What exactly is wearable technology?

Written by Clare Elson 

Ever heard the term wearables?

To be perfectly honest, up until about a year ago I hadn’t ever heard of, let along used, the term wearables. It started to crop up in conversation more and more until it got to that embarrassing point of no return and I asked ‘What is wearable technology?’. Thankfully I wasn’t ‘tech-shamed’ and happily I learned something new that day however the fact remains that wearables appear to be more and more a part of our everyday life.

Examples of wearable technology

Put simply, wearable technology is any kind of electronic device designed to be worn on the user’s body. So that could include digital watches, headphones, smart jewellery, intelligent clothing or even hearing aids; items that most of us are already familiar with and probably incorporate into our daily lives one way or another. Wearable tech can also take the form of medical devices which incorporate built in sensors to transmit patient data wireless to a healthcare facility. Our car alarms, electronic key fobs, locator devices and even our chipped pets are all part of the picture.

Everyday technology

In reality we’ve all been using wearables for some time – remember the Sony Walkman? And in general we love the freedom they bring us and the ease with which we can track or streamline our lives. Darcy, our Design & Digital Marketing Manager wouldn’t be without his smartwatch;

“I use a Samsung Galaxy Active 2 smart watch and love it. I can leave the house without my phone so going for runs is grand. I’ve got Spotify on it so it connects to my wireless headphones and it’s got payments attached to it so I can run into the city, grab a coffee then tube home without taking my phone.”

wearable technology smart watch
Wearable technology flat lay

Wearable tech implants?

These are benefits that most of us can appreciate and possibly make use of one way or another on a regular basis but at the cutting edge of this technology the chip can be implanted into the human body making the wearable something you can’t simply leave at home or switch off. Contactless payments? No problem. Locate my car? Of course.

Indeed a recent BBC article reported on a ‘biohacker’ who has 32 body implants including magnets, to try to improve his performance.

Future of wearables

Whilst this is likely to be a step too far for most of us, not to mention inherent data protection issues, the fact remains that wearables are very much a part of the way we live and in general make our lives easier and our actions more effective.

In terms of the future, we might someday soon be wearing our Apple Glasses to view our text messages and emails, transferring the energy generated from our 10,000 daily steps to recharge our smartwatch or using our smart contact lenses to correct our vision while providing real-time, hands-free information.

For now though, I’m off for a run (smartwatch attached to my wrist to track my progress of course…and then perhaps get the bus home!)

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