One of the reasons wearables are an exciting developmental field, is because no one really knows what the future holds for them. Sure right now the big trend is fitness bands and in the near future it looks like smartwatches could become the technology du jour, but in reality, over the next couple of years the technology could change drastically.
For starters, right now very few wearables actually use bespoke hardware, most of it is co-opted from the smartphone industry. In the next year or two we’re going to start seeing wearables designed with wearable chips and wearable sensors and it’s going to mean the hardware gets much smaller, lighter and therefore more functional while taking up the same amount of space.
However that’s just the next step. The ones further down the road could lead to wearables like the computing sensors developed by MC10, which attaches directly to your skin and could be used in hospitals and in day-to-day life as a health based sensor which is almost invisible to the naked eye.
The small stickers are currently being developed and come in at about the size of a postage stamp. Despite their size however, they can track a lot of information, like temperature and heart rate, even broadcasting the information wirelessly.
“Our devices are not like wearables that are used today, where people wear them for a little bit and then throw them into a drawer,” said Scott Pomerantz, chief executive of MC10 (via IrishTimes).
“Ours are always on you. We have the smallest, most flexible, stretchable, wearable computer, and you can collect all sorts of biometric data tied to your motion.”
To achieve this ground breaking wearable product, MC10 teamed up with a materials expert that has spent the last decade working on flexible sensors that could attach to the skin. It’s leading to all sorts of potentially exciting applications, as these sorts of sensors wouldn’t be confined to a wrist or ankle joint and could instead be placed anywhere on the body. In your armpit for sweat tracking, on your leg to test muscle temperature during a warm up and much more.
This, MC10 believes, is all down to how “intimate” its sensors are.
“Without that kind of intimate physical contact, it’s going to be difficult, or maybe even impossible, to extract meaningful data,” Pomerantz said.
If you don’t like the idea though, others are working on flexible body art and faux skin that could fit over the top of the sensor to hide it even more.
What are some of the uses for these sorts of micro-sensor wearables that you guys can think oof?