Feature: Page (1) of 1 - 01/29/17

2017: The Year of Wearable Tech

By Brandon Gordon

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At the start of the year, technology and trade shows such as CES 2017 offered consumers a peek into the wide-range of wearable devices and gadgets that will hit the market soon. From the looks of it, 2017 could be the year wearable tech takes off to new levels with the expansion of wearable tech products to other industry applications, not just in the areas of fitness and health.

For those who own a vehicle with the new Ford sync application, it is now possible to hook up the app with a Samsung Gear S2 or S3 smartwatch to activate an automated vehicle location log-in function. This is helpful for car owners who often forget their parking spot. Instead of writing down the parking number and other identifying factors, or using a smartphone to take photos, logging the location of the vehicle only takes a few taps on the smartwatch app.

The Polar Team Pro Shirt, which will be available in the market this March, does away with the bulky monitoring devices that are strapped onto the body to evaluate sports performance. Instead, it has sensors built into the shirt fabric that tracks and monitors heart rate and activity metrics such as speed and acceleration. After a training or workout session, the data collected by the product sensors is streamed to an app. Teams such as the Atlanta Falcons have been using this technology, as it now will be available to the public.While a lot of sports-related wearable tech focuses on individual performance diagnostics, this smart shirt was also designed for monitoring team performance. The data collected, in turn, could be used to design individual and team training plans.

In the area of maternal and prenatal care, health company Bloomlife will be launching a non-invasive wearable gadget this year which is designed to track pregnancy contractions. The device, which can be strapped to the belly, has a built in sensor that transmits data via bluetooth to an online app. This function makes it possible to access the data through a smartphone allowing the mother to closely monitor the pregnancy process.

The Ocean Medallion is set to be launched in the high seas by Carnival Cruises as the first wearable gadget that would streamline and customize cruise experience. Built by Nytec, the waterproof device contains basic customer data, from room to food or wine preferences, which is stored in a cloud system. Aside from providing keyless access, the device, which can be magnetically attached to a pendant or personal accessory, automatically sets room lighting and temperature settings minutes before a guest enters the room.

The new wearable technology gadgets and devices that will be launched this year has been described as potential game changers. While smartwatches and fitness trackers usually comprise the majority of the wearable tech products being launched annually, 2017 saw the introduction of new wearable devices and gadgets developed by different types of industries to serve a more varied customer demographic.

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