Wearable Tech: What’s New and What You Need to Know

Wearable Tech
Credit: Oliur Rahman (Pexels)

Wearable tech is widening horizons ever since the introduction and acceptance of the widely known calculator watch in the 1970s. These watches could be considered the very first kind of wearable gadget.

Within a span of (less than) five decades, smart watches can now display your smartphone’s notifications, help you navigate the road, send texts and emails on the go, use voice search, help you stay healthy, help you stay informed and what not. Let’s see what else have the wearables achieved.

Latest Advancements in Wearable Tech

1. Smart Tattoos (Ultra-thin Wearables): A little while ago, they may have sounded unreal, but these ultra-thin wearables that can stick to the skin like tattoos and monitor body vitals, are quickly developing towards practicality with ongoing research work.

Credit: Cockrell School of Engineering, University of Texas, Austin

Earlier, they were expensive to produce but owing to the extensive research at the University of Texas (Austin), they may become affordable because of the “cut and paste” method devised by the researchers. The procedure consists of cutting metal pieces on polymer adhesives and then printing electronics on these adhesives. Though not widespread as of yet, these wearables can revolutionize the medical applications of wearable devices.

2. Nanotech Wearables: In 2013, X (previously, Google X) announced that it is working on developing nanoparticles that can seek cancerous cells in the bloodstream and report the same to the user wearing the smart wristband via light signals. This technology will be a breakthrough to cure the terminal disease cancer, as well as other maladies.

3. Smart Materials:

  • The hype about graphene wearables is well-deserved. Graphene can be used to manufacture coated fabrics that can detect the presence of dangerous gases in the air and consequently alert the wearer of the fabric by an LED signal. This can be of significant use to people who work in surroundings which are prone to air contamination.
  • Project Jacquard: When Google partners with denim giant Levi’s, you can keep your expectations high. Project Jacquard is a partnership between these two to create a denim jacket that will allow users to navigate directions, control music and more just by swiping over the sleeve, through a smart tag.

4. The Token Ring: Smart rings are not a new thing. They have been in the market for a long time now, but, the Token ring (by a company called Token), has recently gained limelight. It is a ring that comes with a fingerprint sensor, designed to unlock your house, your car and even your computer. It even works as a payment device. Its battery lasts for up to six weeks and also supports inductive charging.

The company is presently working in partnership with various companies like Microsoft and Mastercard in order to increase its functionality.

5. Sleep Better; Dreem: Announced by a startup called Rhythm, Dreem is a unique wearable tech gadget designed by the Swiss designer and entrepreneur Yves Béhar.

Credit: DREEM Blog

The built is sleek and beautiful. Dreem, as per the claims, will help you sleep better. The device helps you fall asleep quicker by using *white noise through *bone conduction. It analyses and monitors brain functioning during deep sleep. Later, it synchronizes the same with ‘sound stimulations’, which, as per the company, will help improve deep sleep by almost 32 percent.

*Quick Fact:

White noise refers to a noise that consists of numerous frequencies that have equal intensity.

Bone Conduction refers to the conduction of sound to the inner ear via the bones of the skull.

6. Self-Charging Gadgets & Hybrid Watches:
A company called Sequent supposedly combined both these factors and created an eponymous hybrid smart watch (that looks like an analogous watch) and harnesses the user’s kinetic energy to charge itself.

Considering the fact that not everyone leads a ‘kinetic’ lifestyle, the company is indeed taking a huge risk. However, if this attempt works well, the watch can be a huge success.

7. Thync’s Relax: Thync is a company dedicated to improving the mental and emotional health of people. Relax is a stress-busting device which improves the user’s mental state as well as the general mood.

Credit: Thync

The device looks like a pair of sleek headphones with small gel pads attached, that stick to the base of the neck. These pads send electrical pulses to the neck and producing a calming effect.

8. ‘Pilot’ Translator: Pilot, is a real-time translator developed by the Waverly Labs that allows two people who talk in different languages, to make conversation. It is a hearable that consists of two ear-pieces; each person wears one in order to talk to the other. It will be able to translate four languages: English, Italian, Spanish and French.

9. Tile: Tile is a simple yet useful gadget that might have escaped your notice; but worry not, we are here to tell you about it! Tile is a small Bluetooth device that you can attach to the objects which are important to you.

Credit: Tile

To locate these objects, all you have to do is ‘ring’ tile. You use its app from your smartphone to do so, and, voilà! You find your valuable objects, or documents, or child perhaps. Just kidding!

10. Apple Watch Series 2: It is the talk of the town ever since its launch. It looks pretty much the same as the first Apple Watch, however, it’s still beautiful and hence, worthy of drooling over.

Credit: Wikipedia

This one has a dual core processor, better battery performance and water resistance for a depth of up to 50m. The fitness tracking performs rather well and the built-in GPS makes it even more lust-worthy.

The advancements clearly signify that personal technology is slowly moving towards becoming more and more wearable-friendly. One of the challenges in its path towards feasibility is the absence of a reliable interconnection. Current wireless network bandwidths are unable to accommodate such high traffic of devices but with the further growth of IoT and technologies like 5G cellular moving towards daylight, we will be able to interact with our virtual ecosystem in a seamlessly integrated way. Some quote this as the onset of cyborgism but we do believe that it is a glimpse of a beautiful future.