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From devices and apps that help you track heart rate and food consumption details to gadgets that monitor your mood and even surrounding air, the "quantified self" is a reality for the everyday person. The result? You can learn about your own health with your own self-tracking devices and go a step further by using the devices to measure the success of self-improvement attempts.
The sector is shifting beyond external wearables like wristbands or clip-on devices to “body-adapted” electronics that further push the ever-shifting boundary between humans and technology.
The new generation of wearables is designed to adapt to the human body’s shape at the place of deployment. These wearables are typically tiny, packed with a wide range of sensors and a feedback system, and camouflaged to make their use less intrusive and more socially acceptable. These virtually invisible devices include earbuds that monitor heart rate, sensors worn under clothes to track posture, a temporary tattoo that tracks health vitals and haptic shoe soles that communicate GPS directions through vibration alerts felt by the feet. The applications are many and varied: haptic shoes are currently proposed for helping blind people navigate, a mechanism to enable translation of sign language directly to English, to aid the deaf and dumb in communicating with ease, is also in the headlines; while Google Glass has already been worn by oncologists to assist in surgery via medical records and other visual information accessed by voice commands.
Whether for personal or business use, wearable tech gadgets are primarily used for any one of the following functions:
• As a fashion statement
• As a fitness tracker
• To synchronize data and communication from other gadgets
• For specific health issue monitoring
• As a gauge for alertness and energy levels
• As navigation tools
• As media devices
• As communication gadgets
• For gaming purposes
Technology analysts consider that success factors for wearable products include device size, non-invasiveness, and the ability to measure multiple parameters and provide real-time feedback that improves user behaviour.
However, increased uptake also depends on social acceptability as regards privacy. For example, concerns have been raised about wearable devices that use cameras for facial recognition and memory assistance.
As the potential uses in various fields continue to grow, the sociological and cultural impact wearable technology will have in the future should not be under estimated. Already, the current hand-held devices available to consumers, such as Smart Phones, iPods and tablets, have changed the technological and social landscapes on a global scale. Such a landscape was unimaginable about 10 years ago. With that in mind, developers and analysts predict that wearable technology will very quickly change the technological and cultural landscapes once again.
Put simply, wearables are the biggest new innovation in technology since the smartphone – and the possibilities are endless.
Article by Rishibha Tuteja
Last minute Blogger, fangirl by profession. A Bibliophile by heart, Tech–Enthusiast by choice.
She breathes dreams like air and can be reached at https://twitter.com/BibliophileRish