Dressing “Smart,” the Future of Staying Connected

Dawson Barnard

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Technology drives everything from the economy to relationships.  Lately, instead of just carrying tech with them, people are wearing it.  They are putting down their phones, while still being connected.

Wearable technology dates back to the 17th century in the form of an abacus ring.  The abacus is the earliest known counting device, predating the modern calculator.  The ring allowed merchants to make quick calculations.  Today, the most common form of wearable tech is the smart watch.  While the first watch capable of interfacing with a computer was made in 1984, they didn’t really start becoming mainstream until Pebble released their watch in 2013.  Even though it only had a 1.26 inch black and white display, within a year of release, there were over 1,000 applications for it.  The Pebble was capable of taking calls, receiving texts and emails, giving turn by turn gps directions, measuring cycling speed, and much more, but this all required being connected to a smartphone.  

The Samsung Gear S was the first mainstream smartwatch to not require being connected to a phone to receive cell service.  This means that the device was a complete smartphone on your wrist.  People were now able to leave their phones at home, while still being able to take calls, text, and use social media, which most view as extremely important today.  When asked about his smartwatch, Junior Isaac Loker said, “They’re definitely easier to use in class than a phone, and they are helpful at times.”

This year Under Armour released the SpeedForm Gemini 3 RE, which is a smart shoe.  It has the ability to track distance, cadence, and steps for runners.  A feature in the newest SpeedForm Gemini shoe is the “Jump Test.”  Based on how high you jump, it tries to determine muscle fatigue, which tells you how far you should go on your next run.  In a press conference while explaining the jump test, Mike Lee, chief digital officer at Under Armour, said, “We are taking a scientific approach to recovery that is directly utilizing real-time data from your body, to determine what level of workout you should execute to guide your training.”

While it goes against many people’s beliefs, a group known as “grinders” are taking wearable tech even farther by implanting it in their bodies.  The most common tech implants are near field communication chips, more commonly referred to as NFC chips.  Uses are fairly limited now, but they can be used to unlock phones, unlock actual doors, and some are experimenting with ways to use them as credit cards.

While people no longer have to carry their phones, technology is not going away.  They can stay connected with smartwatches and track their fitness with smart shoes.  Dressing “smart,” is definitely the future of staying connected.

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