Wearable Technology

Wearable technology, wearables, fashionable technology, wearable devices, tech togs, or fashion electronics are smart electronic devices (electronic device with micro-controllers) that can be worn on the body as implants or accessories.[1][2][3][4]

Wearable devices, such as activity trackers, are a good example of the Internet of Things, since "things" such as electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity are effectors that enable objects to exchange data (including Data Quality) through the internet with a manufacturer, operator, and/or other connected devices, without requiring human intervention.


Wearable technology is related to both ubiquitous computing and the history and development of wearable computers. Wearables make technology pervasive by interweaving it into daily life. Through the history and development of wearable computing, pioneers have attempted to enhance or extend the functionality of clothing, or to create wearables as accessories able to provide users with sousveillance--the recording of an activity typically by way of small wearable or portable personal technologies. Tracking information like movement, steps, and heart rate are all part of the quantified self movement.

The origins of wearable technology are influenced by both of these responses to the vision of ubiquitous computing.[5] One early piece of widely adopted wearable technology was the calculator watch, which was introduced in the 1980s. An even earlier wearable technology was the hearing aid.

In 2004, fashion design label CuteCircuit unveiled a Bluetooth-connected electronics called the HugShirt at the CyberArt Festival in Bilbao, Spain, where it won the Grand Prize at the festival.[6] The HugShirt, designed for tele-transmitting touch over distance, differs from previous early wearable technology examples (e.g. watches or the helmet designs of Wearable Computing in the 1990s) because the product is the first wearable technology that took the form of a garment of clothing,[7] as such it is also marks the first piece of Bluetooth-connected and internet-connected clothing. This product was included by Time Magazine in the "Best Inventions of the Year" special issue.[8]

In 2008, Ilya Fridman incorporated a hidden Bluetooth microphone into a pair of earrings.[9][10] Around the same time, the Spy Tie appeared, a "stylish neck tie with a hidden color camera".[11]

A survey conducted by Vanson Bourne in the UK in 2015 found that almost half (56%) of those surveyed said that wearable tech was a fad.[12]


Back in 2009, Sony Ericsson teamed up with the London College of Fashion for a contest to design digital clothing, and the winner was a cocktail dress with Bluetooth technology making it light up when a call is received,[13] and Zach "Hoeken Smith" of MakerBot fame made keyboard pants during a "Fashion Hacking" workshop at a New York City creative collective. The Tyndall National Institute[14] in Ireland, developed a "Remote non-intrusive patient monitoring" platform which was used to evaluate the quality of the data generated by the patient sensors and how the end users may adopt to the technology.[15]

More recently, fashion company CuteCircuit created costumes for singer Katy Perry featuring LED lighting so that the outfits would change color both during stage shows and appearances on the red carpet. In 2012, London-based CuteCircuit created the world's first dress to feature Tweets, as worn by singer Nicole Scherzinger.[16] In 2014, graduate students from the Tisch School of Arts in New York designed a hoodie that sent pre-programmed text messages triggered by gesture movements.[17] Around the same time, prototypes for digital eyewear with heads up display (HUD) began to appear.[18] The US military employs headgear with displays for soldiers using a technology called holographic optics.[18]

In 2010, Google started developing prototypes[19] of its optical head-mounted display Google Glass, which went into customer beta in March 2013.

Wearable events

Amsterdam's 5 Days Off festival included a free show called "Wearable Technology: Powered Art and Fashion".[20] In 2014, the Fashion Law Institute held a panel discussion, which focused on patents, about wearable technology.[21]

In 2015, a number of other events related to wearable technology are also planned, such as the Enterprise Wearable Technology Show in Houston, the Wearable Technology Show in London and the Wearable Tech Conference and Exhibition in Moscow. In the UK, Carl Thomas runs a thriving Wearables London networking group which meets monthly.


