Monday, March 25, 2013

Wearable technology improving health - are we there yet?

There are so many wearable technologies these days. We have little fitness gadgets like Fitbits and Nike+ FuelBands. We have Google Glass - a wearable computer that looks like glasses. We even have smartwatches that link to all sorts of sensors or with our smartphone to keep up even more connected than ever before.

Do these gadgets actually improve health? Yes -for some. They can be effective reminders and they could motivate people to change their behaviors. But, do they do enough?

I predict that the era of the smartwatch is what will ultimately drive sustainable behavior changes in health care. A smartphone is highly effective among people who are dependent on their smartphones on a daily basis. But, some people just don't rely on their smartphones like that. Some still don't even use smartphones. On the weekends, I am often away from my smartphone for long periods of time. But, I have my watch on me all the time when I'm awake.

The watch is always on our wrist. We rarely take it off. We look at it all the time. We can be more discrete when we glance at our wrist. Over the next few years, we'll see some incredible advances in smartwatches. We'll be able to talk directly to our watch. Voice command and voice recognition will be better than what we're seeing now with Siri or Google Voice Recognition. We will also have low-power wireless communication protocols like Bluetooth 4 that will allow devices to remain small and still have very long battery life. Plus, we'll see smartwatches that are water resistant.

I'm excited about the future of smartwatches. I think there is so much potential here and we're going to see some incredible innovation coming down the pike.

We're all going to be joining the Quantified Self movement, even if we don't plan on it. These wearable gadgets will tell us more than we ever hope to know about our behavior, our actions, our activity, our caloric intake, our diet, our heart rate, our metabolic rate, and much more.

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