How wearable technology can keep you healthy
November 11, 2015
Forget about workout phenomenon ‘Insanity’, or ‘hot yoga’, and put your newest running shoes back in their box – the latest fitness trend is most definitely the fitness wearable.
In its most rudimental state, we’ve seen health-related wearables for years, including pedometers, hearing aids and also the contacts stuck to the bodies of astronauts for example, allowing mission control to monitor vital signs.
But the tech landscape has changed and consumers now expect more sophisticated features and outputs from anything that is designed to help them with health. And the healthcare sector is regarded as one of the most promising areas for wearable adoption. Two of the biggest names in first gen wearables were FitBit and Jawbone – both targeting tech-savvy consumers, providing activity tracking. But this type of wearable is rapidly being upgraded to one that not only tracks heartrate and burned calories, but blood oxygen levels, blood pressure, body temperature etc – all possible with the invention of thin, conformable sensors.
These wearables haven’t just caught the imagination of private consumers though, as major healthcare providers see the potential of these gadgets. And it’s not just about wearables in the hospital; once integrated with the IoT, wearables can also be used by patients at home – allowing unobtrusive monitoring, but ensuring the results are evaluated by professionals as though the patient was in hospital.
Health-related wearables have also become popular amongst employers. ‘Corporate wellness’ is due to be given a boost with the launch of a new device from FitBit, which will encourage employees to lead healthier lives – and of course, healthier employees means fewer sick days and a healthier bottom line to employers.
The future of wearables is rapidly catching up with us – soon you’ll be able to use a brain computer interface to control devices connected to the IoT – working from home just became a whole lot easier. And wearables are already morphing into ‘implantables’ – a step too far?