Wearable technology. Is it all just smart watches? It’s actually not. There is a whole new world coming to wearable technology. Most of it has been in the professional fitness or military functions before hitting mainstream consumers.

picture of fitbit on wrist

This is my personal Fitbit Charge HR. I also use it as my medical alert bracelet.

First off, wearable smart watches, health monitors, etc. They all came from the ability to track ones heart rate. At first it was difficult and frustrating to wear a heart monitor. It was also difficult to track the mileage and where you ran for a running journal. So those items started to be coupled together. My ironman timex GPS watch sits dutifully on my desk in my office.

I’ve moved upwards to a fitbit charge HR. I wanted my heart rate to be tracked along with my sleep patterns and daily steps. Using a fitbit was something much less intimidating than a GPS watch, so it made it easier for the average consumer to be comfortable with. Now there are several kinds that you can choose to wear. Many that are not just focused on fitness but that also focus on connecting your phone, email, text messages, etc. It is something that comes with a bit of backlash. It begs the question why do we need to be so connected to technology.

Perhaps it’s because of items like those listed in the NY Times article  “They hope their young participants will be more comfortable telling a faceless app about personal health matters — a slump of depression, gross blood clots, irritated bowels — than telling a doctor. And it’s not just teenagers; most of us are willing to be much more honest with our phones than with professionals, or even with our spouses and partners. We look up weird symptoms and humiliating questions on Google with the same ease that we search for the name of a vaguely familiar character actor. For many of us, our smartphones have become extensions of our brains — we outsource essential cognitive functions, like memory, to them, which means they soak up much more information than we realize. When we hand over this information willingly, the effect is even greater.” (Wortham)

Now when we are looking at wearable technology, we are looking at more than just smart watches. Take the athos clothing line. It is a clothing line where each item has the ability to connect to the wearer by adding a tech dongle to the clothing itself. This clothing then becomes the technology and focuses in on what muscles are being fired off during exercise and it you have worked them to a sufficient limit.

What about the future of wearable technology. In looking at older wearables you can take something like a diabetes insulin pump that is worn outside of the body and attached through tubing and is monitoring the individual’s glucose levels and just pass it off as something that looks like a pager from 1992 (I make jokes with my friend about it all the time). However, then a new format of wearable technology comes to light such as the diabetes skin patch that is checking the level of glucose from a user’s sweat and seeing if they need an insulin injection. If they do then it is disbursed right there through the wearable skin patch. No skin prick, no test strip, no injection pen. It’s all there happening in one piece of wearable technology.

 

References

Lee, Hyunjae et al. “A Graphene-Based Electrochemical Device With Thermoresponsive Microneedles For Diabetes Monitoring And Therapy”. Nature Nanotech (2016): n. pag. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601064/controlling-diabetes-with-a-skin-patch/

WAXENBERG, JAKE. N.p., 2016. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. https://www.liveathos.com/products

Wortham, Jenna. “We’Re More Honest With Our Phones Than With Our Doctors”. Nytimes.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/27/magazine/were-more-honest-with-our-phones-than-with-our-doctors.html?_r=0