Words by: Saashya Rodrigo
The ultra-sophisticated world of wearable technology is the end result of a fascinating journey of boundless innovation
Wearable technology began its journey when the first wristwatch was invented. This was a giant step forward for the early 1900s, given that what was then considered to be a ‘high-tech gadget’ was not only made portable like its older sibling, the pocket watch, it was also wearable – making it a handy fashion statement as well.
We have since entered a sophisticated world of wearable technology that aims to seamlessly merge fashion with technology, and vice versa.
With society increasingly being drawn to the portability of devices, this merge seems inevitable, given that the step which precedes creating a device smaller in size is to make it wearable, which then makes it one with the consumer.
Take the Smart Watch, for example. We transitioned from the pocket watch to the gear-driven wristwatch, and now to Apple’s Smart Watch. Not only has the time-telling device reduced in size (from a standing grandfather clock), it also includes multiple features, of which the first consumers of the original wristwatch may have only dreamed.
Besides portability, wearable technology also aims to replace or provide an alternate to the devices we use every day. For instance, the Smart Watch functions much like a smartphone. Besides its sleek, minimalistic design, the features of this computerised watch run parallel to many of the features that a modern computer system may have to offer, including being a media player. This touch screen device also has Bluetooth capabilities and a GPS receiver, as well as its own SD card. It is thus one of the most tech-forward devices in today’s industry of wearable technology.
Wearable technology has caused a major shift in how we, as consumers, view tech and fashion. The possibilities of wearable technology are endless, pushing the industry to introduce new products that have taken consumers by storm.
In 2007, society flocked towards the far more attractive substitute to the clip-on pedometer: the Fitbit. The Fitbit is one of the smartest products in the wearable technology space, for multiple reasons – viz. it is sleek and caters to a growing demand, and its upgrades continue to increasingly include more features of multiple essential tech gadgets such as computers and phones.
With the growing rate of obesity and correlated thirst for healthy lifestyle choices, the co-founders of the company James Park and Eric Friedman created a product that catered to a majority of the population. By being wearable, practical and stylish, the Fitbit was not only a lifestyle changer, it also proved to be a cool and hip accessory for teenagers, their parents and even grandparents.
As a promoter of, and motivator for, living an active lifestyle, the Fitbit is a wristband with multiple features that include a calorie tracker, step tracker and progress display. Its latest product – the Fitbit Blaze – even includes upgrades such as call, text and calendar alerts… all essentials in today’s business-driven society.
A major part of wearable technology involves extracting and enhancing the multitude of possibilities that wireless capabilities offer. Wi-Fi has enabled elements such as GPS tracking, connectivity to other users, and access to mobile applications and Internet-based media players, all of which individually open multiple doors to additional features.
This means that wearable technology can benefit just about every sector, including health care and entertainment, and cater to nearly every audience.
Indeed, 2016 has proven to be an exciting year for wearable technology, with products that are in the pipeline pushing the envelope of what we consider to be wearable technology today. In fact, wearable technology has progressed beyond catering to the two-legged consumer – enter Nuzzle. Nuzzle is a GPS collar created for our furry four-legged companions. The collar works as a pet tracker and insurance policy. With the product’s companion app Fetch, Nuzzle also collects data on the dog’s favourite walks as well as information on their wellness.
Sports companies such as Adidas and Under Armor are also launching new and innovative ways to enhance sporting performance. They’re using gadgets that clip onto sports apparel, which can monitor and track progress and performance.
As technology becomes more refined, new innovations will soon enter the market – and they will present consumers with infinite possibilities, in terms of daily conveniences, health and wellness, entertainment and connectivity.
For as long as the masterminds behind these devices cater to the demands of society, through the seamless merge of technology and fashion, wearable technology will continue its journey of boundless innovation.