You may already be sporting an activity tracker, like a Fitbit or an Apple Watch, to keep a close eye on your daily number of steps, sleep quality, etc. But tracking your activity is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wearable technology. Below we’ve found some of the latest, greatest—and smartest—wearable gadgets designed to also help you stay safe and independent.
This wrist-worn device tracks your steps like activity trackers but it also gives you an easy, discreet way to call for help (simply press a button) in emergency or non-emergency situations. Plus, it helps you stay mentally engaged with daily brain challenges and also features a sleeker profile than traditional fitness trackers.
For those needing closer monitoring, the CarePredict, which is also worn on the wrist, learns your normal activities such as when you get up in the morning, how soundly you sleep and how often you eat. When you deviate from those regular patterns, it notifies a loved one or home health worker to prevent small changes from ballooning into health issues.
Keeping track of the whereabouts of a loved one with memory issues can be challenging with a wrist-worn device or pendant because they may forget to put it on or simply refuse to wear it because it’s too stigmatizing. However, as long as they have on their shoes, these GPS-enabled insoles will enable you to pinpoint their location in case they wander off or become disoriented.
Not only does this watch detect falls and long periods of inactivity in order to signal for help, but it’ll also help you find your way home, remind you to take your medications and more. Simply tell the watch what you need, much like other voice-activated services, and it responds with instructions or calls your emergency contact. No smartphone needed. (Product is expected to be available later this year.)
Other technologies on the horizon
At this writing, many other wearable technologies—from socks that warn diabetics about an impending foot ulcer to wearable airbags that inflate to cushion a fall—are in the development and funding stages. As the target audience for these technologies grows, expect the number of these smart gizmos to grow right along with it, along with their functionality and ease of use. The Jetsons aren’t looking so futuristic anymore, are they?