Beyond providing glanceable user interfaces, wearable technology can deliver access to new services and experiences while helping wearers stay in the moment. Secure user authentications, mobile payment, lifelogging, and navigational aids are just some of the potential capabilities of wearable devices. With time, wearable technology has the potential to disrupt nearly every industry and aspect of life. As the utility for wearable devices grows, so do the form factors, moving beyond wrist and head-mounted devices to clothing and accessories:
Wearable Cameras for Capturing the Moment:
GoPro became a household name not by selling wearable cameras but by making wearable cameras for people to photograph themselves. Constantly on, connected devices can help the wearer capture every experience. Narrative (formerly known as Memoto) is a wearable camera that takes pictures at 30-second intervals, creating a kind of personal photographic memory. MeCam and ParaShoot do the same thing with video, recording a user’s everyday life from a first-person view. Kapture is a wearable wrist device that automatically captures sounds around a user, perpetually (and passively) recording the last 60 seconds of audio. Users can sync the audio to their smartphones by clicking on the device, allowing them to record and store any meaningful conversations.
Wristbands for Security, Payment, and Social Activation:
Wristbands have long been a mainstay at festivals and theme parks for tracking attendance. When embedded with technology, these wristbands can streamline payment, increase security, and facilitate social sharing. Wristbands at the Outside Lands music festival were connected to attendees’ Facebook accounts; attendees could tap their wristbands on specially designated towers to check in, take pictures, or send a Facebook message to a fellow attendee, making it easy for everyone to find friends and family at the event. At Disney World, similar wristbands called MagicBands serve as a park visitor’s hotel room key, credit card, parking ticket, and FastPass. And the recently introduced Nymi bracelet ups the ante on user authentication by using electrocardiography to verify the identity of the wearer. The device has the potential to act as a password and payment solution, and could also be used to open doors and sync devices to a user’s personal settings.
Athletic Clothing Provides Real-Time Haptic Feedback:
With clothing embedded with sensors, wearable technology becomes less obtrusive and develops into a seamless part of the wearer’s activities instead of an add-on. Sensor-equipped athletic gear like Radiate Athletics can identify what muscles are being utilized when working out. Other products like the Sensoria Socks, Vibrado Sleeve, or Move by Electricfoxy can teach proper technique by alerting wearers through haptic feedback the moment they need to correct their form.
Wearable Tech in the Workplace:
Workers have long clocked in and out of jobs to report on hours worked. But wearable technology is poised to do more than account for workers’ time and has a variety of implications for improving the working world. The Eyes-On Glasses give nurses “x-ray” vision so they can easily find a vein when inserting an IV. The SmartCap is a baseball cap lined with sensors that can measure the wearer’s fatigue levels to enhance safety. The IntelligentM bracelet monitors the hand-washing activities of healthcare workers to make sure that they’re washing their hands properly and frequently enough.