The eyeglass was the first invention that graced the body. It could pass off as wearable technology, invented in the 13th century, it caused quite a stir, when it was invented. The next article produced with the wearer in mind, was the Nuremberg egg. Portable and yet cumbersome, it was worn around the neck, and it was a status symbol in the 16th century. It was in the 19th century, that wrist and pocket watches became affordable. About 3 centuries of development separate the Nuremberg egg and the portable watches. Advances in technology in the 20th century were quicker than the previous centuries from the 1200’s till the 1800’s.
Several factors enhanced the entrance of this new genre of technology referred to as wearable technology. Pocket watches were in high demand before World War 1. The wrist watch soon grew in popularity after the war. The emergence of wearable technology as a force to reckon with, was due to advances in technology and the integration of technology in health care and every day life. The first hearing aid produced was heavy; however subsequent versions have reduced considerably in size. The evolution of computers, from bogus devices to small portable forms also enhanced the prospects of designing technology which can be worn.
The Eudaemons in the 1970’s pioneered the first wearable technology of significance. Most people want to remember the calculator watch produced as the first in the new era of wearable technology. I think differently, because it was a merging of two different products into one. However the Eudaemons created a roulette shoe, with the aim of predicting the revolutions of the roulette game in casinos. Edward Thorp was the first to create a mini computer which could be fitted into a shoe to predict the rotation of the roulette ball in 1963. Laszlo Kovacs in the year 2005, won about $200,000 in Australian casinos, using a similar shoe fitted with a computer and connected to an earpiece.
The Pulsar calculator debuted in 1975. The Sony Walkman was launched in 1979 and was a commercial success. The Sports Illustrated sneaker phone was the next major invention in the early 90’s. Collectors can find used pairs of this sneaker phone for sale on E-bay.
The turn of the millennium was the time when lots of wearables became available. The Walkman and Disc-man saw the ipod take over as the premium wearable music player. The mp3 storage format for storing music was a product of the internet explosion of possibilities. The ipod was therefore a better improvement on its predecessors.
Levi’s created the first wearable garment, which was a jacket with a remote control, mp3 player and a mobile phone. The Bluetooth headset was the next major invention, which was a commercial success. In 2006, a fitness tracker was produced: Nike+. It had a tracker embedded in a shoe, and was connected to an ipod for computing distance and pace, then displaying the results. Fitness wearables became popular devices as more people took interest in devices, which were not just trendy, but beneficial to maintaining good health and well being.
Google pioneered an invention known as the Google Glass. It is a device built as a smartphone, with its display screen patterned as a pair of glasses. 2014 saw the production of a solar mounted jacket. The jacket provided an avenue to recharge mobile phone batteries and other personal devices through embedded solar panels on the go.
The Apple watch was launched in 2015 after much anticipation. It combined the functions of ticket storage, texting, fitness tracking and served as a TV control. The Oculus rift is a virtual reality tool released in 2015. It has motion sensing headset, built in display and headphones taking 3D games to an ultra cool level.
There are several inventions which I have not mentioned in this article. It is safe to wager that wearable technology will grow in acceptance all over the world, in a matter of years.