Wearables are evolving. What started as the latest fad in the tech market is now evolving into a serious product category and has the potential to revolutionize the way we engage with technology. Wearables are transitioning from gimmicky to go-to gadgets. As these devices become standalone offerings, they are shed their dependency on a nearby phone and further advancing the notion that mobile may be headed for a screenless future.
Two major breakthroughs are making this happen: sweat sensors and smart fabrics.
Researchers at a couple of California universities have come up with a unique take on the standard fitness band technology. They developed a sweat sensor that can either be worn on the wrist or embedded into an actual sweatband. Because human sweat can tell us so much about ourselves and our health, this is an inventive use of a traditional wearable. Researchers believe it could be an easier way to detect health abnormalities and might even be a non-invasive way to get the same information from blood without the use of a needle. These sweat detectors may have a multitude of uses yet to be determined.
Another area of growth in the wearables market is smart clothing. The fashion industry is hoping smart apparel will become the anti-wearable of the future. So much so, that clothing designer Ralph Lauren recently unveiled a technology-enabled tennis shirt. The shirt is able to detect heart rate and even stress of the wearer.
According to Amanda Parkes of hybrid fashion-tech company Manufacture New York:
Clothing should be our partner in getting through life. It’s up to us to define how we tap into the many modalities of the body through clothing as the interface to help us navigate the world, communicate, entertain or generally bring us greater understanding of ourselves. Wearable technology does not have to involve traditional circuits and batteries.
We’ve only started to discover the wide range of applications for wearables. As wearables continue to grow in popularity and function so will their acceptance as a viable part of the tech community.
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