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5 Futuristic Applications of Fitness Wearables

 

What’s the future version of today’s humble step tracker or health app? Our resident tinkerers at Vantiv labs took on an API challenge to enable commerce with fitness wearable technology for usage in a sharing economy business model (like a gym membership where you only pay for the equipment you use). Click here to check out how they combined Fitbit’s API with Vantiv’s API. Read on to discover five more futuristic applications for fitness wearables.

 

Smart Patches

 

the future of wearable fitness technology: smart patches

 

Forget about your Fitbit. Patches that stick directly to the skin are the new future for wearable tech. Smart patches have the advantage of being worn all the time – unlike wrist wear which needs to be removed to be charged and can’t get wet. Some pro sports teams are already testing smart patches that analyze health by monitoring sweat on their athletes.  Plus patches worn under clothes offer a discrete option for health monitoring for folks who prefer a bit more privacy.

 

Smart Clothing

 

the future of wearable fitness technology: smart clothing

 

Smart fabrics with sensors hidden in your t-shirt or waistband might be able to track your heart rate, fat ratio, calorie burn, and provide you with updates on your shrinking waist size. For professional athletes or patients in rehabilitation, biosensors in clothing might be programmed to detect unusual muscle contractions for doctors to track. Supa is already using AI and heart rate sensors in their line of women’s sportswear that even tracks UV absorption.

 

Drones

 

future of fitness wearables: drone running buddies

 

Imagine heading out for a run with your own personal drone that will fly ahead of you and set the pace to improve your mile time or meet your distance goals. In a 2015 study of joggers using running drones, the joggers reported enjoying the “companionship” and “personality” of their drone jogging buddies. The best thing about a jogging drone? It’s way less flaky than a human partner. (Ahem, looking at you, Becky.)

 

Smartglasses with Augmented Reality

 

the future of wearable fitness technology: augmented reality and smartglasses

 

While Google Glasses were roundly mocked when they launched, the promise and potential of wearable tech glasses is still a tech ideation darling. Augmented reality paired with a slender, lightweight glasses frame instead of a bulky headset could seriously enhance a workout. For instance, a runner training for a race could pop on some smartglasses, download an app similar to Zombies, Run!, and enter an immersive augmented reality – where their evening run is spiced up with zombies, obstacles, and video game-style missions.

 

Tattoos

 

future of fitness wearables: tattoos

 

Harvard and MIT researchers have combined biosensitive tattoo inks with traditional tattoo artistry to create tattoos that double as biomedical mood rings. The inks change color depending on body chemistry. For an example, an athlete could monitor the status of their recovery, or a diabetic could tell their blood sugar level by the changing color of their tattoo. The applications could go beyond chronic conditions as well: temporary tattoos for short duration monitoring (like for hospital stays or surgical recovery), or for situations where continuous health monitoring is needed for a specific duration (for athletes in physical therapy or for experimental patient trials).

How a city app changed the way I pay for parking (and why I don't even mind spending more money)

As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about payments, I’m well aware of the impact of frictionless (or invisible) payments. Recently I witnessed a change in my spending habits due to payments innovation.

 

A decade ago Amazon revolutionized the ecommerce world with its one click checkout and countless merchants followed this trend -- or at least tried. Technology behemoths and Silicon Valley startups lead the way with innovative payment methods that make our shopping experience seamless.

 

While the retail and ecommerce world continue to race ahead, government and utilities are only now catching up. I’ve never been a fan of cash and much less nickels and dimes, so the fact that we have to pay parking meters with quarters always put me in a tough spot. Where are the darn quarters! Making a trip to the bank or supermarket to load up on quarters is always a hassle (no ATM gives bills less than $20). As a result, often within the city I end up taking the cab to avoid parking meters.

 

How can I get this important service – parking my car -- without the hassle and unnecessary friction of using cash? Enter the new mobile app - BostonPark which lets me store my vehicle details and card payment info. Whenever I’m near a parking spot it tells me how much parking time is left as well as the street cleaning schedule -- so I can avoid parking fines!. Since Boston has different times for resident parking and metered parking, it allows me to pay remotely if I’m running late. If I decide to stay longer and want to extend the parking time, I no longer have to rush. No more worrying about the dreadful orange violation ticket on my car window shield. The best part – no more scavenging for quarters!

 

This app has significantly changed my parking spending habit. As government agencies introduce more digital services and make payments easier, consumers like me will likely use the government service rather than alternatives (for example, driving and parking instead of taking an Uber). I look forward more frictionless experiences in public services!