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What is wearable technology?

Thursday, June 05, 2014 by James Gorry

Wearable technology is the joining together of fashion and personal accessories with computer technology. As you would imagine, these need to be worn on the body to technically be considered in this category, and over the past few years, the market has been growing exponentially.  

Wearable technology: more than just a “trend”

The news surrounding wearable technology seems to have exploded in such a short period of time, but the concept is not exactly new. For those who can remember back to the 80s, one of the original technologies was the “calculator watch”; a must buy for anyone who wanted to look “on trend” at the time.

wearable technologyMany wearable devices are purely social: you can keep up to date with your social media feeds, fetch new emails, and search for local business around you. Over the past few years, however, big tech companies have thrown a lot of money in this space with products like Google gaining attention. The results have not always been so positive, with a number of people quick to criticise the look of these devices, however, it seems increasingly obvious this space will become much more crowded in the coming years.

A couple of industries destined to increase their concentration on wearable technology are the health and fitness and safety industries. There are already a great number of fitness measuring products with numerous wrist bands, heart monitors and calorie consumption devices on the market. Spending only a few minutes researching on the Internet brings about dozens of technologies that could immeasurably improve health and safety.

Wearable technology of recent years include:

Social: Google Glass

Probably one of the most noted devices at the moment is Google Glass, which began testing in April 2012. The hands-free device is essentially a smartphone you can wear: it allows you to read emails, browse social networks, take a photo (with a wink of your eye!), check the weather, set reminders, and dictate texts (talk-to-text). In fact, it can do a lot! Of course, there have been various unconfirmed concerns raised about the product but this is unlikely to put off early adopters.

Fitness: Jaybird Reign

This wrist wearable can track your performance in many fitness activities like running, swimming or cycling. It can even tell you how ready your body is for the next workout and whether you need more rest!

Medical: Cancer cell detection glasses

This developing technology has been created by scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine and the University of Arizona. The high tech glasses can actually help distinguish cancer cells during surgeries. Research continues but there is a patent for this astounding product.

Safety: Optalert’s drowsiness detection glasses

Optalert is at the forefront of drowsiness detection technology: our ‘zero harm’ approach to drowsy driving means we’ve developed the world’s only early-warning drowsiness detection wearable technology. The glasses are fitted with a tiny LED that measures the velocity of a user’s eyelid at a rate of 500 times per second. The glasses measure and characterise the physiology of alertness versus drowsiness and transform this data into an easy-to-understand score displayed to the user in real-time.  

Why use wearable technology?

Technological developments over the past few decades mean we’ve become a population who expects to get information whenever we want and wherever we are. From smartphones to the cloud, we’re used to this power of being able to take control of our lives via a number of devices.

Wearable deceives sync with a secondary device, offering real time data for analysis, such as a fitness band synching to a smartphone. This example of overlapping synchronisation means we can reap the most out of technological use in real-time. We don’t need to worry about transferring the distance of our run recorded on the fitness band to our smartphone to work out how many calories we’ve burned: it’s totally integrated and happens automatically.  

In the case of Optalert, our technology provides real-time data displayed not only to the user, but to the monitoring staff, too. We call this our multi-layered approach where one device, collecting one set of data, is broadcast to numerous people to create layers of defence.  

Optalert’s products in development

Optalert has been in the wearable technology space for many years and although it may seem “on trend now”, the tough reality is that drowsy drivers die.

Our system is designed for a myriad of industries, many of which are 24/7 operations. Industries include mining, aviation, and coach and bus travel. The glasses (as well as the in-cab processor) are unobtrusive to the driver and do not impede his or her ability to perform a job.

The drowsiness detection glasses are just one part of a comprehensive process that effectively and aptly monitors a user’s level of fatigue or drowsiness, and then acts accordingly to ensure safety and protection.

Discover our early-warning system or request a call from our sales team for more information.


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