Wearable technology usage can be categorized into two major categories;[22]

  • personal usage
  • business usage

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
  • As a treatment for hearing impairments
  • For remote treatment of speech and voice disorders such as those in patients with Parkinson's diseases[23]
  • As a sport tracker
  • To synchronize data and communication from other gadgets
  • For specific health issue monitoring, for example stress management[24]
  • As a gauge for alertness and energy levels
  • As navigation tools
  • As media devices
  • As communication gadgets

Wearable devices are rapidly advancing in terms of technology, functionality, and size, with more real-time applications.[25]

Wearable technology is on the rise in both personal and business use. In the consumer space, sales of smart wristbands (aka activity trackers such as the Jawbone UP and Fitbit Flex) started accelerating in 2013. One out of five American adults have a wearable device according to the 2014 PriceWaterhouseCoopers Wearable Future Report.[26]Smartwatches are a second high-profile sector and while wearable devices have been around for years, it has only started gaining mass market attention with the introduction of new models by Samsung and later by Apple. The now defunct Google Glass gained a lot of media attention, but the project ground to a halt in early 2015, with Google stopping device sales. Smart shoe for the visually challenged is a product that is currently available and has great scope in the future. In healthcare, wearables have long been used, for example in hearing aids and in detecting health disorders such as sleep apnea. A study in 2014 by MSI and McAfee reported that 70% of people think that wearable technologies will soon send health vitals readings to physicians.[27] Medical professionals such as Google Glass Surgeon even organized themselves into the WATCH Society (Wearable Technology in Healthcare Society) in order to search for collaboration and valid use of wearable technology in healthcare. In professional sports, wearable technology has applications in monitoring and real time feedback for athletes.[28][29] The decreasing cost of processing power and other components is encouraging widespread adoption and availability.[28] Wearable technologies have helped make healthcare reform possible. The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare is pushing the value-based care model and technology provides the support needed for the program to succeed and the US government to save money. Telehealth is one such healthcare distribution method within the Population Health Programs model using wearable technologies to help bring down US healthcare costs. However a great deal research and development is required to ensure that the data generated is managed correctly[1] and is of a high quality.[30] This will help to ensure that the patient/user builds up confidence and trust in the technology.

Modern technologies

The Fitbit, a modern wearable device

On April 16, 2013, Google invited "Glass Explorers" who had pre-ordered its wearable glasses at the 2012 Google I/O conference to pick up their devices. This day marked the official launch of Google Glass, a device intended to deliver rich text and notifications via a heads-up display worn as eyeglasses. The device also had a 5 MP camera and recorded video at 720p.[31] Its various functions were activated via voice command, such as "OK Glass". The company also launched the Google Glass companion app, MyGlass.[32] The first third-party Google Glass App came from the New York Times, which was able to read out articles and news summaries.

However, in early 2015, Google stopped selling the beta "explorer edition" of Glass to the public, after criticism of its design and the $1,500 price tag.[33][34]

While optical head-mounted display technology remains a niche, two popular types of wearable devices have taken off: smartwatches and activity trackers. Back in 2012, ABI Research forecast that sales of smartwatches would hit 1.2 million in 2013, helped by the high penetration of smartphones in many world markets, the wide availability and low cost of MEMS sensors, energy efficient connectivity technologies such as Bluetooth 4.0, and a flourishing app ecosystem.[35]

Crowdfunding-backed start-up Pebble reinvented the smartwatch in 2013, with a campaign running on Kickstarter that raised more than $10m in funding, and at the end of 2014, Pebble announced it had sold a million devices. In early 2015, Pebble went back to its crowdfunding roots to raise a further $20m for its next-generation smartwatch, Pebble Time, which started shipping in May 2015.

In March 2014, Motorola unveiled the Moto 360 smartwatch powered by Android Wear, a modified version of the mobile operating system Android designed specifically for smartwatches and other wearables.[36][37] And finally, following more than a year of speculation, Apple announced its own smartwatch, the Apple Watch, in September 2014.

