Impact of History in Wearable Technology

Editorials News | Jun-01-2024

Impact of History in Wearable Technology

Wearable technology has created a new form of access to the environment or even a new form of perception of reality alongside comfort, connection, and health. To explain, wearable technology has evolved from the early mechanical steps counters such as pedometers to today’s complex smart watches and other fitness gadgets. 

The Early Days

The Aesthetics and Utility
Wearable technology is defined as a class of devices that can be worn in daily life, and its development began in the 16th century with the invention of the first wearable timepieces. Many of the first devices could be clipped to the clothing or worn as a pendant; a utilitarian and fashionable accessory became one, which is still true in Wearable Computing tech today. The evolution of the wristwatch, particularly at the turn of the 20th century, offered a more convenient way for people to tell time as they went about their activities.

Military Influence and Miniaturization
First, one can mention the impact of the First World War on the development of wristwatches: soldiers required an easy-to-read instrument in order to coordinate their actions. Hence, this necessity became a primary motivation towards the development in the areas of both durability and accuracy, hence creating a basis for future innovations. During World War II, the size of components of gadgets was reduced, which contributed to wearable technology because inventions such as radionic and communicating instruments needed to be portable.

The Digital Revolution

From Calculators to Computers
The use of the digital technology started from the 1970 and 1980s with the appearance of the wearable calculators and digital clocks. However imperfect these was to today’s standards, what one could see was that digital technology was indeed wearable. The Data-2000, launched in 1983 by Seiko, which has memo and appointment registering ability, was the first glimpse of tomorrow’s multipurpose wearables.

Health and Fitness Wearables on the Rise
The periods of the late twentieth and the twenty-first centuries are characterized by the increased focus on health and physical fitness accompanied by improvements in sensor systems. While heart rate monitors became available only at the beginning of the 1980s and pedometers — in the 1990s, they paved the way for today’s fitness trackers. It started in 2009 with the launch of its first device with a true activity and health tracker that fits no the palm of users’ hands.

Hence, technology convergence can be defined as the coming together of different kinds of technologies in one single package.
Apple mobile-wearable devices such as the Watch launched in 2015 could be considered a major milestone. The Apple Watch blended the features of a fitness tracker, smartphone, and an ordinary wristwatch, thus defining a new generation of wearable technology. This enticed more innovation, and more smartwatches from different manufacturers followed, primarily the one that sparked the development in the first place, the Apple Watch. It is now integrated with location tracking, payment-less NFC, as well as more enhanced health tracking, including ECG and blood oxygen level.

Augmented Reality and Beyond
Of all the wearable technologies, augmented reality technology and the Internet of Things will form the next generation of wearable devices. Those initial prototypes were not as successful, but Augmented Reality wearables are clearly possible, as exemplified by Google Glass. Modern corporations such as Microsoft and Facebook are creating highly advanced AR glasses that can be easily planted within the context of the users’ existence. Also, more connected appliances due to IoT will improve wearables since it shall offer a seamless experience fitting into wearables, thus improving the user experience.

In conclusion, This type of devices is a perfect embodiment of people’s creativity and attempts to create something new. Starting from vintage mechanical watches to today’s smartwatches and even augmented reality glasses, all have evolved on the basis of the successes and failures of the preceding technologies. Technology is bound to advance in the future, and as such, wearable devices are going to play an even bigger role in our daily lives, besides enhancing interactions between humans and the environment or enhancing human health.

By : Parth Yadav
Anand School of Excellence

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