Updated: Jan 13
Wearable technology, also known to many as fashion electronics, refers to electronic devices that can be worn directly on your body or as a part of clothing items. The first wearable technology to be developed and used by many people was made in the 1500s, by Peter Henlein when he created small watches that could be worn as a necklace. Over the next several hundred years, watches remained the only known form of wearable technology, changing from necklace watches, to pocket watches, and finally to wristwatches.
Today, there a variety of different forms of wearable technological devices available to the average consumer, used for a variety of different purposes. From hearing aids to calculator watches, wearable forms of new technologies have become more and more popular as time goes on.
As the field of wearable technology has expanded, the uses of these wearable electronic devices has expanded as well. For hundreds of years, the only form of wearable devices were watches, simply worn in different styles and fashions. But the sheer convenience of being able to wear your technology attracted the focus of hundreds of inventors and pioneers, all aiming to make it easier to use their electronic devices wherever they want to go. By incorporating their inventions into the daily lives of their consumers so thoroughly, they have changed the way that people view both fashion and technology.
As cellular telephones became widely popular and far less expensive to purchase, there were several individuals who worked hard to incorporate these devices into some form of wearable technology. The most well known example of this wearable cell phone devices is the Bluetooth headset, which became incredibly popular over the last two decades by allowing consumers to keep their hands free while they spoke on the phone. ]
In 2008, Illya Friedman designed a set of earrings that incorporated the Bluetooth technology, allowing customers to use a much less obvious and more fashionable Bluetooth headset. Over the next several years, this idea was taken in a different direction by Apple and Samsung, who developed watches that also functioned as cell phones.
In the early 2000s, the first garment of clothing to incorporate Bluetooth technology was developed by the fashion label CuteCircuit, who are well known for their revolutionary designs in the field of wearable technology. Their HugShirt allowed users to remotely transmit touch signals from shirt to shirt, becoming the first internet connected item of clothing. It was simply the first of many new items of clothing that incorporated technology, such as a necktie that is able to take pictures or a jacket that can play music.
By and large however, the most widely used and well known forms of wearable technology are activity trackers. Activity trackers became popular with the invention of the Fitbit, a device that allows the wearer to keep track of their fitness activities and their vital signs throughout the day. It records information such as the number of steps taken, heart rates, or calorie consumption, and transmits that information wirelessly to computers or smartphones. There are several different activity trackers today, some of which have been repurposed for medical usage in hospitals.