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As technology has advanced, more data is able to be stored in smaller chips that can be worn by users as watches, bracelets or even sewn directly onto clothing. The primary uses for these devices include tracking fitness goals, health and sensory augmentation, and injury prevention. Though there are still some concerns that the data generated by this wearable technology could end up in the wrong hands, many companies are moving forward with products to track, enhance and interpret the data our bodies generate as we go about our day, ushering in a new era in “wearables.”
Most wearable tech, such as Sony’s forthcoming SmartWatch 2 and the Kickstarter-fueled Pebble, acts as an information companion to a smartphone. However Italy’s Exetech is developing a smart watch that can take calls from your wrist, in addition to a touch screen, GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity, possibly replacing smartphones entirely. Google Glass displays intelligent data to augment and back up what the user sees. There are even initiatives in the medical field for glasses that can provide assistance during surgery and other major medical procedures.
The largest current commercial base for wearable tech is probably the fitness industry. Large companies such as Nike, Jawbone and FitBit can track caloric intake and expenditures, sleep patterns, hydration and heart rate to improve the overall health of its users.
A major change in the fitness industry was seen with Under Armour’s recent purchase of the online fitness community MapMyFitness, establishing its brand as a tech company as well as a fitness apparel giant. “This partnership is about Under Armour enhancing our digital expertise to drive the future of performance innovation for the global athlete community,” said Kevin Plank, Founder and CEO of Under Armour. “We will build on the community of over 20 million registered users that MapMyFitness has cultivated in the connected fitness space, and together we will serve as a destination for the measurement and analytics needs of all athletes. Innovation has always been at the core of our company, and now we are better positioned to design open, digital products for the athlete of tomorrow and become more proactive in providing solutions that will help people across the world lead healthier lifestyles.”
A company called Second Sight is taking the Google Glass further with its new product called the Argus II. Argus II is like Google Glass for your retina. The device’s visual processing unit sends images it detects to an electrode array implanted in the retina. Argus II enhances the outline of objects so the user can identify them better.
Reebok also took initiatives in preventative wearable tech that can detect an athlete’s risk of sports related concussion through its new product Checklight, a high-tech skullcap. It was created by integrating an MC10 flexible chip that includes a tri-axial accelerometer to measure linear acceleration, a gyroscope to measure rotational acceleration, and a microprocessor that analyzes the data.
Advancement in microchip integration with wearable devices combined with cloud storage will only make commercial accessories smarter. This continued evolution in tech also aids injury prevention from a medical standpoint as well as an overall accountability for users to take better care of their health, both great reasons for companies to continue to make advance and for consumers to take notice.
Stay up to date with the latest development in wearable technology in 2014. Follow us on Twitter @ARTEMIA_Comm to receive up to date news and product launches to stay on top of the technology curve.
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