New Wearable Tech? What are Wearables?

Umm... Wearable Tech
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This is a guest post by Zoe Cohen.

Wearables, or wearable technology, is exactly what it sounds like. But while some people might think they’re gimmicky or only for fitness, they’re actually well worth knowing about. So set aside your skepticism for a moment, and we’ll answer the question “what are wearables?” in depth so you can be up to date on the latest tech!

In this day and age of ever-increasing technology use, it’s only natural that technology would make the leap from something we bear to something we wear. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Fitbit and the Apple watch, but you might not have heard of wearable tech jewelry and clothing. This article will get into all of that and some even crazier wearables you might not have heard of or even imagined.

New Wearable Tech

Just to clarify, when we say wearables, we’re not referring to headphones or Bluetooth devices that redirect calls. Though these are technically wearable technology, we are referring more to tech that picks up information about the wearer and transmits it outwards, usually to the wearer’s cell phone or the cloud. This isn’t a steadfast definition, and you’ll definitely see exceptions, but it’s the best we have to clarify between Bluetooth tech and wearable tech.

When answering the question of “what are wearables?” the first piece of tech that comes to mind are the ubiquitous fitness trackers. These accessories track your steps, activity level, heartrate, sleeping patterns, and more through the use of biosensors. Some just record results, but more and more are analyzing the collected data to illuminate your trends and recommend future courses of action. The most well-known trackers rest lightly around your wrist, but there is an increasing market for wearable jewelry, especially rings.

More and more wearables these days execute all of the above functions but then also connect with your cell phone to deliver notifications to you. The most famous example of this is the Apple watch. With these, you don’t have to fish around for your phone in order to see important information and notifications – they show up right on the tiny screen on your wrist. Text messages, e-mails, Twitter notifications, and a whole slew of customizable information will be displayed on your smartwatch, allowing you to keep your phone tucked conveniently away without missing out on information. Simpler wearables might just subtly vibrate to alert you to notifications without actually displaying them, allowing for even more discretion when you’re in a meeting or at lunch with a friend.

Future of Wearables

All of the above examples are fairly mainstream and widely accepted at this point. But you may not have heard of wearable tech clothing. The latest newsworthy example is a hat that measures the movement of truckers’ heads to determine whether they’re falling asleep on the road. Other companies are producing sports bras, yoga pants, and even denim jackets that measure all kinds of biological functions and/or allow you control over your devices. This is meant to be the latest trend, but so far the industry has been flagging a bit. We’ll see what the future holds.

An even deeper dive, however, takes us into the realm of implantables, which, again, are exactly what they sound like. Some are already well-known and have been around for years, such as cochlear implants for the hearing impaired or pacemakers for those with weak hearts. But even people without medical situations are getting implanted with microchips that allow them to pay for purchases without needing a wallet, log into accounts without passwords, and even open doors (in the case of one company that is offering to implant these chips in their employees).



To keep it short and sweet, we didn’t go into all of the implications that wearables bring with them, but hopefully you now have an answer to the question “what are wearables?” plus some ideas of what they are and what they may mean for the future. Looking for good wearable tech and don’t want to waste time, then check out: popular wearables for men & women.