Wearable technologies are computing devices worn on the human body. "Wearables", as they are sometimes referred to, leverage the following three key engineering ingredients.
Convert physical signals to electrical/electronic signals.
Perform computation on the signals received from the sensors.
Make sense of the data.
Previous approaches toward enabling Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
imagined the human and computer as separate entities. However, wearable
technology has transformed the computer as a second brain and its sensory
modalities as additional senses, in which synthetic sensors merge with
the wearer's senses.
Above: Computer Scientist Steve Mann's 1984 head-mounted computer and Google Glass. (Source)
The year 2014 is being hailed as the year of wearable technology, when wearable devices will finally come out of the confines of research labs and start-up incubators. A quick look at the google news trends and US patent applications reveals a sharp uptick in activity over the recent years in this domain.
Wearables in the News
January 2004 - May 2014
The chart above expresses the prevalence of wearables in the news over time. Values are relative to the height of discussion in the media, which occurred on January 5, 2014. Media flurry might be explained by the simultaneous occurrence of the
Consumer Electronic Show, in which technology companies had the opportunity to debut their latest innovations.
Wearable Patents Filed in the US
Market data from Hanover Research, shows the increase in US patents for wearables from 2003 - 2013. According to Hanover, patent activity offers a significant forecast of potential developments in the consumer marketplace.
Why use wearables?
Wearables can assist, enhance, and comfort you.
These three positive benefits can be roughly represented by the three following
categories of usage.
Improve athletic skills
Detect deficiencies in athletes
Update training programs for desired outcomes
Secure applications with biometric signatures
Minimize interruptions with intelligent notification tools