Do you remember those toy rings we all had as children that supposedly changed colours according to our moods? Red for angry, blue for calm, and yellow for happy! They seldom worked, but our little minds wholeheartedly believed in them – “If it’s yellow, I must be happy!” As we grew up we had applications on our iPods that would create a playlist for us just based on our mood. All of these were fun, but they hardly ever got it right. However, with the rise of wearable technology imbedded with the Internet of Things (IoT), we might actually be e venturing into a world that knows us better than ourselves. Imagine a world that perceives your mood and optimally adjusts itself to your personal liking. A world that knows you’re getting sick even before you do, sounds like magic doesn’t it?
Yes, our tech-y wizards are working up a new kind of magic around us everyday that until a few years ago seemed only possible in science fiction movies. With IoT, it seems like anything can be connected to transfer data to a smart phone or cloud, from watches, and shoes to underwear! There are those who have gladly accepted this change into their lives and incorporated it into their day-to-day routines. Yet, there are those who think nothing more of wearable technology than a new fad and an add-on to their smartphones.
The argument is that although wearable technology may be an added convenience (or luxury), it is not at all a necessity like laptops and smartphones have become. A person who wears prescription glasses literally cannot leave the house without wearing them. However, if you forget your Google Glass behind you’ll get through the day just fine. Of course, this was the same argument that had risen when smartphones newly came in to the picture. We were quite comfortable carrying our pocket calculators, MP3 players, cameras, and using a pay phone to make calls. Yet today, we cannot imagine spending day without our smartphone that has the convenience to give us all of the above in one device. Not having to lug around that many devices became a relief, a luxury that soon turned into a necessity. Now if we forget our smart phone we are handicapped throughout our day.
Similarly, wearable technology has revolutionized many industries. Take the health industry as an example:- With health and location monitors and activity trackers that are capable of collecting data and alerting the care taker in case of an emergency before the patient might realize it themselves. Not only has it made a great change in the medical industry but in the fitness field overall. Individuals are striving to lead healthier lifestyles with the FitBit, Nike Fuelband and Jawbone. The beginning of this fad was in fact with wirelessly enabled sport shoes before it morphed into health monitors and activity trackers.
Although it may be a long time before individual consumers warm up to the idea of wearables, it is impossible to deny that we are progressing towards a real technological revolution, a gigantic wave of new possibility that will change the face of technology. We are progressing into an era where products we use day-to-day will be replaced with smarter and interconnected versions of themselves. All our everyday technology will soon be capable of exchanging information over a network.
There’s also another side to the consumer of wearable technology – those who are reluctant in sporting chunky technology that looks out of the ordinary. So must innovators of wearable technology worry as much about the aesthetics and design now as they do about the functionality?