We often talk about technology as something we use with our fingers, like a laptop, keyboard or something we initiate with the flick of a switch or a swipe.
While there continues to be ongoing developments in the improvement and refining of technology such as laptops and smartphones, what about the smaller items that we actually attach to our own bodies to monitor everything from our heart rate to our levels of productivity?
At the beginning of a new year, here’s a round up of some of the more popular examples of wearable technology that will be used in 2016:
A smartwatch that connects to either your iPhone or Android device, the Pebble is available in a variety of different styles, from the simple Pebble Time to the slicker Pebble Time Steel. With a week’s worth of battery life, a colour display and the ability to connect you to important data, Pebble is one of the many wearables that will help you to manage your day from your wrist.
2. Apple Watch
In true Apple style, the Apple Watch is designed to complement the use of other similar devices. You can use it to manage tasks, track your fitness and even reply quickly to messages with the option of a few standard responses to save time. With a focus on personalising the smartwatch experience, you can even send your own heartbeat rhythm to another Apple Watch user, or a silly sketch.
3. Jawbone UP
We all need a little bit of encouragement sometimes to keep active, even if it just means getting up at regular intervals to walk around and get away from your desk. The Jawbone UP tracks all of your personal activity, from sleeping to physical activity, and combines this information to put together a personalised programme. Integration with other devices means that you can easily share and decode this information too.
One of the most popular fitness tracking devices, the Fitbit aims to encourage a different approach to fitness, by monitoring physical activity incrementally. Taking a walk to the store instead of driving or even having a pillow fight can be included as a heart-rate increasing physical activity. With a way to track milestones, Fitbit users are also rewarded for their efforts with achievement badges for extra encouragement.
5. Garmin Vivo Fitness
With notifications and the ability to pair with a relevant device, Garmin’s name in GPS technology is now being adapted to help you navigate the world of personal fitness. With an integrated barometric altimeter, Garmin wearables help you to monitor the intensity of your workouts and combine this data to help you achieve your own fitness goals.
How can wearables assist with increased productivity?
While the number of pull ups you can do at the gym might not seem directly related to your productivity at work, the multifunctional nature of wearables means that even fitness tracking devices can be used to help keep track of tasks, calls, messages and all kinds of other personal data. Although the development of wearables might be largely focused on physical fitness and personal interaction at the moment, the scope for functionality within the workspace is exciting, and most likely only an indicator of things to come. From tracking your tasks on the go to simplifying your task lists on a small screen, wearable technology is even set to get closer to the skin with the development of programmable tattoos and other kinds of wearable devices.