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Wearable fitness trackers are on course to change the future of healthcare

According to the Transparency Market Research report, global wearable technology industry had touched US$70 million towards the end of 2012, and is expected to go over US$5.8 billion in 2018. The expanding market and the constant flow of innovations bodes well for the wearable gadget industry, which seems poised to increase faster and gain more.

Will wearable fitness stuff actually work?

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Small sensors have found their way into smartwatches, fitness trackers that measure everything from blood pressure, heart rate to every step you take. The trend initiated with the idea of fitness wearables, and today, they hold a big share in wearable tech industry. It’s a strong market with the future holding high demands in store.

There are reasons to consider the projections of a study published in The Journal of The American Medical Association, which claims that wearable devices seem to appeal to the groups that might need them least. Younger generation shows greater inclination towards these wearables as it’s the newest trend, but they are less likely to need them because of high fitness rate amongst this age group.

Those who really need these tools are likely to rely on them for routine healthcare very soon, but there are limitations bounding the capability of these health tracking devices, i.e., inability to work in real time. They can just assist, record, maintain, and forward daily data for analysis. So, these wearables are perfect for only those who are ready to sweat to remain fit.

FDA steps in to regulate fitness wearables

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An increasing number of wearables with embedded sensors pretending to be medical devices claim to redefine mobile health, but not all of them are so. For instance, wearing a fitness smartwatch that counts your steps isn’t a medical device. To get recognition and permission for sale under the stamp of medical devices, the maker will have to comply with the guidelines published by the FDA.

Under these regulations, wearables claiming to treat or diagnose obesity, eating disorders, treat anxiety, autism, muscle atrophy or erectile dysfunction, etc., aren’t general wellness devices. These regulations will definitely help consumers in purchasing a better health-related technological device in the coming future.

Challenges faced by fitness wearables

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A number of sensors like accelerometer and gyroscope are being incorporate in wearables; the biggest challenge is to meet the demand for lasting battery backup. To utilize and process more data or perform multiple functions, a device needs more energy. The challenge is to create energy- efficient solution. Secondly, the devices need to be connected and functional all the time. Without connectivity, these tools don’t make much sense.

In terms of software, fitness trackers may or may not work with the currently available mainstream operating sytems. Usually, fitness wearables are meant to feed data to smartphones, tablets or computers. The challenge is to compete with attractive interface and benefits provided by other systems like Android or iOS.

While on the hardware side, a wearable fitness device must be lightweight, least obtruding and durable. With delicate sensors and displays, it’s a challenge for manufacturers and designers to create an ultimate product that looks good and delivers better.

Things you need to know before buying fitness wearable

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Like any other product, these trendy fitness wearable can be divided into various categories depending on their capability, specific purpose and requirement of an individual user. You need to know what a fitness tracker is, how it works and what they actually do. You must stick to utility instead of falling for fancy multi-tasking wearables.

Summary

No fitness wearable can work if an individual is not willing to sweat and take protective measures suggested by the device on basis of feedbacks obtained from big data.

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