How do wearables work?
Wearable technology refers to electronic devices worn as accessories such as watches or jewelry. They can even be stitched into clothing or implanted in the body. These wearables are powered by microprocessors and can send and receive data via the Internet. That is why they are also at the forefront of the Internet of Things.
Wearable sensors can be programmed to monitor and diagnose several activities. Their capabilities include detecting changes in physiological and biochemical states.
With the growth of high-speed data transfer and the miniaturization of microprocessors, the wearable wave has taken off. Many have recognized this phenomenon. For example, tech titan Michael Dell has said, “Wearable devices are here to stay. Advancements in technology will eventually take much of the guesswork out of healthy living.”
Increase in number
Studies show that the number of connected wearable devices has more than doubled in three years. It has shot up from 325 million in 2016 to 722 million in 2019. In 2022, the number is expected to reach more than one billion.
The most significant contributor to this growth is the sale of smartwatches. Another reason for the market's development is the rise of 'hearables'. These devices fit inside the ear canal to boost the listening experience. They can also contain additional features such as heart rate monitoring.
The global smartwatch market is estimated to rise from $22.02 billion in 2021 to $58.21 billion in 2028. And the global hearables market size was valued at $21.20 billion in 2018. It is expected to reach $93.90 billion by 2026.
New initiatives by leaders
Tightly-integrated future for wearables
Recently, the Digital Medicine Society announced that the use of wearables is entering a new stage. As a result, the society released four sets of toolkits. These are for sensor data integration. This development is a step toward a tightly-integrated future for wearables.
The kits are a guide for data producers, processors, and consumers. They contain pointers on processing data from wearables and digital sensing products. With these practices, scaling up operations can become seamless.
The society’s CEO, Jennifer Goldsack, said, “We need to build architectures and systems that allow streams of sensor data… to flow through systems in a way so it can be used and reused by decision-makers.”
The four toolkits are:
Standards: This toolkit makes a case for a common data language. This standard will lead to shared, accessible data distribution, storage and interpretation.
Architecture: This toolkit assesses business needs in light of system requirements. The guide includes models and policies for data collection, storage, integration and enterprise use.
Implementation: This toolkit suggests criteria for sensor data integration. The yardsticks are collection, transmission, processing, security, privacy and quality.
Organizational Readiness: This toolkit benchmarks capabilities across applications. It also creates a process chart for data integration.
A primer with essential details about these toolkits can be found here.
The Digital Medicine Society collaborated with many private and public health and tech organizations to create these toolkits. Among these are:
Amazon Web Services
Moffitt Cancer Center
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Including these diverse organisations ensures that the standards become universal and are used across the board.