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Wearable tech

Any clothes or accessories that make use of computer and advanced electronic technologies can be considered to be wearable technology. Wearable technology is designed to interweave technology as seamlessly as possible into our everyday life (and is thus related to ubiquitous computing). There are many different types of wearable technology; we shall concentrate on a few.

Google glass is perhaps the most famous of a rapidly growing number of wearable technology products. Essentially, Google Glass is a wearable Android-powered computer built into spectacle frames so that you can perch a display in your field of vision. It enables you to film, take pictures, search for information and translate on the go as well as run specially-designed apps. The screen is designed to be easily seen without obstructing the field of view.

There has though been a case in America of a driver being given traffic ticket whilst wearing the glasses, the case was subsequently dropped. Google glass can be considered to use augmented reality. Augmented reality is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input.

Smart watches are now beginning to appear on the market. Modern smartwatches are effectively wearable computers. Many smartwatches run mobile apps, (especially fitness apps) while a smaller number of models run a mobile operating system and function as portable media players.

Recently Sony filed a patent for a Smart wig.  This will be able to process data, communicate wirelessly with other external devices and collect information such as blood pressure. Sony listed various potential uses of the Smart Wig in its filing, including helping blind people navigate roads. It said that a small video camera or a sensor on the wig could help to provide the position and the location of the wearer. A remote user can then use the images provided and send vibration commands through the network and navigate the wig user manually to a desired destination.

Wearable healthcare is a growing area of wearable technology. It includes various fitness bands (worn on the wrist and head) that monitor body inputs and outputs such as caloric burn, body temperature, heart rate, and even sleep. There are companies working on:

  • A wearable but unnoticeable complete cardio-vascular monitoring system
  • Wearable body tattoos - which will be tiny QR code-looking bio stamps that will monitor vital signs
  • Contact lenses that change colour when the wearer’s blood sugar levels change for the worse
  • Nanosensors that are injected under the skin and illuminate in infrared light whenever the wearer needs insulin

The wearable technology area is currently one of great innovation with many diverse products being worked upon as companies search for the invention that will catch the public consciousness and take off. The next few years are sure to be very interesting in this sector.

Inspec has many control terms and classifications which relate to wearable technology including:

Control terms

  • augmented reality
  • intelligent sensors
  • mobile computing
  • nanosensors
  • ubiquitous computing
  • wearable computers


  • a0670D Sensing and detecting devices
  • a0710C Micromechanical and nanomechanical devices and systems
  • b2575 MEMS and NEMS device technology
  • b6210L Computer communications
  • b6250F Mobile radio systems
  • b7230M Microsensors and nanosensors
  • b7230S Intelligent sensors
  • c3240N Intelligent sensors
  • c5430 Microcomputers
  • c5540B Interactive-input devices
  • c5620 Computer networks and techniques
  • c6130V Virtual reality
  • c6190J Internet software
  • c6190V Ubiquitous and pervasive computing
  • e1640 Instrumentation
  • e1780 Products and commodities
  • e3640 Measurement and control instrumentation industry
  • e3644T Nanotechnology industry

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