Is Fitbits just the beginning of wearable technology

Posted by Chuck Harrell on Mar 26, 2016 11:00:00 AM

fitbitAs chips get more powerful and even smaller, some inventive people are deciding that they can use this to make their lives just a little easier.  By wrapping RFID chips (the kind you find in swipeable credit cards and travel cards) in medical grade silicon or glass, they are embedding them into their hands so rather than having the hassle of removing the card from their wallet, they simply swipe their hands over the reader to pay for goods or as in this example, to get into their office or for this Russian man, to use underground.

If however, you don't like the idea of having an operation or would just rather decide when and where you are tracked, perhaps your employer, may want you to wear a fitness tracker and smart watches so they can monitor your health at work and also determine where you go and which machines you can operate.

Companies such as Profusion, whose CEO, and 31 other company volunteers, wore Fitbits for 10 days to track their health and other web habits.  According to this article in the Finanical Times, by analyzing the results the scientists determined that the volunteers could be grouped according to their behaviors: for example, "Busy and Coping"; and "Irritated and Unsettled".  If you think psychometric tests at interviews was bad enough, now even those who are happily working on their own can be labeled and may potentially suffer at the hands of Human Resource departments who try and create efficiencies based on a prescribed set of ideas.   But, it may not be all that bad, one of the latest management issues is stress and how to spot it. Devices like the Fitbit can help spot the signs a long time before a manager may and in factories, elevated heartbeats may cause problems with safely operating machinery.  The difficulty with this information is being able to analyze it in such a way that it's useful as this video describes.

If wearing a watch-like device 24/7 doesn't appeal, then maybe you'd like to try one of these thin removable tattoos which at present, can switch on an app on a smartphone or monitor the temperature of a sick child and send the data to a cellphone.  But, it's not beyond the realms of technology that these sticking plaster like devices can be used to give users access to rooms or specific machine functions and because they adhere for five days, they can be worn for an entire working week and then be replaced the next week with a fresh set of instructions.  No more forgotten ID card when you wake up in the morning.

If the past, we've discussed Google Glass, but for various reasons, it failed to take off in quite the way it was anticipated, but that doesn't mean that smart glass is dead.  Apx Labs have been designing smart glasses applications for the manufacturing and automation industries and now their latest Skylight software has been developed to provide detailed training instructions and feedback to engineers.  But, it goes beyond the passive display of information on glasses, the latest version can work with the latest smartwatches to send information to a user working on a specific task.  For example, because each smart device has a unique ID, a private message can be sent to a user and their instructions can be updated.  The latest version of this software also includes voice shortcuts to instructions so they can be found more efficiently.

If you want to discover more wearables at work, this Facebook page provides some interesting videos.

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