The term wearable technology implies that these devices rest on your body. So it's only natural that many of them focus on the wearer's health and fitness.
Sports watches are among the most established wearable tech. Often, these wristwatches come with integrated GPS to log the distance and time of your workout, and many versions will keep tabs on your heart rate, cadence and calories burned. Nowadays, the tech wizardry is getting more magical. With the correct sensor and power source, a wearable item can track just about any metric you want.
Imagine a bra that could monitor heat patterns and breast shape, serving as a watchdog against cancerous tumor development. Or sensor-laden socks that track form, weight distribution and other data during workouts. And underwear with built-in electrodes could stimulate the muscles of bed-bound patients, helping to reduce excruciating bed sores.
Soon, sensors may measure blood glucose levels, helping diabetics monitor their condition and preventing life-threatening situations. Digitized wristbands could warn food service or medical technicians when they haven't sufficiently washed their hands, which could prevent the spread of myriad diseases and improve public health.
Some products are already a reality, including Cityzen Smart Sensing fabric. "Smart" because it combines tiny sensors into a comfortable garment, which can be anything from mittens to pants, depending on the application. Connect the garment to a compact, battery-powered transmitter, turn on your smartphone's Bluetooth connection, and suddenly you have a customized body monitoring system.
The fabric communicates with an app on your phone to keep tabs on heart rate, respiration and metrics. Ultimately, the system notes how tired or stressed you are, and could even alert you to the onset of a medical problem. In spite of its high-tech nature, you can wash and iron the Smart Sensing fabric normally. Cityzen is even researching a way to recharge the battery by harnessing the rotating motion of your washing machine.