Wearable technology is a trend that has been super popular for quite some time. And with new technological advancements, new & innovative different types of wearable technology are being launched every now and then.
The most common types of wearable technology include smartwatches, fitness trackers, smart glasses, smart jewelry, smart earbuds, wearable cameras, wearable medical devices, etc.
All these wearable technology types have managed to gain a strong foothold in the consumer electronics market in the past few years.
According to research by Grandview, the wearable technology market surpassed $52.14 billion in 2021, and the same is forecasted to grow at a whopping 14.9% CAGR between 2022 to 2030.
However, when you mention the term wearable technology, you’ll still most likely to hear about smartwatches and fitness trackers.
While both of these wearable devices are the most popular wearable technology out there, they’re not the only types of wearable technology.
In this post, I’ve shared all the different types of wearable technology that not everyone knows about.
But for the sake of clarity, I will briefly explain what wearable technology is first.
What is Wearable Technology?
Wearable technology is most commonly referred to as wearables. It is a category of smart electronic devices that are designed to be worn on your body, attached to clothing, or implanted in the user’s body.
These electronic devices are hands-free gadgets that are embedded with built-in sensors and powered by microprocessors with the ability to send and receive data via Bluetooth.
Consumer wearables such as fitness trackers & smartwatches are prominent use cases of wearable technology.
However, the recent innovations in the Internet of Things (IoT) are leading wearable technology to evolve at an incredible pace.
Today, wearable technology has life-saving applications in medicine as well as useful applications in other fields such as navigation systems, smart textiles, professional sports, and more.
Let’s look at all types of wearable technology that are now available in the market for everyone to own and use in their daily lives.
11 Types of Wearable Technology
Here’s the list of all types of wearable technology with a brief overview of each.
1 – Smartwatches
You might already know what is a smartwatch. It is a miniature computerized device that is designed to be worn on your wrist, just like a regular wristwatch.
You might also have an idea of how does a smartwatch work. It is supposed to be paired to your smartphone via Bluetooth or used without pairing. But when it is paired with your smartphone, it can send you notifications about incoming calls, messages, emails, etc.
Certain smartwatches even allow you to send a text, make a call, and listen to music without pairing it with your smartphone. However, you might not know how many types of smartwatches are there.
As of today, there are 7 different types of smartwatches:
- General purpose smartwatches
- Fitness focused smartwatches
- GPS smartwatches
- Budget smartwatches
- Luxury smartwatches
- Hybrid smartwatches
- Standalone smartwatches
Depending on your budget and preference, you can buy a smartwatch today for as low as $50 to as high as $100,000 and even more.
2 – Fitness Trackers
Fitness trackers are the modern successors of pedometers. They’re considered to be the second most popular type of wearables. And just like a smartwatch, fitness trackers are also designed to be worn on your wrist.
But compared to smartwatches, fitness trackers have limited capability because they’re more of a fitness-oriented product. Therefore, they have comparatively fewer features and are functionality-focused rather than aesthetically appealing.
However, fitness trackers can still alert you about incoming calls, and messages, and are equipped with a wide range of fitness tracking capabilities such as running, cycling, swimming, etc.
3 – Smart Glasses
When Google launched the first-ever smart glasses (i.e. Google Glass), it took the smart eyewear industry by storm. And soon after, others followed.
Smart Glasses may not be as popular as smartwatches and fitness trackers, but they are many different types of smart glasses available in the market for anyone to buy.
For example, simple smart glasses come equipped with Bluetooth that allows you to play music, make & receive phone calls, read & respond to text messages, take photos, and live stream videos, and more.
Advanced smart glasses, on the other hand, come with AR capabilities and have features like internet access and browsing via voice commands.
4 – Smart Contact Lens
Smart Contact Lenses are the most recent innovation in the wearable technology industry.
Compared to other types of wearable technology, smart contact lenses are not so popular and are currently available for monitoring certain health conditions.
Specifically, smart contact lenses help doctors monitor various diseases such as Glaucoma, Diabetes, and Cataracts to name a few.
As a matter of fact, smart contact lenses have even proven to be helpful in the treatment of farsightedness.
But apart from such medical conditions, many companies are developing smart contact lenses that function on solar power, are AR-enabled, and capture as well as store pictures & videos.
5 – Smart Earbuds
Another popular and commonly used wearable technology is smart earbuds.
Earbuds (wireless headphones) with Bluetooth connectivity have actually been around for quite a few years, but they weren’t considered a type of wearable technology due to their incapability of collecting & sending data.
However, earbuds manufacturers have taken steps to make earbuds smart. The next-generation earbuds can now do much more than just play music.
