Technology is getting closer to the body

    Since Google announced Glass augmented reality glasses, many manufacturers have begun to seriously interest in wearable gadgets.

    According to analysts at Markets and Markets, wearable electronics will be a new major breakthrough in the field of computer technology, creating a new wave of electronic gadgets similar to the global smartphone revolution.

    How it all began ...

    The wearable computers segment (interlinear from English “put on computers”) is two decades old. The father of wearable computers is considered to be Professor of the University of Toronto, Steve Mann. In the 1970s and 80s, he created several common wearable systems, including readers, biofeedback, and multimedia. In 1981, he developed a multimedia computer system for mounting on the back with a head-mounted display for one eye. Since then, Mann wears some kind of wearable computer every day.


    Pioneers of wearable computers include Stephen Roberts, who created a computerized recumbent bike in the late 1980s. With his invention, he inspired many enthusiastic inventors who explored a range of technologies, culminating in the Ted Starner augmented reality system.
    In 1990, Xybernaut Corporation was formed, the first company specializing in wearable computers. She sold her products in niche markets, including the military.
    Until recently, wearable technology experienced serious technical difficulties, as wearable computers were large and heavy, but with the advent of new tiny components, wearable computers moved to a whole new level.

    A growing number of technology giants are betting on wearable solutions. Among the key players there are such companies as Adidas AG (Germany), Fitbit, Inc (USA), Fibretronic Ltd. (United Kingdom), Google, Inc (USA), Jawbone, Inc (USA), Nike, Inc. (USA), Olympus Corporation (USA), Recon Instruments, Inc (Canada), Vuzix Corporation (USA) and Weartech sl (Spain).

    The interest in this area is so great that even completely unknown companies are included in the leadership race. This happened with the startup Pebble Technology, which was able to raise $ 100 thousand for two hours on the Kickstarter crowdfunding resource. A Pebble watch, protected from moisture and covered with a durable glass that is not afraid of scratches, of course, works with an iPhone or Android smartphone. Using a set of mobile applications, they can be turned into a speed and distance meter for athletes, into a remote control for the iPhone, located on the docking station in audio mode, or into a device for receiving notifications of messages on social networks Facebook or Twitter. He also notifies you of incoming calls and allows you to read SMS. The Pebble battery is designed for a week of battery life,

    Today, these are only the first prototypes of smart watches or augmented reality glasses, but the future of mobile gadgets is for body electronics, when it is enough to blink an eye to bring the device into action.
    One of the ideas for electronics management was suggested by engineer Katya Vega from the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro. She created a conductive metal makeup, with which you can control the electronics with a slight wave of eyelashes. The first test of the microsystem was the elements installed on the eyelids. When the upper and lower eyelids touch for a long time, about half a second, metal eyelashes close the chain, the controller is activated and the gadget paired with it is activated. On this control, you can attach any equipment, but so far the engineer is experimenting with smartphones and small drones.



    A real revolution in wearable technology awaits us in the field of medicine and health. At the moment, 61% of all wearable devices are all kinds of sports monitors.

    Companies have already set about developing a wide variety of devices for measuring health indicators, monitoring heart function, the condition of patients with diabetes and other cases. The American company MC10 develops body sensors in the form of a conventional patch and with the same flexibility as a patch, water resistance and durability.

    Under Armor, the manufacturer of sports equipment, offers the E39 T-shirt, stuffed with a variety of electronics: an accelerator, heart rate and breathing meters, etc. Under Armor hopes that one day such a T-shirt will be able to send all the information to coaches in real time, who can track the athlete's performance.

    Fashion has always kept up with the times, and this is no exception, as International Fashion Machines develops smart fabrics that understand electronic teams, and Stamp Shoes offers shoes that can help an over-sized visitor to a bar to get home.
    One of the inventions of “smart textiles” was recently announced by Motif. The company is developing a raincoat with a built-in wireless charger for smartphones iPhone 4 and 4S, iPhone 5 and 5s, as well as Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy S4. To charge the phone, users only need to put the gadget in their breast pocket in a raincoat and connect it to the charger. To recharge the cloak, you need to hang it next to the wireless mat, which comes immediately in the kit. The cost of such a cloak is still unknown, but Rafael Balbi (creator) reports that it will cost no more than usual.



    Finally, a few forecasts and figures from analysts ...
    Transparency Market Research predicts that the global market for underwear technology will grow from $ 750 million in 2012 to $ 5.8 billion by 2018.
    Markets and Markets predicts that the global wearable electronics market will cross the $ 8 billion bar in 2018.
    Optimistic figures for companies that have entered this market ...
    Wearable technology is becoming the most popular aspect of the new generation of consumer electronics and computer technology, making computing devices even more lightweight, portable, unobtrusive and affordable.

    The article was created on the basis of:
    1. The open part of the Markets and Markets report “Wearable Electronics Market and Technological Analysis (2013–2018): components (sensors, batteries, displays, networks), applications (consumer healthcare, corporate), products (smart textiles) , glasses, watches), materials science and geography ”
    2.Wearable computing moves from a fairy tale to a reality

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