Wearable health technology first started in hospitals as a way to help people with injuries heal faster. Now, the trend has gone mainstream and pro-active; one in five online adults uses a wearable device, and the majority of those devices are health-related.
Fitness trackers – If it seems like everyone is wearing some kind of fitness tracker, you’re not imagining it. Fitness trackers allow wearers to monitor key health indicators such as heart rate or calories burned. You can also use them to set and track exercise goals, such as walking a certain number of steps per day, or monitor your heart rate while exercising to ensure you reach a target zone.
Sleep trackers – Getting the right amount of sleep is critical for overall health, so sleep trackers have gained popularity as aids to help people get better rest. Many types are available and some are wearable. Sleep trackers monitor such sleep metrics as REM phases, how long per night you spend in light sleep versus deep sleep, wake times, how quickly you fall asleep, what time you sleep each night and more.
UV detector – An emerging form of wearable technology, UV detectors monitor skin exposure to harmful ultra-violet radiation – the portion of sunlight that causes sunburn, tanning and skin cancer. Multiple versions are under development, and one commercially available detector is a small patch that you wear on your skin and then scan using your smartphone that’s been equipped with a special app.
The app allows you to read the information recorded in the patch so you know your UV exposure, and offers tips for sun safety, including what level SPF sunscreen you should wear. Alternatively, download a UV-detecting app that can give you some idea of the UV index on a daily basis.