February 1, 2023
Smartwatches, fitness/health trackers, and VR headsets have all become more common over the past few years. It is predicted that wearable technology will continue to rise in popularity, and companies are working on new and innovative ways to apply these technologies to our everyday lives. Here are 4 specific directions that wearables are headed in the near future.
Lower Profile Products
As this type of technology increases in popularity, the future of everyday wearables could very well be in products that are more discreet in appearance. Instead of looking like an obvious fitness band or a clip-on tracker, the new generation of wearables could largely end up looking more like jewelry or clothing, blending seamlessly into a user’s existing wardrobe. It is also possible that wearables may be hidden from view altogether in the form of a patch, similar to the nicotine patches that help smokers quit their habit.
Some tech companies have already started to make the shift to products that have a lower visibility, such as smartwatches that have a traditional watch face instead of a screen. Also new on the market are pieces that look like rings, necklaces, and bracelets that track specific health metrics or alert family or friends of your location in case of a medical emergency.
Longer Battery Life
Many current wearables have a rather short battery life, especially those that require a lot of processing power and need to be connected to the internet in order to function properly. This has led some developers to start looking toward alternative battery sources. One of the more interesting developments on this front is energy harvesting, where body heat, solar power, and even movement, can be harnessed as a way to power wearable technology.
If energy harvesting were to become commonplace for wearables it would be a game changer. There would be no need to worry about the battery dying at inconvenient moments or having to deal with the hassle of needing to constantly recharge. With the battery life problem solved, wearables could become even more popular.
Many of the wearables that are already popular, like Fitbit and Apple Watch, are intended to help users keep tabs on their health and fitness. But the next generation of health-focused wearables have been tasked with monitoring and solving medical issues. For example, there is an artificial pancreas in development for diabetics to monitor blood sugar levels and automatically administer insulin.
Looking even further into the future of medical wearables, researchers are working on subdermal devices. This technology will be able to track many types of medical activity that are currently unavailable to the average user, like blood analysis, the effects of drugs, and other vital signs. These types of wearables are most likely not going to be available in the near future, but they have the potential to change the lives of many people currently dealing with chronic health issues.
Using Wearables as Authentication
If you have been to a Disney theme park recently, you have already used a wearable to access your hotel room, rides, and other features around the park via their MagicBand. The future of seamless authentication will intersect with wearables and allow users to open the front door to their homes, get into concerts, and even bypass the checkout process while out shopping.
There are even smart tattoos that are currently under development that could allow users to do all of the above. These smart tattoos are essentially high-tech temporary tattoos that carry and transfer information to smartphones and scanners. If these types of wearables become the standard in authenticating experiences, they could completely change the way we interact with the world, by speeding up everyday processes like hospital visits and security clearances. For a lot of things, waiting in line could become a thing of the past.
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