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Wearable technology

wearable technology, wearable technology in healthcare
Wearable technology, wearables, fashionable technology, wearable devices, tech togs, or fashion electronics are smart electronic devices electronic device with microcontrollers that can be worn on the body as implant or accessories The designs often incorporate practical functions and features1

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 through internet with a manufacturer, operator and/or other connected devices, without requiring human intervention


  • 1 History
  • 2 Prototypes
  • 3 Wearable events
  • 4 Usage
  • 5 Modern technologies
  • 6 Government regulation
  • 7 See also
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links


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 computing2 One early piece of widely adopted wearable technology was the calculator watch, 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 festival3 The HugShirt, designed for tele-transmitting touch over distance, differs from previous early wearable technology examples eg watches or the helmet designs of Wearable Computing in the 1990s because product is the first wearable technology that took the form of a garment of clothing,4 as such it is also marks the first BlueTooth connected and internet connected clothing This product was included by Time Magazine in the "Best Inventions of the Year" special issue5

In 2008, Ilya Fridman incorporated a hidden Bluetooth microphone into a pair of earrings67 Around the same time, the Spy Tie appeared, a "stylish neck tie with a hidden color camera"8

Twitter users could create a "Pocket Tweet" by cutting a hole in their shirt or jacket pocket and then using a mobile phone screen to display a Twitter text bubble, in one example of do-it-yourself wearable tech that was part of an art exhibit for the Wearable Technology AIR project in spring 20099 Also in 2009, now-defunct ZED-phones stitched headphones into beanies and headbands

According to a 2014 study by Forbes, 71% of 16- to 24-year-olds want wearable tech10 However, a study carried out in the UK in early 2015 among 1000 people reported that almost half 56% said that wearable tech was "just a fad"11


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,12 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 Institute13 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 technology14

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 Scherzinger15 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 movements16 Around the same time, prototypes for digital eyewear with heads up display HUD began to appear17 The US military employs headgear with displays for soldiers using a technology called holographic optics17

In 2010, Google started developing prototypes18 of its optical head-mounted display Google Glass, which went into customer beta in March 2013

American company Adafruit Industries manufactures its own wearable electronics development platform, FLORA19 They produce a weekly web show dedicated to DIY wearable electronics, hosted by Becky Stern20

Wearable eventsedit

Amsterdam's 5 Days Off festival included a free show called "Wearable Technology:Powered Art and Fashion"21 In 2014, the Fashion Law Institute held a panel discussion, which focused on patents, about wearable technology22

In 2015, a number of other events related to wearable technology are also planned, such as the Enterprise Wearable Technology Showin Houston, the 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;23

  • 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 diseases24
  • As a sport tracker
  • To synchronize data and communication from other gadgets
  • For specific health issue monitoring, for example stress management25
  • 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 applications26

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 Report27 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 physicians28 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 athletes2930 The decreasing cost of processing power and other components is encouraging widespread adoption and availability29 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 correctly31 and is of a high quality32 This will help to ensure that the patient/user builds up confidence and trust in the technology

Modern technologiesedit

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 720p33 Its various functions were activated via voice command, such as "OK Glass" The company also launched the Google Glass companion app, MyGlass34 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 tag3536

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 12 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 40, and a flourishing app ecosystem37

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 wearables3839 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 "The Wearables, Appliances, Cars and Bendable TVs Show" by industry commentators40 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 challenge41

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 AAL42 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 networks43

Wearable technology can also collect biometric data such as heart rateECG and HRV, brainwaveEEG, and muscle bio-signalsEMGfrom human body to provide valuable information in the field of health care and wellness44

Government regulationedit

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 function45

See alsoedit

  • E-textiles
  • Wearable computer
    • Smart glasses
  • GPS watch
  • Mixed reality
  • Computer-mediated reality
  • Clothing technology
  • Healthcare
  • Augmented reality
  • Smart, connected products


