Wearable tech - short history briefNowadays, tattoos are part of certain cultures, as well as body piercing an jewelry. Wearable tech, like these things, isn't something new.
Now, instead of using our headdresses, bracelets and necklaces just for the looks, we can use them as devices.
The wearable technology is much more different from what it was 400 years ago. This is how it changed over the years.
The first well-known GoPro camera was invented in 1907, in Germany, by Julius Neubronner. This camera was strapped to pigeons and it could take one single photo during the flight. A timer mechanism was also included.
A small rugged consumer camera was created by Nick Woodman to take photos when he is surfing. After this, in 2004, the first GoPro camera was launched.
The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, aka DARPA hosted a forward-thinking workshop in July 1996. The name of the workshop was “Wearables in 2005” and they predicted some wearables such as gloves that could read RFID tags or flower brooches that react to emotions. On the other hand, in the next years, the wearables took the back seat and mobile phones took the lead.
Mark Schulze, a mountain bike fanatic, created the first helmet cam by rigging a video camera to a portable video recorder to records its trips and stunts. It wasn't looking better or anything, it was awkward instead and also heavy but it did the job and the video made offered to anyone who seen it, an adrenaline-pumping first person view of what Mark was doing in his free time.
The Pebble Kickstarter came out in 2012, made 10.2 million dollars and revolutionized the wearable market. Pebble made a device that attracted consumers attention to wearables and lead the way for Android and Apple smartwatches.
On the other hand, the wearable creators started to put away the wrist, and look from the head's view. Google Glass and Oculus Rift launched prototypes at the start of 2010 and they shown that the public isn't interested just in the wrist wearables.
Give her the ring
The abacus ring was the forefather of all the wearables that we see nowadays. This wearable allowed the bean counters to perform mathematical tasks by moving tiny beads along nine rows. The battery life was, unlimited.
The normal microchips were built back in 1980 in mass to be used for smaller and lighter computers. The EyeTap project was started in the same year by Steve Mann, who wanted to create a machine that would record what the user saw through its right eye. Also the user was allowed to see through the device at the same time. Over the years the wearable got simple and light which looked almost as the well-known Google Glass.
In the late 2000's, some Chinese companies started to create mobile phone wristwatches and the Apple And Nike created the Nike+iPod fitness tracking device. These gave consumers a way to use their existent technology to keep them fit and track their exercises. Also, in 2009, Fitbit was launched, being attached to the user belt, it was measuring the steps taken.
The Pre-Millennial Technology
In the 90's there was an explosion of portable computers that placed the wearables on the second place. The Private Eye was a device that included a heat-mounted display which used a vibrating mirror to display directly where the viewer was looking. It was adapted by Doug Platt to work with a DOS-based computer.
The Cheating Shoe
In 1961, the first real wearable computer came out and it was created by some mathematicians to help them cheat at roulette. They hid a timing device in a shoe that could predict where the ball would stop. The number was communicated via radio waves and there was of 44% chance increase of winning bets. Many other mathematicians copied their design after.
Early devices that were able to keep time were contained in large drums that were hung around the user necks. The pocket watches size reduced in the next years but a German officer that was frustrated with having to use both hands to operate one, had the idea of strapping the device to one of his wrists. Sadly, he didn't had the idea to patent it also.