From prototypes using LED lights in clothing, the advent of smart watches, and advancing technologies that can do everything from helping with Parkinson’s to aiding in the diagnosis of breast cancer the field of wearable technologies has come a long way. This blog will look at the basics of wearable technology. Information in this blog came from Wearable Technology: How and Why It Works, Wearable Computer, and Wearable Technology. Product suggestions came from the ILA website.
What is Wearable Technology?
Wearable technology, also known as “wearables”, is a category of electronic devices that can be worn as accessories, embedded in clothing, implanted in the user’s body, or even tattooed on the skin. The devices are hands-free gadgets with practical uses, powered by microprocessors and enhanced with the ability to send and receive data via the Internet. ILA offers many different types of wearable technology (and other technology based products) geared towards assisting those persons with vision and/or hearing loss.
How Does Wearable Technology Work?
Wearable technology can be said to have existed since eyeglasses were first developed in the 13th century. Timepieces small enough to be worn have been around since about 1500. Another early example of wearable technology was created in 17th century China, when an inventor created a ring that contained an abacus. During WW1, cameras were mounted on pigeons to capture images of enemy troops. But modern wearable technology is defined as incorporating a microprocessor and an internet connection.
The growth of mobile networks enabled the development of wearable technology. Fitness activity trackers were the first big wave of wearable technology to catch on with consumers. Then, the wristwatch became a screen and more robust mobile applications were added. Bluetooth headsets, smartwatches, and web-enabled glasses all allow people to receive data from Wi-Fi networks. The gaming industry adds more wearables, with virtual reality and augmented reality headsets.
Types and Uses of Wearable Technology
There are many different types and uses for wearable technology. The devices can range in size and functionality depending on their intended usage. Here are a few examples of the differing ranges and uses of this cutting-edge technology.
Accessibility of Wearable Computers: There are many accessible uses for wearable computers. For individuals who are blind, braille watches or smart glasses that interpret visual information into audio data can help with daily tasks. Smart glasses are wearable technology worn on the face like glasses. They often include augmented reality capabilities and HUD for relaying information to the wearer. Two examples that utilize types of smart glasses are the Vision Buddy Television Viewing System and the Patriot Viewpoint. Sound shirts and vibrating bracelets allow deaf individuals to enjoy music through vibrations. Individuals with difficulty communicating can wear portable translators that give them independence and improve their everyday lives.
Generalized Wearable Computing Devices and Electronics: Wearable computers can be used by consumers to streamline personal tasks and complete their daily workloads. Wearable computers that incorporate augmented memory technology can help individual users by keeping track of a lot of details or setting reminders. Wearable electronics, also a computing device, is worn more so as an accessory such as a smartwatch. An example of using technology as accessories can be seen through the rise of smart jewelry that delivers high-tech features through the most discreet of accessories. One example of this type of jewelry is the smart ring which tracks fitness activity, heart rate, and sleep patterns in a slim, minimalist ring.
Healthcare Technology: Wearable computers can help healthcare providers deliver better, more efficient care and patient management. For example, a sensor that can be swallowed by a patient could monitor whether they stick to their regimen of prescribed pills. In addition, wearable fitness and nutrition trackers can help patients improve their health through lifestyle changes. Another example in this category is the Cyrcadia Health wearable breast monitor that can detect early signs of breast cancer and transmit the information to a lab for analysis.
Military: The use of wearable computers in the military has grown for applications such as surveillance, location tracking and equipment repair. For example, smart watches that can provide GPS or mechanical information or biometric tracking devices can help military personnel complete tasks more efficiently.
Policing: Members of the police force are required to wear body cameras clipped onto clothing or built into headgear to collect evidence of criminal activity and deter violations of human rights or brutality.