  1. ^ What is a Wearable Device WearableDevicescom Retrieved 10-29-2013
  2. ^ "Wearable Computing:A First Step Toward Personal Imaging" IEEE Computer 30
  3. ^ "Premiados Ciberart" PDF 
  4. ^ Garments of Paradise:Wearable Discourse in the Digital Age by Susan Elizabeth Ryan 
  5. ^ "Best Inventions of 2006" Time 13 November 2006 
  6. ^ "Ripple Headset" Behance Retrieved 13 August 2015 
  7. ^ "And you thought the Jawbone headset was stylish" LA Times Retrieved 13 August 2015 
  8. ^ "Tie camera" Spytechs Retrieved 13 August 2015 
  9. ^ Chris Davies Pocket Tweet app turns your shirt into a Twitter bubble July 1, 2009 SlashGear
  10. ^ By Victor Lipman Forbes"71% Of 16-To-24-Year-Olds Want 'Wearable Tech' Why Don't I Even Want To Wear A Watch" September 22, 2014 Retrieved September 22, 2014
  11. ^ Simon Jones Our survey says something doesn't add up April 16, 2015 WearableTechWatch
  12. ^ "Does the Bluetooth dress signal the future of fashion" LA Times Retrieved 13 August 2015 
  13. ^ "Tyndall" wwwtyndallie Retrieved 2016-06-05 
  14. ^ O'Donoghue, John, John Herbert, and Paul Stack "Remote non-intrusive patient monitoring" Smart Homes and Beyond 2006:180–87
  15. ^ Krupnick, Ellie 2 November 2012 "The Huffington Post:Twitter Dress" 
  16. ^ Restauri, Denise "The Brains Behind The Hoodie That Texts" Forbes Retrieved 14 August 2014 
  17. ^ a b Anne Eisenberg Inside These Lenses, a Digital Dimension April 25, 2009 New York Times
  18. ^ Molen, Brad "These early Google Glass prototypes looked even more awkward" Engadget Retrieved 11 August 2015 
  19. ^ "FLORA :Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits" wwwadafruitcom Retrieved 2016-01-16 
  20. ^ "Becky Stern :Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits" wwwadafruitcom Retrieved 2016-01-16 
  21. ^ Joel Weickgenant Plenty of Spinning, but More Than Just the DJ July 15, 2009 New York Times
  22. ^ Clark, Evan 9 February 2014 "Patents in a Wearable Tech World" WWD Retrieved 11 February 2014 
  23. ^ "Understanding Wearable Technology | Aspencor Tech" Aspencor Tech Aspencor Tech Retrieved 2015-11-07 
  24. ^ Harishchandra Dubey, Jon C Goldberg, Mohammadreza Abtahi, Leslie Mahler, and 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:101145/28117802811957  CS1 maint:Uses authors parameter link
  25. ^ 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:101109/IISA20157388027  CS1 maint:Uses authors parameter link
  26. ^ Crawford, Mark "Wearable technology is booming, powered by photonics" SPIE Newsroom doi:101117/2220160601 
  27. ^ Zalud, Bill Jan 2015 "The Age of Wearables Is on Us" SDM:72–73 
  28. ^ Eichorn, Kim; Ross, Eva 16 September 2014 "US Consumers Predict Unprecedented Connectivity in 2025, but Security and Privacy Concerns Linger" – via ProQuest 
  29. ^ a b Duncan Smith The Rise of the Virtual Trainer July 13, 2009 Product Design and Development
  30. ^ Simon Jones In pro sports, wearabletech is already mainstream December 9, 2013, WearableTechWatch
  31. ^ 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
  32. ^ O'donoghue, John, and John Herbert "Data management within mHealth environments:Patient sensors, mobile devices, and databases" Journal of Data and Information Quality JDIQ 41 2012:5
  33. ^ "Tech specs" Google Retrieved 20 April 2013 
  34. ^ "Google Finally Reveals Glass Specifications, MyGlass App Now Live" Self Screens Retrieved 11 August 2013 
  35. ^ "Google has admitted that releasing Google Glass early may have been a mistake" Business Insider Retrieved 17 March 2016 
  36. ^ Jones, Simon "Analysis:Why Google killed Glass" WearableTechWatch Retrieved 11 August 2015 
  37. ^ More Than One Million Smart Watches will be Shipped in 2013, ABI Research
  38. ^ "Moto 360:It's Time" The Official Motorola Blog Retrieved 18 March 2014 
  39. ^ "Sharing what's up our sleeve:Android coming to wearables" Official Google Blog Retrieved 18 March 2014 
  40. ^ "Wearable tech at CES 2014:Many, many small steps" CNET Retrieved 17 March 2016 
  41. ^ "Energy-Efficient Integration of Continuous Context Sensing and Prediction into Smartwatches" Sensors Journal Retrieved 5 October 2015 
  42. ^ 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 doi:1015265/IY-2014-0019 PMC 4287062 PMID 25123733 
  43. ^ "Data Mining for Wearable Sensors in Health Monitoring Systems:A Review of Recent Trends and Challenges" NCBI Retrieved 17 March 2016 
  44. ^ "Wearable Technology, Biometric Information, Data Collection | JD Supra" JD Supra Retrieved 2016-12-13 
  45. ^ "General Wellness:Policy for Low Risk Devices - Draft Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff" PDF US Food and Drug Administration FDA January 2015 

External linksedit

  • Wear your heart on your sleeve article from physicsorg
  • The Future of Wearable Technology Video produced by Off Book web series

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