How wearable technology has evolved over the centuries – The Past, Present, and Future

Wearable Technology might feel like a new thing in the town, but its roots are centuries old.  For us, the wearable technology, this term is a reference to fitness trackers, smartwatches, smart clothing or some more sophisticated tools like smart glasses, or AR/VR headsets and such devices.  But the truth is that it has existed long back just in a different form and has evolved overtime to give us today’s high tech wearable devices.

 

A Fascinating Past

The evolution of wearables dates back to the 1788 when Thomas Jefferson introduced the first ever pedometer. Another glorifying invention in this area was that of the Lie Detector. Back in 1921, Lie detector was created which was the first machine to have sensors which could measure Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), pulse rate and blood pressure which indicated the physiological parameters of deceiving. This instrument was of great use to the police.

As time moved on, so did innovations in this space and they were more powerful, more stronger. 1961 saw an enthralling innovation – The first Wearable Computer – a time when computers were the size of the rooms. MIT professors, Edward Thorp and Claude Shannon designed the world’s first wearable computer, taking hacking to another level. The wearable computer consisted of 2 parts – one part hidden in a shoe, and another part inside a cigarette pack. The data-taker indicated the speed of the roulette wheel, and the computer would send the data to a hearing aid. This simple but efficient system let the mathematicians of that time predict the outcome of many roulette games.

Innovations have been coming around from that point in time, be it of wearable hearing aids or the world’s first fully digital pacemaker – Vitatron C-Series in 2003.

 

The Present

Wearable technology has touched multiple areas but Healthcare has been the major benefiter of this technology.  Fitness Tracking devices have been among the prominent wearables devices. In 2006, Apple and Nike collaborated for Nike+iPod – a fitness tracking device which let the consumers use their existing technology to keep fit. 2009 again saw the launch of a dedicated fitness tracker Fitbit. And today many fitness trackers with advanced features are available that can help you make your workout more meaningful.apple

Smartwatches are been another favorite wearables among the youth. Kick started with Pebble’s Kickstarter in 2012, smartwatches have been an area of great interest for the consumers and this has paved the way for Apple and Android smartwatches today.

Lot of innovative wearables have also come in the way. For instance, Philips lifeline in 2010 introduced AutoAlert – an automatic fall detection technology. Using the latest wireless technology, AutoAlert allows the seniors to call for help from any location.

Leaf Wearables has brought in anleaf innovative wearable – SAFER. SAFER is a smart jewellery in the form of a necklace, which can be used to trigger alarm and send signals to pre-identified phone numbers in case of emergency. Frodo has designed an innovative intelligent adventure camera which is easy to strap shoot and share. Well the list is endless when it comes to innovative wearable offerings.

A Promising Future

Wearables are definitely here to stay long and the future looks quite exciting. With wearables being a space filled with innovation, you never know what new innovations are in store for the future. Wearable technology has changed the way of living and going forward there will be no one who will be left untouched by this technology.

IoT industry too is at its nacent stage and as the IoT industry will mature, so will the wearable technology promising a better life, a better world.

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Manisha Salecha

Manisha is a Senior Content Analyst with Analytics India Magazine. Apart from writing & editing articles and taking interviews, she is also responsible for covering analytics news, and handling social media for AIM.