Wearable technology was a popular topic at the trade show Consumer Electronics Show in 2014, with the event dubbed "The Wearables, Appliances, Cars and Bendable TVs Show" by industry commentators.[38] Among numerous wearable products showcased were smartwatches, activity trackers, smart jewelry, head-mounted optical displays and earbuds. Nevertheless, still wearable technologies are suffering from limited battery capacity and there are several research works try to overcome this challenge.[39]

One of the most interesting fields of application of wearable technology is monitoring systems for assisted living and eldercare. Wearable sensors have indeed a huge potential in generating big data, with a great applicability to biomedicine and ambient assisted living (AAL).[40] For this reason, researchers are moving their focus from data collection to the development of intelligent algorithms able to provide valuable information by the collected data, using data mining techniques such as statistical classification and neural networks.[41]

Wearable technology can also collect biometric data such as heart rate(ECG and HRV), brainwave(EEG), and muscle bio-signals(EMG)from human body to provide valuable information in the field of health care and wellness.[42]

Another increasingly popular wearable technology involve virtual reality. VR Headsets exist from a range of manufacturers for computers, consoles, and mobile devices. Recently Google, a tech giant, has released their headset the Google Daydream.[43]

In July 2014 a smart technology footwear ,in which shoe insoles are connected to a smartphone application that uses Google maps, and vibrate to tell users when and where to turn to reach their destination, was introduced in Hyderabad, India.[44][45][46][47]

Government regulation

Currently, the FDA draft guidance for low risk devices advises that personal health wearables are general wellness products if they only collect data on weight management, physical fitness, relaxation or stress management, mental acuity, self-esteem, sleep management, or sexual function.[48]

