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The world of wearable tech

Ryan Taylor

Whether it’s the trusty Apple Watch or the faithful Fitbit, we’re all familiar with the most popular and abundant wearable tech on the market. The question is, can wearable tech become more than just an extension of our phone or another health tracker? Does the future of wearable tech have the power to change lives, change business or even change how we see ourselves? Let’s take a look at some of the top tech from the last few years which has been breaking the boundaries of what’s possible.

Monitoring your wellbeing

There’s been a huge amount of disruption happening in the healthcare industry in recent years, mainly due to advances in tech and newly available data. Most recently, at CES this year, we’ve seen the launch of the Withings Move ECG, which comes with an integrated electrocardiogram monitor. Then there’s the Mercedes-Benz Garmin Vivoactive 3 which can integrate with your car (as long as it’s a Mercedes) to let it know what kind of mental and physical state you’re in. The real power behind this feature comes from being able to then adjust your route home to avoid traffic, and stress, and to tailor your music to something calmer. So all in all, at first glance we’re seeing a push towards tech which is tailored to help our overall wellbeing, not simply tracking stats.

Taking a side step from healthcare into prevention and we arrive at the Telecare wristband and bracelet. This wearable tech can detect when a wearer has had a fall, seizure, heart attack or stroke and then alert a remote support system to send help. While it’s mainly been used by elderly and vulnerable people, in their own homes, it’s now been adapted for use in prison environments as well. With an ageing prison population, devices like this could help to keep the costs of healthcare down and avoid more serious incidents.

Augmenting the workplace

If you’re a fan of sci-fi, you’ll know that creating a universal translator has been a dream for many in the scientific and tech community for a long time. With the WT2 real-time in-ear translator that dream has come true and it could change the face of global business forever. It features a set of earbuds which deliver the translation to you in real-time through your smartphone. If the tech catches on it could break barriers between negotiations, business meetings, international team collaboration and the list goes on.

While we’re on the topic of communication, we also discovered the OrCam MyMe which aims to make networking simpler and easier to navigate. You attached the tech to your shirt or top and using facial recognition technology it scans and adds people into your contacts list. It can recognise name tags and convert these into contact information and then you can tag and organise the people you’ve met into groups on the accompanying app. This is the kind of device which makes life that little bit easier for anyone who worries about remembering names, or making a good impression, or who’s just looking to build their confidence with networking.

An extension of the self

Wearable tech has given us the ability to monitor our health and wellbeing and to understanding and make sense of our surroundings. Now, it’s turning inwards and looking to help augment our innermost thoughts. Most recently, the MIT Media Lab have created a non-invasive, wearable interface called AlterEgo which can effectively read your mind and allow you to talk with computers, assistants and machines without the need for external sound. This tech has huge potential for the future, offering a wearable piece of tech that is both powerful and discreet and which allows you easy access to the power of both human brain and machine.

So there we have it. A few highlights from the world of wearable tech. Our advice? Keep your eyes peeled for more innovative and ingenious solutions to challenges to life’s little problems in the coming years.

Read our related blog: Virtual Reality: is it more important than we realise?

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