roughly 800 years ago! Can you imagine glasses being the newest discovery within the wearable technology industry? Well, it was quite the discovery back then. People once used emeralds to see through before they figured out how to make eyeglasses. The eyeglasses made it a lot easier. And probably less expensive.
Now, the wearable technology industry grows so fast we can't even keep up with it. If a hearing device sounds new to you, what do you think about the Oculus Rift? Or have you heard about smart rings? People use these devices for entirely different purposes. Hearing devices are for improved hearing (obviously), the Oculus Rift is for a more immersive gaming experience, and smart rings can be used to track health-related metrics.
A great example of an outstanding wearable technology product is the Mbody Connected Shorts by Myontec. With these shorts, you can track everything from heart rate to muscle activity per leg. It does this by using EMG (electromyography) to measure everything through your leg muscles.
What do you think what we'll be able to measure five or ten years from now? Maybe all our clothes will come with these features in the standard edition by then. Or you go to the store to buy your own EXO-suit, nobody knows how far it will go and how quickly it will happen.
Wearable technology has the potential to improve our lives in many ways. From staying hydrated to making us little Iron Men (and Women, of course).
Wearable technology for health
Like the smart rings or Mbody Shorts, there are many more wearable technology devices that can help you improve your health. If you're into fitness, you probably know about the Fitbit. It's one of the most popular wearable technology devices for health at the moment.
You can track your heart rate, workouts and sleep with it. If you want to lose weight, the Fitbit can track all your activity and calories. Other features include guided breathing, a step counter, sleep stage tracker, and sleep scheduler.
Besides the Fitbit – which is more for the average consumer – there are also wearable technology devices specifically designed to help athletes improve their performance. For MLB competitors there is the Motus Baseball Sleeve which monitors physical stress and workload to optimize throwing and batting performances. Making sure there's little to no risk of injury while making sure to play to the strengths of the player.
Even in the healthcare industry, they make use of Google Glass to refer to CT and X-ray images without leaving the operating room. This way they keep their full attention on what they're doing instead of getting distracted by walking to another place and wasting valuable time.
There are a lot of ways we can go with the health industry. Will all doctors use wearable technology in the future to process things faster and maybe be even more accurately? Perhaps we'll get smart pills with which we can cure chronic diseases or assist in making a diagnosis. Pacemakers can come with additional features in the future as well. They're already capable of being adjusted remotely, saving the patient the need for surgery if their condition changes.
However, the current focus of wearable technology in the healthcare industry is more on clothing and skin patches.
Wearable technology for fashion
At the moment, many fashion products are considered wearable technology devices, like heated jackets and instructor yoga pants. There are more heated clothing parts, but the yoga pants are an original one. The yoga pants vibrate gently when you need to move or hold a particular position. It essentially guides you through a yoga routine, so you don't need an instructor anymore.
While the clothing still looks stunning, they also contain the features mentioned above. A company called Bellabeat had the same idea with jewelry and made these fantastic smart jewelry pieces with which you can track your health. They also made a drinking bottle which can monitor your hydration levels.
What do you think of a fabulous looking bracelet that can even identify your emotional states? ZENTA created this bracelet and launched a campaign on Indiegogo two years ago. They got funded for 238 percent of the initial goal! If you look at Indiegogo's site, you can even find things like smart customizable backpacks. Who knows what the future of fashion tech holds for us?
Wearable technology for security
One of the most common concerns of most people are the security risks related to all these “smart” products. Most of them have a tracker inside of them which means some companies can know your location and hackers become a threat, too. There's less and less privacy ever since the introduction of the smartphone, and there are many people who don't like that change at all. Some people take it so far that they become a part of the anti-smartphone movement.
But there's another side of the coin which is the wearable technology used for security purposes. Some people nowadays have cameras around their house, but there are also smart wallets which can get the thief on tape. Google also started a project with smart contact lenses a couple of years ago, but now it seems that it's off the table.
Secret agents probably make use of insane gadgets you might not even know to exist. Like the Night Vision Challenge Generation 2+ that looks like Tom Clancy's night vision mask. In the future, they might be able to combine smart glasses and face recognition to get all the information they need from every person they see. This can help the police officers on the job, too. Or it could be abused to be more invasive. That part is up to us.
Wearable technology for comfort
There are also companies that focus solely on making your life easier with wearable technology devices. Usually, people will hire a personal assistant or personal trainer to help them achieve their goals.
Now, there are wearable technology devices that can schedule your plans in your calendar with voice-controlled technology. The personal trainer is easily replaceable by earbuds connected to a device that tracks your fitness levels and training efficiency.
Other simplifications include navigation through smart glasses or watches, extra memory in glasses where you can save your thoughts or paying your bills with your ring. Making wearable technology as comfortable as possible is very important to secure the future of wearable tech.
One fantastic concept is the Transense glass which analyzes the non-verbal reaction of an audience listening to you so you can improve your communication skills. Young designers are the future of wearable technology ideas which can enhance our daily lives.
Wearable technology for gaming
The newest and most prominent trend of wearable technology devices might be VR (Virtual Reality) which is used to immerse a person into the world of gaming (or other worlds). In Japan, they even use it for a VR marriage with an AI. The earlier mentioned Oculus Rift allows players to grab things within a game, but its use goes beyond gaming. Other purposes like training doctors to deal with patients are great examples of this.