There are now many smart earbuds that not only give you a pleasant audio experience but also track your steps, heart rate, and the number of calories you burn during a workout.
The best part? — These smart earbuds collect and send this data to your smartphone so you can keep track of your activity in real-time.
6 – Smart Jewelry
Smartwatches are undoubtedly the most popular and commonly used type of wearable tech worldwide.
But, there are now other kinds of jewelry that can help to keep you connected to your smartphone without having to look at it. Plus, smart jewelry is much less intrusive compared to smartwatches and other types of wearable technology.
TAMO smart ring, for example, has successfully made its way to the wearable tech industry. While you obviously can’t send text messages or make & attend phone calls, it does alert you when you have an incoming call, text, email, etc.
By simply glancing at your smart ring (just like a smartwatch or fitness tracker), you can see who’s contacting you and the content of the notification.
On top of notification alerts, smart rings can even monitor your heart rate, sleep, and fitness data. Soon, smart jewelry is expected to expand into smart bracelets, bangles, and more.
7 – Smart Clothing
The advancement of technology has fostered many inventions in the wearable tech space. One such invention is smart clothing.
For the uninitiated, smart clothes are integrated with certain sensors that measure different health metrics of the user.
Smart clothing includes a variety of items such as sportswear, smart shirts, socks, shoes, chest straps, military clothing, medical clothing, helmets, caps, secret camera bow ties, and e-textiles with different sensors & features.
While this particular type of wearable technology is still in its early stages of development, it is forecasted to become mainstream in the near future.
And unlike smartwatches and other types of wearable technology, this type of wearable device makes contact with a larger surface of the body. This, in turn, can provide deeper & meaningful insights for various sports, medical, and even lifestyle purposes.
As a matter of fact, smart clothing is already in progress to move into different sports markets to help athletes to better their form and keep a closer eye on their health data.
For example, some companies are already working on the research & development of smart shirts that could potentially diagnose respiratory diseases, while other companies are developing smart shoes that could monitor the form of your running activity.
But one of the more helpful inventions of smart clothing is the smart socks parents can use to monitor their newborn’s oxygen level & heart rate to make sure everything is at normal levels.
There are also smart yoga pants that vibrate to help users to improve their yoga poses.
Overall, there are countless applications of smart clothing, and access to these wearable tech inventions is expected very soon.
8 – VR Headsets
The rise of virtual reality (VR) in video games has led to the rise of different types of wearable devices.
VR headsets typically go over your head covering your eyes to provide you with a field of virtual reality view.
Today, there are plenty of VR headsets available in the market that stimulate an environment and make the gaming experience nearly realistic, adventurous, and engrossing.
Not only that but this particular wearable technology is innovating at a rapid pace. The latest models of Modern VR headsets even come with bands that have built-in sensors to track & control movements through different hand gestures.
9 – Wearable Cameras
Since the arrival of Facebook & Instagram, people love to show where they travel, what they eat and see, and how they relax. But more than that, they love to capture special moments when they’re skydiving from a high point in the atmosphere, skiing in the mountains, or swimming with turtles in the ocean.
However, when doing such activities, they need to keep their hands free for obvious safety reasons. And this is where wearable cameras come into the picture.
Wearable cameras such as a Go Pro Camera can be mounted on your head, hand, hat, helmet, or any part of your body where you’ll find the best angle to record your entire experience.
10 – Wearable Medical Devices
Wearable medical devices come with built-in biosensors to monitor different kinds of physiological data for early diagnosis and disease prevention.
This type of wearable technology is often grouped with other medical wearable devices such as activity monitors, smart medical patches, and smart clothes to collect critical health data.
Some wearable medical device examples include core body temperature measuring devices to help with heat training to prepare for endurance runs, marathons, and even an Iron Man.
Other than this, there are various kinds of wearable medical devices that help to track the health metrics of patients suffering from heart or blood pressure-related diseases.
11 – Implantables
Implantables are a special type of wearable technology that makes contact with your body from the inside. And as you can guess, these types of wearable devices are usually inserted with surgery.
Unfortunately, implantables have not yet become commonplace in the tech industry. The reason for this is that there are a large number of safety protocols & guidelines for this type of wearable medical devices.
On the bright side, there is actually a lot of development happening in the implantables field. And experimentation with this implantable wearable technology is steadily on the rise.
For starters, the development of brain chips for special medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s disease is already in the trial stage. There are also advancements in retinal implants that could potentially help the blind to recover their vision.
Future of Wearable Technology
The advancements in the wearable technology space are growing at an unprecedented pace. And based on the latest innovations in the wearables industry, it is safe to say that the future of wearable technology seems bright and there will be more innovations hitting the consumer electronics market soon.