See also


  1. ^ a b Donovan, Tony O., et al. "A context aware wireless body area network (BAN)." Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare, 2009. PervasiveHealth 2009. 3rd International Conference on. IEEE, 2009.
  2. ^ What is a Wearable Device? WearableDevices.com. Retrieved 10-29-2013
  3. ^ Nugent, C.; Augusto, J. C. (13 June 2006). "Smart Homes and Beyond: ICOST 2006". IOS Press - via Google Books. 
  4. ^ O'Donoghue, John; Herbert, John (1 October 2012). "Data Management Within mHealth Environments: Patient Sensors, Mobile Devices, and Databases". J. Data and Information Quality. 4 (1): 5:1-5:20. doi:10.1145/2378016.2378021 - via ACM Digital Library. 
  5. ^ "Wearable Computing: A First Step Toward Personal Imaging". IEEE Computer. 30 (2). 
  6. ^ "Premiados Ciberart" (PDF). 
  7. ^ Garments of Paradise: Wearable Discourse in the Digital Age by Susan Elizabeth Ryan. 
  8. ^ "Best Inventions of 2006". Time. 13 November 2006. 
  9. ^ "Ripple Headset". Behance. Retrieved 2015. 
  10. ^ "And you thought the Jawbone headset was stylish". LA Times. Retrieved 2015. 
  11. ^ "Tie camera". Spytechs. Retrieved 2015. 
  12. ^ "Our survey says something doesn't add up". Wearable Tech Watch. 16 April 2015. 
  13. ^ "Does the Bluetooth dress signal the future of fashion". LA Times. Retrieved 2015. 
  14. ^ "Tyndall". www.tyndall.ie. Retrieved . 
  15. ^ O'Donoghue, John, John Herbert, and Paul Stack. "Remote non-intrusive patient monitoring." Smart Homes and Beyond (2006): 180-87.
  16. ^ Krupnick, Ellie (2 November 2012). "The Huffington Post: Twitter Dress". 
  17. ^ Restauri, Denise. "The Brains Behind The Hoodie That Texts". Forbes. Retrieved 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Anne Eisenberg Inside These Lenses, a Digital Dimension April 25, 2009 New York Times
  19. ^ Molen, Brad. "These early Google Glass prototypes looked (even more) awkward". Engadget. Retrieved 2015. 
  20. ^ Joel Weickgenant Plenty of Spinning, but More Than Just the D.J. July 15, 2009 New York Times
  21. ^ Clark, Evan (9 February 2014). "Patents in a Wearable Tech World". WWD. Retrieved 2014. 
  22. ^ "Understanding Wearable Technology | Aspencor Tech". Aspencor Tech. Aspencor Tech. Retrieved . 
  23. ^ Harishchandra Dubey; Jon C. Goldberg; Mohammadreza Abtahi; Leslie Mahler; Kunal Mankodiya (2015). EchoWear: smartwatch technology for voice and speech treatments of patients with Parkinson's disease. Proceedings of the conference on Wireless Health (WH '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA. pp. Article 15, 8 pages. doi:10.1145/2811780.2811957. 
  24. ^ Achilleas Papageorgiou; Athanasios Zigomitros; Constantinos Patsakis (2015). Personalising and Crowdsourcing Stress Management in Urban Environments via s-Health. Proceedings of The 6th International Conference on Information, Intelligence, Systems and Applications (IISA), 2015. Ionian University, Corfu, Greece. pp. 1-4 pages. doi:10.1109/IISA.2015.7388027. 
  25. ^ Crawford, Mark. "Wearable technology is booming, powered by photonics". SPIE Newsroom. doi:10.1117/2.2201606.01. 
  26. ^ Zalud, Bill (Jan 2015). "The Age of Wearables Is on Us". SDM: 72-73. 
  27. ^ Eichorn, Kim; Ross, Eva (16 September 2014). "U.S. Consumers Predict Unprecedented Connectivity in 2025, but Security and Privacy Concerns Linger" - via ProQuest. 
  28. ^ a b Duncan Smith The Rise of the Virtual Trainer July 13, 2009 Product Design and Development
  29. ^ Simon Jones In pro sports, wearabletech is already mainstream. December 9, 2013, WearableTechWatch
  30. ^ O'donoghue, John, and John Herbert. "Data management within mHealth environments: Patient sensors, mobile devices, and databases." Journal of Data and Information Quality (JDIQ) 4.1 (2012): 5.
  31. ^ "Tech specs". Google. Retrieved 2013. 
  32. ^ "Google Finally Reveals Glass Specifications, MyGlass App Now Live". Self Screens. Retrieved 2013. 
  33. ^ "Google has admitted that releasing Google Glass early may have been a mistake". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016. 
  34. ^ Jones, Simon. "Analysis: Why Google killed Glass". WearableTechWatch. Retrieved 2015. 
  35. ^ More Than One Million Smart Watches will be Shipped in 2013, ABI Research
  36. ^ "Moto 360: It's Time". The Official Motorola Blog. Retrieved 2014. 
  37. ^ "Sharing what's up our sleeve: Android coming to wearables". Official Google Blog. Retrieved 2014. 
  38. ^ "Wearable tech at CES 2014: Many, many small steps". CNET. Retrieved 2016. 
  39. ^ "Energy-Efficient Integration of Continuous Context Sensing and Prediction into Smartwatches". Sensors Journal. Retrieved 2015. 
  40. ^ Redmond, SJ; Lovell, NH; Yang, GZ; Horsch, A; Lukowicz, P; Murrugarra, L; Marschollek, M. "What Does Big Data Mean for Wearable Sensor Systems?". Yearb Med Inform. 9: 135-42. PMC 4287062 Freely accessible. PMID 25123733. doi:10.15265/IY-2014-0019. 
  41. ^ "Data Mining for Wearable Sensors in Health Monitoring Systems: A Review of Recent Trends and Challenges". NCBI. Retrieved 2016. 
  42. ^ "Wearable Technology, Biometric Information, Data Collection | JD Supra". JD Supra. Retrieved . 
  43. ^ Papagiannakis, George. "A survey of mobile and wireless technologies for augmented reality systems" (PDF). 
  44. ^ McGregor, Jay (25 July 2014). "India's Take On Google Glass, A Vibrating Smartshoe". Forbes. Retrieved 2014. 
  45. ^ Thoppil, Dhanya Ann Thoppil (24 July 2014). "India's Answer to Google Glass: The Smartshoe". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014. 
  46. ^ Anthony, Sebastian (24 July 2014). "The smartshoe: A much more sensible approach to wearable computing than Glass or a smartwatch". Extreme Tech. Retrieved 2014. 
  47. ^ "A smart shoe from Indian firm". Deccan Chronicle. 27 July 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  48. ^ "General Wellness: Policy for Low Risk Devices - Draft Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff" (PDF). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA. January 2015. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Top US Cities