The future of virtual reality might look like something in the new Johnny English movie where Johnny English is supposed to train on a total immersive pad. Although, it doesn't quite go as planned…
Maybe armies will use these kinds of devices to train their soldiers as well. One thing is for sure, VR opened up a whole other world (literally).
App development for wearable technology
An industry that benefits from the growth of wearable technology is the app development industry. With the growth of the wearable technology industry, app developers will be more in demand than ever.
Every smart device needs applications to function. You can expect more developer jobs in the future because it's going to grow exponentially.
Many companies specialize in wearable app development like Contus, Hidden Brains, and Konstantinfo. These companies work together with bigger companies like Google to make the best possible apps for wearable technology devices. The expertise of app developers specialized in wearables is valuable because it's far more challenging than standard programming.
Why Is Wearable Technology so Popular?
When the smartphone first came out, people did not know what to expect, but soon everybody had one. You could keep in touch with people from the other side of the planet with a simple touch on a button no matter where you were. Information became the driver to convince people of the improvements a smartphone would make in their lives. From now on, you didn't need a degree to know something; you could simply ask Google.
The principles by which you can explain the growth of smartphones are simplicity, accessibility, and connectivity. Wearable technology devices use precisely that plus an additional factor: looks. Some wearable tech devices look fancy and luxurious, people like that a lot. With those looks, people can build a reputation for themselves and even create a certain image which they love to show off. But that's not the case for all people. Some love statistics or the other possibilities wearable technology offers.
Wearable technology also helps make things work faster. There's a story about a field worker who makes use of wearable cameras to solve issues more quickly for his company. Just like the example of the doctor mentioned earlier who could preview the CT and X-ray scans without leaving the operating room. This can save companies millions of dollars on a yearly basis by speeding up the work processes with wearable technology.
Why wearable technology is here to staty
Besides the reasons why wearable technology is so popular, wearable technology is here to stay for more than that. Wearable tech devices can eliminate the loss of productivity by replacing the smartphone in some areas. Messaging and calling via a smartwatch is now possible, you don't need a smartphone for that anymore.
Another simple reason why wearable technology is here to stay is that younger people love it. A study showed that in 2015 three-quarters of the wearable device users are between the ages of 15 and 34. This simply means that the wearable technology industry will grow with them and the younger generations that are to come.
The opposition to wearable technology
One of the biggest concerns for consumers is radiation (EMFs), but scientists say it's so low it doesn't matter. Whatever you believe the wearable devices send out radiation that is harmful, the truth is that it's less than your television or phone.
Another concern is that the new age wellness influencers see the smartphone as a worse thing than cigarettes. Now, with the existence of more complicated wearable technology devices, they may see this as a threat too. But the beautiful thing is that there are new age wellness influencers within the wearable technology industry. These people aim to improve the mindfulness of people through smart devices like the Wearable X yoga pants which guide you through your yoga practice. As long as these people get the opportunity to participate in the wearable technology industry as well, there shouldn't be a problem.
Last but not least, lately there have been many cases of companies who sell information from their consumers. The biggest threat, for example, is Facebook. Even if the companies don't sell this information, there are a lot of hackers who can simply get all this information via the storage of these companies. Privacy concerns may be the biggest enemy for the wearable technology industry as those devices may eventually take control of a large part of our lives.
Improvements the wearable technology industry needs to make
The most critical factor the wearable technology industry has to improve is the accuracy of the devices, especially when it comes down to health-related devices. If your blood pressure is okay and your device says it's not, you'll panic for nothing. It's a perfectionistic process, but if they keep updating their devices, it will be possible.
Another improvement to make is the looks of every wearable tech device. Although most of the devices look pretty cool, some of them don't exactly look like something you would wear in your daily life. That should change, or at least that is if the wearable technology wants to dominate the market eventually.
If you want to keep up to date with all the news and new products that come out in the wearable technology industry, you should keep a close eye on WearableTech. There you will find everything from research to new products.
How to Use Wearable Technology Safely
Before you go to Kickstarter or Indiegogo to seek out cool wearable technology devices to wear, hear this. Use the wearable technology devices only for the intended purposes and if you're not so sure about privacy and radiation-related stuff, minimize your usage and put it on plane mode (when possible). Or even store it somewhere you don't have to worry about it anymore.
And if you're thinking about using wearable technology devices for safety purposes, there are devices for you too. Like the React Sidekick, Nimb or Revolar. Those are all devices you can wear if you feel unsafe on your own. And when you're in danger, you simply push the panic button.
Most Popular Questions Answered
Below you'll find the most asked questions and the answers to clarify some things before you go off to your daily life again. The first question about wearable technology is if it's going to replace smartphones. 43 percent of the interviewed people said they thought that it would happen.
30 percent of the interviewed people also mentioned that they would commit to wearing five wearables by 2020. Life expectancy will increase by 10 years according to 56 percent of the people, and 46 percent say that they believe that obesity rates will decrease because of wearable devices.
TV is replaceable by wearable devices according to 52 percent of the people, and 57 percent believe that wearable devices will decrease the level of dependency on friends and family (is that really a good thing, though?). We can safely say that the majority of people think wearable technology will play a significant role in our future lives.