Wearable computers, also known as wearables, are electronic devices worn on the human body. The classic example of a wearable computer is the digital wristwatch.
Over the past forty years, the field of wearable computing has advanced to include more complicated devices. Early devices such as the prototypes developed by inventor Steve Mann (pictured in the early 1980s) are comical compared to the wearable devices of today. However, these early devices were important steps in getting to where we are today.
One of the defining features of all wearable computers is that they are always on: there is no need to turn them on or off. Another common feature is that wearables are multitasking devices: they are designed to be used while doing something else. Modern wearables include networking features, connect to other devices such as smartphones, and may even run their own operating system.
Examples of modern wearables
- The Android and Apple Smartwatch that can connect to a smartphone to display SMS, Twitter feeds, and other information.
- Health fitness trackers that connect around your wrist, ankle, or chest.
- GoPro camera for filming action sports shots.
- The Pebble, a Smartwatch which connect to a smartphone and can run its own apps.
- The iPod Nano, which is light enough to be worn on the body; sixth-generation Nanos can be worn like a wristwatch.