Consumer Electronics

History of Wearable Technology

The development of wearable computers and the popularity and ubiquity of computing and mobile networking are directly related to and affect wearable technology. Technology that can be worn on the human body for any purpose mostly pervades into the users daily life to enable a much greater level of monitoring regarding health or security.

Throughout its history, researchers have tried to extend or enhance the functionality of wearable technology in the form of useful gadgets, technical clothing and other wearables in the form of accessories that offer personal surveillance gadgets that help record, monitor and analyze the activity of a user using portable or wearable personal technologies. The art of quantified self-movement is inclusive of tracking information like steps taken, heart rate and overall movement.

One of the earliest examples of wearable technology was seen in the form of the very popular, widely accepted calculator watch that was introduced in the 1980s. Even before that, hearing aids had already come into the picture. In the year 2004 at the Cyber Art Festival in Bilbao, Spain, the fashion design label Cute Circuit revealed a Bluetooth connected electronic called the HugShirt, which managed to win the Grand Prize at the festival.

The Hug Shirt was designed to transmit the sensation of touch across distance. It was very different from the earlier examples of wearable technology like the helmet designs of wearable computing and watches of the 1900s since it was the first time that wearable technology had taken the shape of a garment of wearable clothing. It was further connected to internet and BlueTooth. The Hug Shirt was also mentioned under the ‘Best Inventions of the Year’ in the special edition of the Time magazine.

Other forms of wearable technology also surfaced, an interesting example is one of Ilya Fridman who managed to incorporate a Bluetooth microphone hidden into a pair of earrings in the year 2008. A stylish Spy Tie also appeared around the same time which featured a hidden color camera. A now defunct ZED phones were headphones stitched into headbands and beanies in the year 2009.

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