Wearable Technology – from smartwatches to exoskeletons

Categories: Tech News

By: Marios Constantinou / Created: Thursday February 4, 2021

Wearable Technology - from smartwatches to exoskeletons

The future of wearable technology

As technology becomes smaller and more efficient, it becomes easier and easier to take it with us anywhere we go. That is why many of the biggest technological companies of our time are working on developing technology that we can wear: we can take it anywhere, and we don’t even have to hold it in our hand or keep it in our pockets.

Smartwatches were probably the first of the wearables to take the spotlight. Featuring a processor, RAM memory, storage and a touchscreen, they are basically miniature smartphones that you can strap to your wrist. You can even answer calls! Although they are marketed as a “watch”, they are currently best known for their innate ability to monitor vital signs, being a must have for hardcore marathon runners.

But, of course, it didn’t stop there. Virtual and mixed reality glasses have emerged in the meantime and have taken the spotlight in the gaming scene, while many other wearable technologies are bound to emerge in the near and far future. Let’s talk a bit about what the future holds.

Smartwatches

From smartwatches we can, of course, expect that they will become faster and get some fancy new features. The focus on health and exercising, which you can see in the Apple Watch for example, is bound to continue, but both Apple and other manufacturers may branch out a bit in order to widen their user base.

We may expect them to follow the evolution of smartphones in their own way. I mean, some smartwatches already have cameras and some apps and games made for phones already have support for them. We may also see some smartwatches with larger screens and, of course, some heavy use of AMOLED in the near future, not only as a high-quality energy-saving screen but also as a flexible touchscreen.

Smartglasses

Despite Google Glass’s fiasco, the race to develop glasses that double as computers has never stopped. Although most technological companies today are focusing on developing technology for virtual reality hardware and software, Microsoft has been investing heavily in mixed reality, that is, technology that merges real life and virtual reality in many different ways.

And, of course, mixed and virtual reality have many common points and learn a lot from each other, so they aren’t mutually exclusive. We talked a bit about how it works in a previous post.

While the HoloLens 2 is already pretty impressive, we can of course expect it to become much better in the near future. That means: increasing field of view, increasing sensitivity of the holograms, and also making it cheaper.

We can expect it to integrate itself into our networks and connect to our devices seamlessly, becoming one with the Internet of Things and supplying us information about our surroundings while we use it, science fiction style. Information will not be at our fingertips anymore, but right in front of our eyes. Seriously, keyboards and mice may soon become a thing of the past.

Exoskeletons

Yes, exoskeletons will soon be a thing, although heavy-weight super-powered suits like Iron Man’s will remain in the far future for now.

Exoskeletons have been researched by scientists for some decades now, but their aim has been more on suits that help more than they destroy. Specifically, we are talking about suits to rehabilitate people or to help workers handle heavy equipment. That is not to say that there isn’t research on military power armor or similar stuff, but those are farther away from our reality than their medical and industrial counterparts.

In the near future, we can expect to see partial exoskeletons become a part of physiotherapy to help people regain the movement of their legs and arms, and maybe even of their fingers, and also see some kind of exoskeleton be applied in industrial settings, especially in bigger companies, and even become a part of their Internet of Things network.

Complete, high-tech suits will take some time to arrive, as the main problem is finding materials that are both resistant and light, as well as light enough batteries that are able to give the suit a large degree of autonomy. But meanwhile, research goes on.