When most people think about wearable technology, Fitbits and Apple Watches come to mind. While these are devices have been game-changers, the world of wearable technology is so much larger - and it’s getting bigger every day.
As researchers and engineers strive to solve age-old problems with modern-day solutions, some interesting inventions have emerged.
The world will soon see the first in-ear translation device that will allow international travelers to communicate with ease in real-time. Hospitals may start using wearable microscopes in the future to diagnose cancers and monitor treatment outcomes. Women around the country can now start families with help from the world’s first wearable fertility tracker.
These inventions might have seemed impossible even just a few years ago, but the future is here now and it’s full of high-tech wearables.
An In-Ear Translator – Breaking Down Barriers
If you’re looking for something to break down the language barrier, a company based out of New York City is developing the device for you. Waverly Labs has created a new wearable called the Pilot, a small earpiece that’s designed to instantly translate spoken speech.
The way the Pilot works is simple. The wearer inserts the earpiece and then starts having a conversation with someone who speaks another language. After a slight pause, the wearer will hear a basic translation into their native language. The result is a fluid conversation between speakers of two entirely different languages.
All translations are performed by the companion mobile app, which contains the downloaded language packs and interacts with the earpiece without the need for an internet connection. As a bonus, the Pilot can even play music when the wearer isn’t using the translation feature.
When the device is shipped in May 2017, it will include support for English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Other languages will be available for download later in 2017, including Arabic, German, Hebrew, Russian, and Slavic as well as East Asian and African languages.
The device is designed for international travelers, and the potential for this wearable to connect people around the world is unprecedented. The Pilot is poised to break down barriers between speakers of different languages, allowing people across the globe to communicate and learn from each other.
A Wearable Microscope – Diagnostics and Treatment Made Easy
It might sound like science fiction, but UCLA researchers and a team at Verily Life Sciences have created a wearable microscope. At less than one-tenth of a pound, the mini microscope is small enough for a patient to wear it around their bicep.
The wearable device measures fluorescent dyes through the skin to monitor disease biomarkers such as tumors. This information can be used to diagnose patients and track how well they are responding to medical treatment.
Using fluorescent dyes in medicine isn’t new. Medical professionals often use glow in the dark dye to diagnose cancer and provide medical therapies, but tracking the dye’s journey through a patient’s veins requires expensive and bulky equipment. The wearable microscope changes this.
The microscope fires an angled laser directly at the skin and then sends the resulting data back to a computer. After using an algorithm to filter out the noise generated from the skin, an image is produced that doctors can use to track the chemical biomarkers for diagnostics and treatment. This new technology makes it easier than ever to measure biomarkers through a patient’s skin.
Doctors and researchers are only beginning to envision the uses for this new microscope. It’s already clear that it can help diagnose cancer and track the effectiveness of medications, but the list of other uses could be endless.
A Fertility Tracker – The Baby Bracelet
Women have used many different methods to track their fertility over the years. One way is tracking basal body temperature. When a woman releases an egg, her body temperature increases. It then returns to normal levels at the end of her cycle. While women have traditionally used a thermometer to track these fertility-related changes, the world’s first fertility tracker plans to make the process even easier.
Ava is a wearable fertility tracker that has a design similar to a Fitbit. It’s a techie bracelet that a woman can wear around her wrist. However, the design is where the similarities between the trackers end. Instead of just steps, Ava measures temperature, resting heart rate, breathing rate, heart rate variability, sleep, heat loss, and movement.
Although temperature is the only universally agreed upon indicator of ovulation, some physicians believe that Ava’s developers may have created an algorithm that can predict when a woman is most fertile.
The creators of the fertility tracker claim that they conducted a clinical study at the University Hospital of Zurich that proves the effectiveness of Ava. Sure enough, the results did find that the device identified five fertility days per cycle with 89 percent accuracy. However, the study has yet to be peer-reviewed or published.
It will likely be a while before everyone in the field of reproductive medicine recommends that all women run out and purchase Ava. Still, the idea that a tracking bracelet can help women understand their fertility and get pregnant is a very intriguing one.
The world of wearable devices is clearly bigger than Fitbits and Apple Watches. New wearables are being developed as we speak, so don’t be surprised if everyday life includes more of these high-tech and portable devices.
By Shannon Flynn