Wearable technology, the next frontier

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Wearable technology seems to be the phrase on everyone’s lips (or wrists) and with good reason, as they are changing every day activities in drastic ways.

In short, wearable technology is any device that can be worn by a consumer that tracks data, most commonly related to health and fitness that is then synced with your smartphone.

Fitness consumers have already jumped on these wearables to track their progress, however, apps are now stepping in to serve a new market. While the FitBit and Jawbone assist those already exercising, for those looking to get fitter and healthier it lacks the means to translate the data and achieve goals.

In comes with a new range of smartphone apps that provide tailored workouts with instructional videos and GIFs, give feedback, assist with meal planning and other targets to help the wearer achieve their 12-week goal. Each week a new program is given to users and are only unlocked on the specific week when they should be doing it.

This may see a shake-up of personal trainers everywhere, see employers revolutionise an internal work health and safety regime or even have significant implications for medical trials.

But it’s not just the fitness sector that is being targeted. With the ongoing discussion on Google Glass, one company has finally found a business use that is yielding some impressive results.

A Netherlands based company called Active Ants, which ships products for 50 online stores, gave Google Glass to its stock picking staff (the staff that retrieve the stock from the warehouse shelves, check it off the inventory and ready it for shipping).

Staff used Google Glass over the course of the week in conjunction with a custom-built stock application and found that the error rate for orders was reduced by 12 per cent as well as increased the speed at stock picking by 15 per cent.

Imagine the efficiency and savings that could be achieved if this was implemented by a larger operation, such as Amazon or CatchoftheDay.

Not only are both these innovations quite exciting, but the finalists in the Intel – Make it wearable competition have shown the possibilities are really endless.

The winning entry this year was a wearable quadcopter drone, called the Nixie. No, that is not a typo and yes, it is awesome. The drone can be worn around the wrist and released when needed. It has a ‘selfie’ mode, as well as a 360-degree panorama and follow mode.

While it is still only a prototype, it could take the fight to GoPro, which has been dominating the market for years. Additionally, where drones with cameras can be quite expensive and bulky to carry around, this is perfect for the traveller or someone on the go.

Other finalists in the competition were equally as impressive, with low-cost robotic hands, a pro-glove that assists with assessing data (specifically in the automotive sector), as well as First V1sion which is aimed at professional sports and giving viewers a first-person perspective.

Much like the smartphone revolution, wearables are set to take off within the next decade and provide endless opportunities to many sectors. It will be exciting to see what comes up next!

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