When thinking about the future of wearable technology, you might envision things you’ve seen in television shows such as Black Mirror. And it may seem almost invasive.
However, wearable technology and its future may not be as extreme as you imagine. Many of us already use wearable technology and don’t even consider it. For example, at one point, eyeglasses were regarded as wearable technology.
Wearable technology will see current devices scaled down in size and increase their data-capturing capabilities. Future wearables will also become more mainstream, especially in the health and fitness industry.
Implantables will be on the rise to monitor and track chronic health conditions, especially in older adults. In addition, the entertainment industry will see wearables implemented to create a more immersive experience for the audience.
In the present-day wearable technology refers to devices connected to the internet and containing some form of a processor. Industries have come far in technological advancements and are surging forward daily. So what exactly does the future of wearable technology hold for us?
Adaptations Of Wearable devices
The future of wearable technology will primarily be integrating hand-held devices into”wearable” tech. Today’s wearables aren’t cumbersome but are made from durable materials. Although, this does not always translate into comfort for the users. Gadgets and devices may not even be necessary when considering the future of wearable technology.
Northeastern associate Professor Canek Fuentes-Hernandez and his colleagues have created a material that allows much more flexibility and movement. It behaves a lot like skin and can be worn comfortably by users.
Fuentes-Hernandez said about his creation: “Materials like the one we developed could potentially lead to sensors that could just be attached to the skin.” But, he added, “The wearer of these sensors wouldn’t even notice their presence because they just behave like the skin.”
Another plus to this development is the lower energy consumption and the more infrequent need for charging.
Engineers are researching energy harvesting to supply power to wearable technology. The goal is to achieve a state where the person sporting the wearables can maintain longer battery life by converting body heat or movement into energy. In addition, solar power could also be implemented.
The Future Of Wearable Technology In Healthcare And Fitness
The most lucrative industries for wearable technology are medical wearables for healthcare and fitness monitoring and tracking. Currently, devices such as Fitbits fitness trackers and Smartwatches like the Apple watch collect data and allow the wearer to track factors like calorie burn and heart rate. This information is used for their knowledge or motivation, but some health insurance companies also keep track of it.
Electrical and Computer engineering innovation will make future wearable devices capable of providing more diagnostic outputs. These outputs will provide feedback and administer necessary medication, for example, insulin, for a person with diabetes.
Smart tattoos are being developed in the medical industry to track vital signs like heart rates, muscle function, sleep disorders, and brain activity. This kind of “wearable” is not a permanent fixture but might become so as more innovations are made.
Wearable patches like the one developed by Cyrcadia Health for the early detection of breast cancer already exist. The future will see such devices or patches being utilized to collect health data for the preventative treatment of various diseases. Early detection of such things will be beneficial, especially to those with genetic predispositions.
Wearable Tech Spotlight
The next generation of wearables will be able to help you with your health goals and keep you in shape. Moreover, fitness trackers are leading the way for the range of features that can be integrated into wearable tech.
Fitness trackers are often used to monitor how many steps have been taken, the distance traveled, and the calories burned. However, they have been evolving into devices that can provide more detailed information about a person’s health and fitness.
What if your fitness tracker could tell you when to go for a walk or take a break? What if it could know how much water you need and when to take medication? What if it could monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels?
For example, one kind of wearable device is a smartwatch. It offers some of the same features as a fitness tracker. Still, it has additional features such as smartphone connectivity and GPS tracking.
Google Glasses is a wearable technology that Google released in 2013. The device, which resembles eyeglasses, features a small computer and a head-mounted display.
The early models of Google Glasses could not last long on battery life. However, the newer models can last up to 24 hours with normal usage.
Google Glasses are packed with features that allow users to manage tasks, record memories, and capture moments with friends.
Google glass is still not available to the public, although it has many features and has been around for a while.
The Google Glasses are worn like glasses and have an integrated camera. Other features include a speaker, microphone, and touchpad mounted on an eyeglass frame. These glasses can take photos or videos without any help from your hands which makes them quite useful in many situations.
Implantable Chips For Medical Purposes
Elon Musk and Max Hodak’s implantable brain chip has been a source of some controversy in recent years. The idea behind it is that with this chip, a computer will be able to carry out specific actions with the person only thinking about it.
Musk himself has made many claims regarding the capabilities of this implant. One such claim is that this chip would enable people with paralysis to engage with smartphones and other devices.
Musk told the Wall Street Journal that the Neuralink chip could allow those with tetraplegia and quadriplegia the ability to walk. The Guardian posted a comprehensive article about this device and its advancements in January 2022.
The future of wearables is not just about smartwatches and fitness trackers. A new category of wearables, smart jewelry, has been popping up recently.
This new wearable tech category allows you to wear your devices on your body rather than carry them around. Examples of popular devices include rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.
It’s not just the form factor that makes smart jewelry devices attractive to consumers- they are also much more convenient than traditional wearables. For example, they can be charged wirelessly and infrequently and still perform really well.
Smart Jewelry wearables were designed to be a fashion accessories and not just a tool for fitness or healthcare. It can potentially change how we interact with technology in the future.
The Future Of Wearable Technology In Safety And Security
There are already wearable devices that are inconspicuous or disguised as jewelry. They allow a person to send alerts to family members or police should they find themselves in a dangerous situation. These make use of GPS technology.
Much like how pets have been “chipped” to ensure they are found and returned home. This tracking system has been extended to humans. Your smart devices already allow you to enable location services. The future could see the need for tracking children or those with disabilities and chronic illness as a safety measure.
With the rise of home automation security systems, keys and even keycards may become obsolete. Biometrics are already in use as a security measure. In the future smart tattoos could be used to access homes or cars.
Exoskeletons As Wearable Tech To Increase Productivity
Exoskeletons have been shown to improve a worker’s productivity. They have also been proven to lessen strain and prevent injury caused by physical labor. As a result, the future will see exoskeletons suits becoming more commonplace in certain workplaces and more streamlined in appearance.
Ford had an exoskeleton demonstration at the Canadian International Auto Show. As well, ITWC has a Youtube video showcasing some of this technology’s amazing capabilities.
How Will Wearable Technology Advance In The Gaming And Entertainment Industry?
Virtual reality headsets have taken a person’s viewing pleasure to the next level. The future will see wearables such as headsets, smart glasses, and “hearables,” allowing viewers a far more immersive experience. Playing games and watching movies will engage more of your senses. Imagine being able to smell or taste what is being portrayed on your screen.
In many ways, wearable technology will do a lot for human beings, especially concerning health and safety. It is, however, something of a double-edged sword. Certain futuristic wearables will encroach on a person’s privacy and data. Even with today’s technology, this is a threat, but it can be monitored or regulated by the user’s privacy settings.
Wearable technology won’t be turning humans into robot-like beings, not yet, anyway. But instead will see better management of illnesses and diseases, safer environments, and more productive workplaces.
In addition, wearables will be more personalized (think tech and fashion hybrid), efficient, accurate, and low profile.