What is a wearable?

Saturday 7th May

Wearables are new right? They’re quite hi-tech aren’t they?

Nope! Wearables (or wearable technology) have been around much longer than just the past couple of years. It’s just recently that the term has really gone mainstream and started to be considered the biggest area of innovation in technology

Think back to the Casio Databank digital watch that adorned your wrist in the 1980s — a calculator and a watch! Definitely a wearable. What about Nike+iPod that launched ten years ago, truly a forebear of the current fitness trackers and GPS watches. Even GoPro, the brand at the forefront of action cameras, sold their first device in 2004.

Casio Databank watch

A Casio Databank watch, photo by Jon Rawlinson

What is true is that we’re in a new age of wearables, where technology has enabled these devices to do much more, and connect more closely to us. If we’re going to truly define what makes today’s wearables different from just technology that you can wear, it’s the presence of smart sensors, from motion sensors (accelerometers) to compasses (magnetomers). These sensors allow a much more intimate use of technology, with the focus no longer on what the technology does but more on how it can improve your life, from staying fit to being more organised.

We think this has led to much more natural and useful technology — wearables are no longer a gimmick (wow, a calculator on your wrist!) but are now a platform for genuine innovation. We’ve always viewed technology as something we should all have a healthy relationship with: not relying on it or being intimidated, but using it as a means to an end. It’s with this in mind that we developed the Mover Kit — an active play wearable that kids make and code themselves. And it’s available soon! To keep up-to-date, register now.