According to The Guardian, 2015 is the year of wearable tech. Still in its infancy, wearable technology is a burgeoning new field whose range of possible applications is still being discovered. If you think smart wrist-huggers like the FitBit and Apple Watch are just a fad, you may want to think again.
The Big Idea
Some of the following trend-setting technologies are still in development; others are in first-generation and are likely to still undergo evolution as market feedback comes in. Still, these wearables offer an exciting glimpse into the near-future of fashion, physical activity, and personal bio-data monitoring.
Save the Date!
Rep 30: Inter-professionalism in Exercise Management
March 31, 8:00 pm (Eastern)
Given the increasing diversity of health professions prescribing exercise, where do you see physiotherapists fitting as Canada’s experts in therapeutic exercise today and in the future?
Follow hashtag#CPA30reps to join the conversation.
- Winter runner? Crowd-funded Digitsole connected insoles let wearers control the temperature of their feet through an app, while also tracking distance and calories.
- Quell by NeuroMetrix wearable pain reliever. Users set their personal e-stim comfort level and the device automatically adjusts its action level throughout the day and night. Reviewby Medgadget.
- Sensoria smart socks by Heapsylon track cadence and foot landing (among other things) and provides feedback to the user’s phone. Designed for runners, but therapeutic applications are likely not far off. Review from CES 2015.Demo video.
- The wireless heart rate monitor by NuMetrex and Adidas fits in a custom sports bra or athletic tee.
- Realizing that most wearable tech is just one more thing to put on in the morning, Hexoskin and fashion house Ralph Lauren both jumped into the game this year with smart tees that do everything a typical fitness armband does, squeezed into something you’d already be wearing anyway.
- German researchers at Frauenhofer Institute have paired a smart shirt and a smart stationary bike to not only record wearers’ vitals, but also actively monitor maxHR and take the wheel, if necessary, until your BPM stabilizes.
- Lancets, test strips, and being blind to changing glucose levels during activity could soon be a thing of the past for diabetics. These smart contact lenses keep a constant tab on blood sugar and relay the information wirelessly.
- Eksobionics gait training human exoskeleton. Designed for use by medically supervised individuals with various levels of paralysis or hemiparesis due to stroke and other neurological injury. Watch the TED talk.
Could some of these have deeper application within physiotherapy? It’s probably not as far-flung as it may sound. Forbe’s contributer Dr. Robert Glatter has already called for the next generation of personal health monitors to focus on improving chronic disease management.
What’s your take on wearable technology? Is it a friend-to-be for the profession, or a public distraction to be eyed with caution?