Wearable tech: Why health and fitness will dominate way beyond the smartwatch

Summary:The smart watch is only the beginning. We explore amazing technologies that range all the way from self-powering heart pumps to RFID-equipped NFL players to smart nail polish that can defend against date rape.

Is Apple’s fabled iWatch the future of wearable technology? I sat down with my old friend Alfred Poor, Editor of Heath Tech Insider to talk about the future of wearable technology beyond the fitness band. Here’s a hint: it’s not smart watches.

According to Alfred, "For the most part, the kinds of consumer products you can get now are stupid. They really are."

He says watches are over-rated. They’re a self-limiting design. He says they are a necessary interim step, but what we're going to see is the "networked man”.

This was a fascinating discussion. One big concern, every time you look at health technology, is the potential for Big Brother-like abuse by the not exactly patient-friendly insurance industry. Who controls your health data? Who owns that data? Is it your doctor, the service providers, the insurance company? Who gets told how far you walked, or what your heart rate is while you're working? These are very reasonable concerns.

Then we had a chance to do a deep dive into the amazing technology that’s right around the corner. Here are a few examples:

  • A skin patch that does hypodermic injections throughout the day
  • Smart nail polish that defends against date rape
  • A smart sock that helps keep track of Alzheimer's patients
  • Bands that can see through your skin and look at the blood as it passes through
  • Self-powered technology that harvests energy to power wearable devices
  • Helmets that track forces that impact NFL players, RFID trackers on every player individually on the field

Today, much of this is technology is experimental, but some of it will be ready as soon as next year. Whether or not these advances are available to everyone next year or within the next five years, one thing is certain: wearable technology is going way beyond the smart watch.

Watch the full interview:

By the way, I'm doing more updates on Twitter and Facebook than ever before. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz and on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Big Data, Enterprise Software, Google, Hardware, Security, Innovation


In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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