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Planning Retirement Online

LaterLife TechnoFile

Modern technology has so much scope and power to dramatically improve our lives. However it also changes at an incredibly fast rate, and keeping abreast of what's out there, and how it can help you, is a full time job!

So to accompany the 150+ articles in Jackie Sherman's YoucandoIT Question & Answer series we are introducing a new article series: The LaterLife TechnoFile

Technofile will help you to understand some of the bewildering array of technology available today, and possibly help to keep up with your grandchildren!

Wearable Smart Tech

Wearable smart technology is predicted to be one of the next big technology trends. With this, lots of companies are investing in research for this market from the really practical and helpful, to the totally bizarre; for instance Sony’s ‘SmartWig’ (computer device to be worn in your hair) which is still in development where it will hopefully stay.

The list of wearable smart technology is rapidly gaining in length but this article will look at some of the potentially most useful and popular devices.

Microsoft's HoloLens

Smart glasses

What is Google Glass?

Well it works similar to a smart phone but operates hands free using a head mounted display. It enables you to do everything you could with a smart phone, including making calls or receiving emails but has added benefits enabling the user to dictate texts and navigate using turn by turn directions with the use of a small screen. Other advantages to using Google Glass includes setting reminders which display right in front of you so you can’t ignore them as well as being able to video record your fitness, for instance a bike ride from a first-hand perspective.

However ‘Google is to stop producing its wearable technology Google Glass in its present form… [the company is] still committed to the idea of smart glasses,’ as reported by The Guardian.

With the halt of production of its current Google Glass release; it will be interesting to see what a new edition could bring and the popularity it might bring. This innovation doesn’t appear to have taken off yet, something that is highlighted by the amount of people you won’t have seen wearing Google Glass and possibly due to their high price. But this is a project with the potential to make smart tech more accessible for technophobes if it keeps the interface simple

With Google’s withdraw more companies appear keen to join the market, for example Microsoft is launching the HoloLens headset. This pair of glasses would create holograms in front of you with an aim to make technology more personal.

Fitness Trackers

Fitness trackers seem to be gaining in popularity and one of the most popular brands to create these is Fitbit. Fitbit boast that they have a product for everyone with bands that focus on improving your general health with step and calorie tracking; and more advanced versions that can be used to track activities. The Fitbit HR for example also monitors your heart rate continuously as well as monitoring your sleep. Each band can then by synced up with a computer or your smart phone so that you can monitor any progress you are making which has huge motivational benefits; as well as guilt tripping you into being active if you haven’t been on that bike ride you were meant to have been on over the weekend.

Fitness trackers aim to supplement your exercise and provide you with the details of your training. They also offer you the chance to share your information with others so that you can compete with friends, again encouraging you to make the most of your exercise routines. This teamed with badges that can be earned for completing goals helps make fitness a little more fun.

Smart Watches

One purpose of a smart watch seems to be to stop you from looking for your smart phone. They are connected to your smart phone so can deliver your messages and send you alerts all on your wrist, easily accessible, something your smart phone hidden at the bottom of your bag isn’t. Although you can’t actually make a phone call with them yet, they relay the information to you so you can make the choice to pick up the phone or ignore a call.

However smart watches are now starting to go further than just mimicking a smart phone. They are now focusing on other things you would want to check on the go, for example weather forecasts as well as displaying reminders and navigation features.

One example of a smart watch is the Pebble Steel, which has its own App store. The integration of an App store means that you can download all sorts of applications for your Pebble smart watch; fitness and sleep tracking apps we well as remotely controlling the music being played through your phone. They even have a Starbucks App which enables you to swipe your watch to pay for your coffee. This demonstrates the versatility smart phones have and indicates that paying for things with your watch and not your card might become something of the norm in the future!

Smart clothes

Imagine a piece of clothing that could measure your heart. Sounds futuristic but it has been imagined and developed, with professional athletes beginning to use smart clothes. Due to the proximity of clothing to our skin, smart clothes can reliably measure vitals using ECG (electrocardiogram), which means recording the electrical activity of the heart. This basically means smart clothes are clothing embedded with digital materials, offering medical and not just a fitness ... As is increasingly expected with wearable smart tech, this technology can be synced with your smart phone to monitor results.

Adopting wearable tech appears to be something we should do, not only to keep up with technology, but because it can prove helpful especially for fitness conscious people. The aim of this technology commonly seems to be to ease current technology and to support the user. Imagine being on holiday in New York and completely lost, no worries the trusty smart watch can navigate you back to your hotel. Need to measure your heart rate for health reasons? Why not use a fitness tracker so your Doctor will have a continuous amount of data to draw from?

Previous Articles:

Automating Automotives
Solar Power
National Home Security Month
Can technology ever replace people in the care industry?
Planning Your Holiday - Online
Techno Phone not Technophobe
Bio-Printing: What it is and what does it mean?
7 of the Best Free Healthcare Related Apps

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