IoT To Go: How smart wearables improve our lives

oT To Go: How smart wearables improve our lives

The conclusion of the market research company gfu, the organizer of IFA, is clear: The market specifically for smart wearables continued to develop very promisingly in 2021. Around 7.4 million units were sold alone in Germany in 2021, and the sales volume increased by almost 20 percent to more than 1.3 billion euros. The annual number of units sold has thus more than doubled in the past five years. 

Smartwatches, smart glasses, health and fitness trackers, smart clothing: The digital revolution now has a lot to offer in terms of smart wearables. "IoT To Go" is constantly becoming more diverse, fancy and sophisticated. Many of these accessories that we carry around with us not only look chic - they also perform really well and make our lives more pleasant, easier, safer and healthier in many areas. For some tech experts, they will even replace the smartphone in the near future: "Devices that we now classify as completely indispensable will probably disappear from the scene. Technology will instead be found in our clothes, in glasses or bracelets." At least that's what Michael Haller, a biosensor researcher at the Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences, thinks.

In this blog text, we provide a brief overview of what is already possible and established.


More than just good vision: Smart Glasses

Google, Ray-Ban, Snapchat, Xiaomi: Many providers are betting on smart glasses, which have long since ceased to be just nice toys. Smart glasses now take over complete smartphone functions, they have integrated cameras for taking photos and videos, speakers and microphones. They can be used to make phone calls and listen to music via Bluetooth. Integrated mini-computers show information on or in the glasses via MicroLED displays: News, weather information, navigation instructions, text translations, tourist information etc. And one point on the road to mass acceptance that should not be underestimated is that the designs, which used to be quite bulky, are becoming more attractive every year. Of course, smart glasses continue to fulfill their original functions - protecting against the sun's rays and compensating for visual deficits.


Wellness & fitness: tracking and more

Fitness and wellness trackers, worn on the wrist or as a chest strap, measure the vital signs of the human body, check the quality of sleep or document eating habits. They are ideal, for example, for documenting training progress and - depending on the wearer's physical constitution and fitness level - creating individually tailored training programs. They can also detect heart and pulse rates that are too high or deviations from normal values for blood sugar, blood pressure and ECG. Monitoring heart rate and pulse rate in particular allows for targeted training in the optimal stress range.

For years, the functionality of smart wearables has been continuously expanded and refined. Intuitive and easy-to-use apps collect all data and provide an easy-to-understand visualized overview 24/7: How much movement there was during the day, what distances were covered, how much time was spent on sports or other activities. Additional information like weather forecasts, reminders for the next training session or mobile payments? No problem! Take Garmin, for example: The manufacturer collaborates with Weight Watchers for special applications. Together, they use and analyze collected fitness data to develop an individualized daily nutrition concept based on the results.

The extremely detailed feedback provided by the fitness wearables has a motivating effect and helps many people to increase their desire to exercise. If the ability to stream music is also added, motivation is even greater - and this is precisely the function that various models now offer.


Virtual reality: virtual travel to combat loneliness

Special VR glasses bring back life in motion: the elderly, those in need of care and immobile people who can no longer actually leave their own environment can still continue to move around in their familiar surroundings. At least virtually, and not just in faraway places: Sophisticated virtual reality technology creates panoramic images and 360-degree videos of the real closer surroundings of the affected people. These are then fed into an interactive 3D world. Using VR glasses, it is now possible to take real-time tours of one's own garden, visit family members and friends, and more: a significant increase in the otherwise immensely limited quality of life.


Innovative control options via gestures and speech

Gestures replace haptics: This is at least one innovative solution for highly sweaty activities, especially in the field of sports. The technology company Huawei developed a round sports watch with a touch-sensitive housing that has different touch fields on the edge. The circular arrangement of click and pressure-sensitive sensors enables operation via different gestures, for example, rotary movements on the case.

For the manufacturer Solos, voice control is the solution for its smart sports glasses: cyclists who should not and cannot remove their hands from the handlebars are shown a wide range of useful information via a display in the glasses. Connected to a smartphone, it is also possible to make phone calls, call up news or navigate - all functions are selected via voice control.


Smart clothing - when the shirt becomes an interactive accessory

This is where we really get to grips with our underwear, which is being made smart. Ultra-flat sensors are incorporated directly into the textile fabrics. This allows them to collect data even more directly on the skin. The result: even more accurate readings and greater wearing comfort compared to sometimes somewhat bulky fitness trackers, chest straps etc.

Sports underwear that monitors not only heart rate, breathing and activity level, but also our water balance and body temperature - all feasible! "Printed electronics" is the name of the magic technology here: wafer-thin printed electronic conductors and the tiniest sensors enable the development of "e-textiles" that offer incredible innovation potential. Self-illuminating fabrics or coatings that increase visibility in dark light conditions. Smart sports shoes with integrated sensors that measure strain and balance to improve posture while running or other sports - the sky's the limit.

We will introduce you to this highly interesting IoT research area in particular in an upcoming blog article. Look forward to it!

veröffentlicht am : 2022-03-31 08:00