If you want to trace back to the original wearable technology, you’d have to go back to the 1200s when eyeglasses were first invented. Next was the pocket watch, abacus ring and about 40 years ago, calculator watches. The 1990s ushered in pedometers and I remember wearing my Casio EXW-50 pedometer watch that let me count the number of steps on a run.
Fast forward 15 years and companies like Nike, Apple and Fitbit were introducing the first activity trackers that would synch with a computer. Just a short time later Garmin introduced a GPS enabled watch and in 2009 I was vacationing in Rome, Italy and was able to upload a run around the coliseum and view it on Google Earth.
Today we’ve seen the wearable market explode with devices and companies that have come and gone. Familiar names such as Apple, Fitbit, Garmin and Polar have been joined by Sony and Samsung.
As these companies have grown, so has what their devices can do. In just 25 years, we’ve gone from stopwatches and step counters to wrist based devices that can detect and impending heart attack or seizure and alert your doctor that your COPD is worsening.Both Fitbit and Apple have been credited with alerting users to seek medical help when dangerous heart abnormalities were detected before anything bad happened. This technology has progressed so rapidly thatthe FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health released a Digital Health Innovation Action Planto develop a fast track approval program. Over 200 companies applied to participate in but only nine were selected including Apple, Fitbit and Samsung.