Is it a shirt? A trouser? or a stole? definitely yes, but the word is out already it refers to computing, Yes its wearable computing, this is not new but we've essentially had wearable computing since the wristwatch, notably the chronograph. It just told us the time and it was a compelling reason to wear one. Once Mobile phones came to existence many of us got rid of wrist watches, later this happened to serve as an ancillary computer the Smart Phone. To be precise wearable computing has been in existence since 16th century, we had Abacus ring later the Abacus necklace. Now wearable technology has changed and becoming more mainstream.
Now that we have seen computers linger in almost all our activities the need has gone beyond using it for official and entertainment needs. Researches have pushed the limits to extend computing to take inputs from human body and environment round in providing insights which can be of interest. Wearable computing especially when applied to health can provide quantified self movement such as heart rate monitors andPedometers.
fitness could reach 170 million devices by 2017 “
The first several decades of wearable computing failed to produce any notable success-stories on the consumer front, but advances in materials sciences, battery power, augmented reality and chip evolution have made the possibilities for wearables grow rapidly. Google’s recent unveiling of Project Glass has garnered a great deal of attention apart from the what it has earned already, but the market is much broader and includes fashion, health and wellness technologies, and technologies for the ageing and disabled.
With Google Glass expected to roll-out commercially in 2014, there is a huge wave of buzz and panics hitting the board rooms of technology giants. With the demo of these glasses, which are armed with an LCD or AMOLED display allowing user to access information related to email, directions and data in real time. Project Glass is one clear indication of the future market of wearables Apart from the widespread talks about Google glass, Motorola, Apple, Microsoft and Nike are investing hugely in this area, this is a clear indication that we are about to witness a wearable era like the smartphone and its predecessors.
Below are some of the wearables, we may see in near future.
Lucy McRae on one of her TED talks demonstrated some of the work Philips Electronics is researching and coined the term “maybe tech” for technologies that are not purely off or on the body and have the effect of blurring the boundaries of the body.
A Smart wig comes as no surprise from Sony, marking its presence in wearable segment “Smart Wig is basically a mobile computer. It could fulfil a number of functions from acting as a health care device that monitors users’ vital signs (including blood pressure, temperature and heart-rate) to “navigation wig” to assist the visually impaired in finding their way around. The users can get direction from the device while walking. The device will send a small buzz to the left side of the head or right side of the head.” Realising the potential Sony has filled patent for this wearable.
Wearable continues to amaze targeted female audience who are under immense stress to send out an alert and avoid them from overeating. A stress-busting bra typically has sensor pads with a microprocessor powered by a battery which was able to record the moods and stream it to the smartphone. The same was tried for men in underwear since its away (far from heart) they were not able to capture EKG (electrocardiogram). Downside of the Bra was it was not able to work for more than couple of house and there was a risk of charging often.
LUMOback claims to monitor once position and trains to improve throughout the day. It appears like a belt which can be worn inside or out side the cloths, it records all the activities from walking to time spent of sitting and even records sleeping habits of a person. Recorded activities are pushed to smartphone via their apps to give a detailed analytic and suggests to improve positions and insights about the calories consumes for each activity. Though this is similar to the Bands available in the market, LUMO tries to count of the posture recording and suggestion feature. Which seams to be a usp of this product.
We are also seeing an interesting segment which could embrace this technology, Tom Staggs, the chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, trotted out MagicBand, a wristband that stores information about consumers' identity and preferences, so that Disney characters can greet guests by name.
14 million wearable devices were estimated to have been shipped in 2011. Of these, 3 million units were fitness activity monitors with continuous glucose monitors accounting for most of the income. However, the size and composition of the market is projected to look significantly different by 2016, when between 39 million and 171 million devices will be shipped.
Though there are strong voices against the wearables as it could pose serious privacy issues when you are out in public apart from this there is also concerns that electromagnetic energy and wifi signals can be absorbed by body and may harm human health. But, on a diplomatic note we wish to conclude all these technology advancements leads to constructive purpose for mankind.