I mentioned the FitBit pedometer in my comment on your other blog. It has become a permanent part of my attire. I am also looking forward to further advances in strapless heart rate monitors that can be worn during all waking hours -- but do they all have to use the wrist watch form factor? I have a traditional chest strap + wristwatch style HRM that I only wear when deliberately exercising, but even if I could jettison the strap, I wouldn't want to wear a watch all the time.
I also look forward to advances in another realm of body sensors -- namely, body and limb motion and force sensors for the casual athlete. Olympians and professional athletes have had access to lots of sensor-based motion analysis for many years, but this technology has not yet been productized for the masses.
I am reminded of a ski racing clinic I took many years ago that included video analysis by an instructor who pointed out everything that was correct and incorrect with each skier's form, posture and movement. The problem is, the video setup only captures a brief period of time and space (a few turns on a particular course) and is lacking in hard data. It occurred to me how amazing it would be to get real force and motion data -- arms, legs, torso & head -- for a full ski run with varied terrain, and then review that with an instructor. Better yet, with automated analysis and real-time feedback, such a system could be used as a type of biofeedback system, so you could make adjustments in real time based on objective measurements of what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong. This could be applicable to casual athletes in many different sports.
+1 on looking forward to advances in wearable medical and fitness sensors. I'm waiting for something more along the lines of the Scanadu Scout - claimed to be the first medical "Tricorder" - combined with the ability to monitor things like blood glucose levels and cholesterol etc.
I think a very useful advance in heart rate monitors for sports would be getting rid of the chest strap altogether. I hate wearing those things. Can they develop sensors that are sensitive enough to monitor the heart rate at the wrist? Then the sensor could actually be in the watch itself. That I would like to see.
David: You've gone a long way towards dashing my skepticism over the number 1 trillion. Congratulations on that! (I'm a Taurus and not easily convinced.) But I'm still harboring a lot of doubts about the connection of all these divices.
For example, it could be a good thing to hook up a lot of people to monitor their blood pressure, heart rate, sugar levels, whatever. But it would also be good if the current medical establishment could manage to hold onto the results of my latest blood test, which it loses 20% of the time. It would also be good if it could protect our privacy which, despite lots of federal regulations, are violated commonly (and at a high profit for the thieves).
Do we really want to live in a world where everyone is "watched" by 250 sensors? Would it be possible to hack through that massive network to find out just about anything about anybody? Is that really, really a good thing? Or could we spend all that money (this won't be cheap) on food, health, and education?
Thanks for this article. Wearable sensors to me are like the note tablet with the pen. Yes, I believe that wearable sensors will work in some market, and fail in others. I love that sensors will be helpful for health monitoring. That is great! But you know, the most crazy and unthinkable idea for wearable sensors will be popular among the young generation within the next few years and it will sell very quickly. Are you ready?
Well, to keep it simple: A good style shirt with built-in sensors to perform..... It all depends. But this could be a hit among back to school college students across the Country just like the Michael Jordon shoes is in the sports market. This is a good time to be in the fashion design business.
Fashion for young apart, the priority of developing wearable devices in my opinion is for the use of physically challenged people- for example visually handicapped would wear such devices to guide them to walk on or cross the roads and such things.
David - would love to see some pix from the event you attended! You talk about the fact that it is sensor advamcements that make this movement possible, I would also say that it's also due to the rise of low-cost electronics.
As an avid cyclist who's had the misfortune of crashing a few times (most avid cyclists do, which is why cycling is the most dangerous sport), I have to wonder about the need for a crash sensor. I know when I crash, as do people around me. Do I want to alert the authorities when I go down? Not generally, and in the exceptions, some bystanders were kind enough to summon help. Then when would this be handy? I suppose for a mountain biker on a remote trail or a hiker deep in some sparesly populated wilderness -- but what would pick up the signal there?
I DO, however, like this device as a tool to monitor elders who live alone. Falling is a major cause of injury and death among the elderly, some of whom may lie on the floor without help for hours or days. LifeAlert -- that button associated with "I've fallen and I can't get up" -- is a popular product for that reason. It's great, as long as the elder is conscious.
Can anyone think of situations where this crash sensor would be more effective?