There’s a new wave of market-ready wearable health devices that continue to come out to the market almost on a daily basis. The Fitbit, Jawbone Up, Nike Fuelband, FuelBand SE, garmin fitness trackers, the Mio Alpha, BodyMedia Link… the list goes on and on. Also worth mentioning is Google’s acquisition of WIMM Labs and developments around Google’s Knowledge Vault.

wearable health devices

Medical wearable devices in the health sector

The healthcare industry is just now beginning to embrace wearable devices. These gadgets, which include everything from watches that count steps and sleep to bracelets that monitor heart rate, are drawing attention to their ability to track health data.

These health & fitness trackers are partly responsible for the resurgence in popularity of fitness trackers, which — along with smartphones — are helping people track and monitor their health and fitness.

But wearables aren’t just for fitness geeks. The devices have the potential to improve healthcare for millions of people.

Wearable health trackers that monitor heart rate are opening up a new frontier in heart health. Doctors are now using wearables to monitor heart rate in pregnant women and young children, as well as people with heart disease.

Wearable health trackers are also helping doctors uncover health problems that might not be obvious to the human eye. Heart rate monitors built into wearables can detect abnormal heartbeats, arrhythmia, and irregular heart rhythms, helping doctors catch conditions, like atrial fibrillation, that might not otherwise be diagnosed.

Wearable health trackers aren’t just for doctors. They’re also helping people better manage their health. A growing body of evidence suggests that people who believe they’re living healthy lives may be healthier than they think.

Research suggests that people who consider themselves physically active tend to be less obese. Health trackers, like Fitbit, may encourage many more people to be more active than they might otherwise.

Wearable fitness trackers, in particular, promise to help older people live longer. Researchers found that wearable health trackers helped older patients (ages 65 to 82) manage chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Sensors and fitness devices — what’s the difference?

Sensors and fitness devices are two very different things.

The term “sensor” refers to any electronic system that can collect information. Sensors in cars, for example, are devices that collect data about what’s happening in the car, such as the speed it’s going, whether it’s accelerating or braking, and so on, or in your smart house. (They also collect other data, like GPS location.)

Sensors are an important part of smart technology. They’re used indoors and outdoors, in cars, homes, offices, and just about everywhere else.

Fitness devices are devices that measure heart rate, calorie burn, steps taken, distance traveled, or sleep patterns. Sensors are devices that require other devices in order to work.

Fitness devices can be standalone devices but are often networked to a smartphone app. It’s important to note that most sensors work with smartphones and tablets, but the experience won’t be all that great. Fitness devices, on the other hand, are optimized for the small screens of smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches.

Consumer adoption of wearable devices on the rise

Fitness trackers

The world of technology has brought us smartphones, laptops, tablets, and wearables. These devices, when used together, have the power to change and improve our lives.

In 2018, over 20% of Americans owned at least one type of wearable technology. By 2021, that number is expected to jump to 33%.

Wearables are not just for kids. 45% of adults are currently using one. They’re here to stay, so whether you’re selling to adults or kids, here’s a look at the latest products:

Smartwatches

Apple’s Apple Watch is the best-selling wearable of all time, and it’s easy to see why. People love the ability to track their health and receive an email, texts, and other notifications on their wrist. (Apple’s watch also has a built-in GPS, so you can track your runs and monitor your heart rate.)

Fitness trackers

Fitbit and Garmin are the leaders in the fitness tracking market, with popular, inexpensive devices. Fitbit’s Charge 5 and Garmin’s Vivosmart 4 have built-in GPS. The Vivosmart 4 can even detect when you’re falling asleep and wake you with a “Good Night” vibration, while Fitbit’s Charge 5 also has a Sleep Score feature that gives users feedback on their sleep quality.

Smart glasses

Microsoft’s HoloLens is a mixed-reality smart glasses device, with augmented reality. It’s being marketed for use in healthcare and retail, but there’s no reason you couldn’t use it for general retail, since you could place virtual price tags on products.

Headbands

Apple’s AirPods are wireless earbuds, but they’re not strictly wearable. Users can control music playback, make and receive calls, and activate Siri with their voice.

Why use wearable health devices?

Wearable health devices provide a way to collect and view health and fitness data without carrying around an entire set of workout equipment. This is especially attractive for athletes and people who work or live in places where access to a gym isn’t possible.

They can also be very effective for those with chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. These devices help them monitor their condition, identify abnormalities and take corrective action.

Wearable health devices include fitness monitors, which track things like heart rate, distance covered, and calories burned during a workout. Heart rate monitors and blood pressure monitors also fall into this category. Some devices track sleep, such as activity trackers with an integrated sleep tracker. Other devices record fitness activities, such as walking, running, and cycling.

Many devices also track fitness activities over time. For example, an activity tracker may record the number of miles you walk each week or the number of calories you burn in an hour. These devices can also track other important health data, such as steps taken or miles run, and heart rate, and blood pressure.

Smart watches and bands that include fitness trackers are some of the most popular wearable health devices. Heart rate monitors and blood pressure monitors see the most use, but fitness trackers and activity trackers are also popular. Because these devices track data, it’s important to set up appropriate security settings that limit access to personal health information.