The History and the Future of Wearable Technology: An Overview

Since the dawn of time, humans have created ways to decorate themselves. From necklaces to tattoos, people have found ways to identify, whether through conformity or non-conformity. Within the last half millennium, however, these decorations became more; as they began doing something.

Sometime in the 17th century the abacus was created. A precursor to the modern computer; the abacus ring was used by merchants to perform mathematical tasks before the adoption of the modern numeral system.

Abacus Ring

Pocket watches were on the up and coming during this same time period. By the 19th century pocket watches had evolved, shrinking in size. Eventually, these pocket watches became wristwatches, allowing German soldiers to more easily operate them during WWI.

World War 1 wrist watch

The 20th century brought the beginning of a sharp rise in wearable technology. From Julius Neubronner’s lightweight aerial camera (think GoPro) in 1907 to the wearable computer that helped two mathematicians cheat at roulette in the 1960’s; wearable technology was becoming a fascinating industry.

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Now in the early 21st century these devices are everywhere and vary greatly in functionality. Head-mounted displays, smart watches, wearable cameras, fitness wristbands; the list goes on and on.

The Apple Watch recently hit the market, trending in the mainstream and stealing the spotlight. These watches were very well constructed, ambitious, and fashionable. But truth be told, the Apple Watch isn’t a consumer’s only option by any means. Samsung, Asus and Motorola are in the market, just to name a few.

As these devices enter their second and third generation, new innovations are inevitable. Will our phones become superfluous with the advancements in our smart watches like the pocket watch was to the wristwatch? Will these smart watches overthrow the fit wearables that have, for a short time, succeeded in the market? How else could these watches serve us? Will they be able to make payments with Paypal or grant us access to the subway and public transit systems? With our advancements in microminiaturization it seems as though the potential is endless as we continue to permeate the information age.

And to think this is only taking into consideration the technology we are looking to put on our wrists.

-Matt Haywood, General Manager

References

Belcher, David. “Wrist Watches: From Battlefield to Fashion Accessory.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Nov. 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/23/fashion/wrist-watches-from-battlefield-to-fashion-accessory.html?_r=0&gt;.

Melanson, Donald. “Gaming the System: Edward Thorp and the Wearable Computer That Beat Vegas.” Engadget. Engadget, 8 Sept. 2013. Web. 13 Nov. 2015. <http://www.engadget.com/2013/09/18/edward-thorp-father-of-wearable-computing/&gt;.

Unknown. “Dr Julius Neubronner’s Miniature Pigeon Camera.” The Public Domain Review. The Public Domain. Web. 13 Nov. 2015. <http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/dr-julius-neubronners-miniature-pigeon-camera/&gt;.

Xiangnan, Si. “http://www.chinaculture.org/classics/2010-04/20/content_383263_6.htm.” The Story of the Chinese Abacus. ChinaCulture.Org, 20 Apr. 2010. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.

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