7 Wearable Devices for 2020
Wearable technology will peak in 2020, with more than 400 million users. Here are some future wearable devices for 2020. Photo: CES
In manufacturing and automation, advanced sensor technology and data analytics have created processes to be more efficient and the monitoring of systems to be predictive and responsive, even to the point of anticipating failure before it happens.
Wearable technology has reached a point that it is offering the same level of monitoring and information for people. Several of the wearables that reached the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year focused on healthcare and providing personalized data in real-time.
By the end of 2020, Statista estimates that close to 442 million users will own at least one wearable device. Here are seven devices that are expected to change the wearable field for 2020.
1) Mojo Lens
The Mojo contact lenses bring augmented reality (AR) directly into your field of vision. The advanced lens uses microelectronics and a tiny dense display to share information with the user. Currently, several augmented reality systems require the use of outerwear, such as a headset. These headsets are large and cumbersome to wear for extended periods of time. Mojo’s goal is to have an AR system that can be worn all day and does not obstruct the view of the user. The concept of “Invisible Computing” is that information is only displayed as needed. The lens can analyze your daily activities and only display the pertinent information, such as offering the next turn when you are driving or the next talking point while giving a presentation. The Mojo lens was featured at CES 2020 and according to TechCrunch, recently raised more than $51 million in investment funding with total funding of $159 million.
2) Ōura Ring
Wearable technology started as watches and wristbands. It is now beginning to take on different forms: Enter the Ōura ring. The Ōura is a device you wear on your finger and is equipped with infrared LEDs, NTC temperature sensors, an accelerometer, and a gyroscope. It is capable of capturing the user’s heart rate, temperature, and body movements like steps and sleep patterns. It also captures the user’s heart rate variability (HRV), which measures the specific changes in time between successive heartbeats. The ring is made out of titanium and weighs less than 0.25 ounces.
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The Ōura ring recently made the news as the NBA plans to use it as a monitoring device for players under the new COVID-19 restrictions for the 2020 season. The ring provides a “readiness” rating, and the developer, along with the NBA, has developed a rating metric to determine if a player may be showing pre-COVID-19 symptoms. The NBA hopes that the wearable can provide insight into when a player may become sick and provide them with a chance to test and isolate that player before infecting others.
3) Norm Glasses
Visual wearables are becoming more stylish and functional. Just like the Mojo contact lens, the Norm Glasses by Human Capable are designed for everyday use and meant to be less invasive. The AR pair of glasses will allow the user to make phone calls, read text messages, and reply to incoming messages hands-free. The glasses have a built-in 9-axis gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer. This allows the user to respond with not only voice commands and touch controls, but also head gestures to interact with the device. The powerful microcomputer, with a dual-core 1.2 GHz processer, 1 GB of ram, and 32 GBs of storage, allows users to take HD photos and videos, listen to music, audiobooks, and videos, and provide visual navigation with turn-by-turn directions. The heads up display in the glasses has a 20-degree field of view, with which to see the digital content easily even under sunny and bright conditions.
At CES 2020, the Norm Glasses won 2020 Best of Innovation Award for personal audio and headphones devices.
4) Omron HeartGuide Watch
Wearable watches were the first to enter the market, which has been mainly dominated by the Apple Watch. Now there are several competitors offering different features and styles. The HeartGuide watch by Omron is the first clinically approved wearable that provides accurate blood pressure monitoring.
HeartGuide has received FDA clearance as a medical device, which is a rare feat for a wearable device. It uses oscillometric measurements to provide medical-grade accuracy via convenient wrist measurement to obtain blood pressure readings. The watch acts like a blood pressure cuff, squeezing around the user’s wrist to measure their blood pressure.
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The accompanying HeartAdvisor app keeps track of the patient’s blood pressure throughout the day, including during sleep. The app also monitors physical and sleep activity, and uses the data to offer actionable health advice to the user.
5) Welt Smart Belt Pro
The Welt Smart Belt Pro is a good example of future smart clothing and accessories. The primary purpose of the belt is to lower fall risks. By using embedded sensors and algorithms, the belt can predict a fall risk from abnormal gait patterns. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and nonfatal trauma-related hospital visits among older adults, resulting in 2.8 million injuries annually.
By measuring unstable gait patterns, such as speed and symmetry, the belt can alert the user through the smartphone app of potential fall risks. The app also tracks waist size to indicate potential weight gain, and it can also follow the user’s activity, such as steps, calories, and sitting habits.
6) Withings Move ECG Smartwatch
The Withings Move ECG joins the Apple Watch with the ability to measure an electrocardiogram. The analog watch helps the user detect atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder. It can lead to heart failure and is a common factor for up to 30 percent of strokes.
By pressing the side button and placing your finger on the watch’s bezel, the user completes the electric circuit and the watch measures the ECG. The watch is also accompanied by an app that monitors the user’s activity, sleep, and tracks your GPS location for outdoor workouts. The Withings Move ECG watch was a CES 2019 Innovation Honoree.
7) Aō’s Atōms Air Mask
The Aō-Air’s Atōms Air Mask could be the future of personal face masks, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The mask helps filtrate particles by using fans to pump in air, creating a positive pressure clean air environment. The mask provides protection while not having to seal the mouth or nose. The mask is comfortable and creates a one-way outflow to prevent outside air penetration.
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An independent study conducted by Aō showed that the mask is 50 times better than the leading protective mask and is 5 to 25 times better than an N95 mask. The filtration system is comprised of a prefilter to remove the largest particulates. Then it passes through a propriety active Nano-Filter that filters out dust particles, pollen, and ash. The fans adapt to the user’s breathing and can provide up to 240 liters per minute of clean air, good enough for an aggressive athletic workout.
The main design purpose was to help protect people from pollution. Still, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the likelihood of future air transmissible infections, the Atōms mask may be the future accessory for many.
Carlos M. González is special projects manager.