What’s the future version of today’s humble step tracker or health app? Our resident tinkerers at Vantiv labs took on an API challenge to enable commerce with fitness wearable technology for usage in a sharing economy business model (like a gym membership where you only pay for the equipment you use).
Read on to discover five more futuristic applications for fitness wearables.
Forget about your Fitbit. Patches that stick directly to the skin are the new future for wearable tech. Smart patches have the advantage of being worn all the time – unlike wrist wear which needs to be removed to be charged and can’t get wet. Some pro sports teams are already testing smart patches that analyze health by monitoring sweat on their athletes. Plus patches worn under clothes offer a discrete option for health monitoring for folks who prefer a bit more privacy.
Smart fabrics with sensors hidden in your t-shirt or waistband might be able to track your heart rate, fat ratio, calorie burn, and provide you with updates on your shrinking waist size. For professional athletes or patients in rehabilitation, biosensors in clothing might be programmed to detect unusual muscle contractions for doctors to track. Supa is already using AI and heart rate sensors in their line of women’s sportswear that even tracks UV absorption.
Imagine heading out for a run with your own personal drone that will fly ahead of you and set the pace to improve your mile time or meet your distance goals. In a 2015 study of joggers using running drones, the joggers reported enjoying the “companionship” and “personality” of their drone jogging buddies. The best thing about a jogging drone? It’s way less flaky than a human partner. (Ahem, looking at you, Becky.)
Smartglasses with Augmented Reality
While Google Glasses were roundly mocked when they launched, the promise and potential of wearable tech glasses is still a tech ideation darling. Augmented reality paired with a slender, lightweight glasses frame instead of a bulky headset could seriously enhance a workout. For instance, a runner training for a race could pop on some smartglasses, download an app similar to Zombies, Run!, and enter an immersive augmented reality – where their evening run is spiced up with zombies, obstacles, and video game-style missions.
Harvard and MIT researchers have combined biosensitive tattoo inks with traditional tattoo artistry to create tattoos that double as biomedical mood rings. The inks change color depending on body chemistry. For an example, an athlete could monitor the status of their recovery, or a diabetic could tell their blood sugar level by the changing color of their tattoo. The applications could go beyond chronic conditions as well: temporary tattoos for short duration monitoring (like for hospital stays or surgical recovery), or for situations where continuous health monitoring is needed for a specific duration (for athletes in physical therapy or for experimental patient trials).