Heard about smart watches? Sure, you have...Well, what are they? It's simple...Smart watches are digital watches that do a lot more than track time. Smart watches can run apps and play back all kinds of digital media, like audio tracks or radio streamed to Bluetooth headphones. Also, many of these watches have touchscreens that allow you to access functions like a calculator, thermometer, compass and more.
Increasingly, smart watches aren't standalone devices. Many of these watches are designed to link directly with other devices that do have Internet connectivity, such as your smartphone.
Internet access enables a smart watch to fulfil an entire range of potential capabilities. This includes message notifications, GPS navigation and calendar synchronization. A Bluetooth connection to your phone means that the watch can help you place calls or send and receive messages.
Some smart watches are useful specifically for athletics purposes. These let you track your lap times, distance and route. They work in tandem with tracking accessories such as your heart rate monitor or cadence sensor. Again, there are specialty smart watches built especially for specific sports, such as sailing, helping sailors track variables such as speed, wind direction and wind speed.
While these watches may look like brand new technology, the truth is that these smart watches have been around for a while. For example, the very first smart watch may have been Microsoft's UC-2000, which was a digital watch released in 1984. This watch could be programmed in BASIC via its keypad.
In 2002, Microsoft introduced a technology called Smart Personal Object Technology, or SPOT. This is designed to integrate so-called smart software into everyday objects. Watches built around SPOT were discountinued in 2008, but the concept of the smart watch lived on...
Analysts at NextMarket Insights see sales going from 14 million in 2014 to a whopping 373 million before the end of 2020. Many companies, such as Sony already sell versions of smart watches. NextMarket also anticipates that about half of all smart watch sales will run Google's Android operating system.
There is also new technology being used in smart watches. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a wearable technology that enables users to turn the skin on their lower arm into a touchpad, thereby giving them a bigger surface to input information or commands to their smart watch.
This technology is called SkinTrack and requires the user to wear a special ring that produces a low-enrgy, high-frequency signal through the skin when a finger touches or nears the skin surface. Researches have used SkinTrack as a game controller, to scroll through lists on smartwatches, to zoom in and out of onscreen maps and to use a dial pad.
When using this technology, they could determine when a finger was touching the skin with 99 percent accuracy. The signals emitting from the ring connect with electrodes integrated into the strap of the smart watch. Researchers emphasize that this is a safe technology.
Now you know all about smart watches both or now and for the future. With this technology evolving really rapidly, it is only a matter of time that you begin to use your smart watch for everything ranging from checking the weather or stock quotes, to send messages or find your way in an unfamilar neighborhood. Here's to constantly evolving wearable technology!