By Laurie Jo Miller Farr
Where is wearable tech headed? ‘Just about everywhere’ is the short answer. From healthcare and fitness to jewelry and fashion, innovation in wearable tech is making headline news week in and week out. In the near term, many industry observers believe we’re looking at a potential heyday for wearable tech.
Apple Watch and Healthcare
The latest iteration of the Apple Watch Series 4 sets new standards on what a watch can do. It has a groundbreaking electrical heart sensor to notify wearers about high and low heart rate, sudden abnormalities, and ‘;[even fall detection. Since its release in late 2018, the watch has been credited with correctly detecting atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can weaken heart muscles and increase the risk of stroke if left untreated.
Innovation labs are forging new science frontiers in medical wearables for human health. At various stages of testing, readiness, practicality, and affordability, these concepts include bras for cancer detection, contact lenses and skin patches for blood sugar monitoring in diabetic patients, navigation for the blind, UV rays sensors, sleep trackers, and infant and baby fever and oxygen levels monitoring.
Fitness wearables from brands such as Fitbit and Garmin have taken off in popularity. We see them regularly adding expanded capabilities – from entertainment to information – to the devices. Look for fitness information technology that’s woven into the fabric of clothing, implanted in footwear, hidden in headsets, and other body-mounted sensors that go beyond the wristband.
Personal Safety and Security
In addition to senior medical alerts, personal safety wearables can be useful for real estate agents, ride-share drivers, travel bloggers, reporters, and others who frequently work independently. The devices may provide alarms, SOS signals, text messages, and even WhatsApp calls to family or friends. At the same time, they can provide a wearer’s precise location via GPS and continue to track movement. Attach these always-on devices to clothing, handbags, belts or wear apparel with built-in technology such as Safe Shorts, designed for long-distance runners. Some devices are more discreet than others and many are presented as smart fashion jewelry.
GPS Tracking for Kids
When children are too young for a smartphone of their own, the parents of little ones can still get peace of mind. Wearable solutions include wristbands, pocket tiles, and portable trackers that attach to a belt or a backpack. Some devices also have geo-fencing capability, so parents will receive a text or email if and when the child leaves a designated area. Users point out that the target audience for such a device also includes at-risk or autistic youth.
Levi Strauss & Co. has a history that dates back to the mid-19th century California Gold Rush. Yet, Levi’s and Google have now partnered up on a modern day wearable that addresses a totally modern day problem. The objective is that nobody leaves their phone behind. The cuff on a denim smart jacket is designed to blink and vibrate, alerting the wearer that an Android phone is out of reach. The Levi’s jacket also provides a two-way alert, in case the phone is in hand when the jacket is forgotten.