wrist wearing health technology

While some wearable technology still seems right off the page of a sci-fi novel (headphones that stimulate your brain’s motor cortex? Yup, they’re a thing.), much of today’s wearable tech has evolved to be practical and convenient enough to improve our everyday lives. That progress is thanks in part to advancements in nanotech, batteries, and microprocessors that have allowed devices to stay small and lightweight for everyday use.

But what’s really driving widespread adoption is the intent behind the implementations. This is helped along by the integration of wearables—how APIs, product developers, and mobile app engineers have made wearable devices more seamless with our everyday lives. Then, there’s the data they collect, and how that data is presented to help us be more productive, proactive, and in some cases, more healthy.

We spoke with top-rated Upwork freelancer and iOS developer Scott Brower to hear about the current state of wearables and how they’re likely to evolve as we head into 2019.

Medical applications: Keeping tabs on health and wellness

Brower says medical wearables offer the most immediate and tangible key deliverable for wearables. “Augmented reality is an exciting massive market yet to be tapped. Healthcare covers not only our fitness but also important diagnostics for physicians to monitor and improve the quality of our lives,” Brower explains.

Medical alert bracelets keep us connected in the event of an emergency, and heart rate monitors and other trackers can gather information to help practitioners better tailor our care plans. “This can be through sensors on a watch or through sensors in new devices like rings, bracelets, clothing or even implants.” As a result, the healthcare app industry is booming, as well.

These devices run the gamut, from the stress-sensing Spire Health Tag to the Muse “brain-sensing” headband which promises to help improve your meditation practice by sensing EEG-based neurofeedback. There’s wearable pain relief with Quell, and the Upright GO Posture Trainer, which gives you gentle vibrations to remind you when you’re slouching.

Virtual reality (VR) headsets: Imaginative, immersive experiences

VR headsets are probably one of the first things you think of when you think about wearable tech. While not an everyday item, VR headsets are proving to have many useful applications, from retail and marketing to manufacturing. These wearables are designed to provide a completely immersive VR experience, so don’t expect to multitask when you have them on.


Sport and fitness trackers make up a huge part of the wearables market, combining heart rate, steps, speed, distance, and altitude to give individuals a full picture of their daily activities.

Whether it’s to track your performance or keep tabs on how much activity you’re getting, or a brain-stimulating device to help you train harder, there’s a device for virtually any skill level, goal, or sport—from running and swimming to cycling and skiing.

Again, it’s the data that really counts. DashTag is designed to track soccer players’ performance and stats—specifically when it comes to sprints—in order to give coaches all the data they need to improve performance. A sensored mouthguard was designed to help coaches detect impact levels that may cause undiagnosed concussions. The data gathered will be instrumental in helping researchers learn more about concussions and how to treat them.

Smart watches and rings: Streamlined interactive wearables

“Of the mainstream devices, watches continue to lead the way and be the most impressive,” says Brower. “They offer the most varied content, from simple email and text to video and voice, to health monitoring sensors. It’s still amazing the amount you can do with a watch without ever taking the phone out of your pocket.”

The apps designed for smartwatches must be tailored to the interface, or they risk failure. “Wearables today are meant to augment a larger phone-based experience, and must be able to do what is needed with limited interaction by the user.”

Augmented reality: AR glasses and smart glasses

Augmented reality is recently on the rise. “Both Apple and Android have frameworks to support augmented reality. Their uses today are experimental but show a tremendous promise to transform many of our experiences,” says Brower.

With AR, you’re still interacting with the world around you, just with a layer of digital augmentation, whether it’s giving you directions, showing you a text message, or projecting a digital image on the world you’re seeing.

“AR will open doors to new ways of learning complex systems, in addition to things like decorating, travel guides, and games,” says Brower, adding that device size will contribute to AR’s adoption. “The continued miniaturization of ever more powerful devices, that when, made at scale, will bring costs down to more affordable levels.”

Device Success Depends on Interfaces and Mobile Apps

As device design and capabilities catch up to our expectations, the future of wearables rests heavily on integrations, functionality, and presenting device data to us in more meaningful ways. Brower says in particular, development should hone in on ease of use and frictionless experiences.

“Whether wearable or not, the ability to easily use these apps or devices determines their success. Difficult interfaces that don’t produce a large tangible benefit will be deleted immediately.”

The Future of Wearables

“In the future, augmented reality devices that integrate seamlessly and don’t make us look like a refugee from a sci-fi film will really transform our lives. They have the potential to change lives beyond the way mobile has transformed our lives in the past decade.”

It’s no wonder that the developers and engineers who have the skill sets to bring these projects to life are in such high demand. So, what skills are required to create the devices and applications that will drive the wearables market forward?

“A strong understanding of mobile ecosystems and development practices is key, but communications, budgetary control, and project management will ultimately determine the success or failure of a project,” Brower said. In addition to IT experience and a decade of iOS development, Brower emphasizes having business sense and creativity are critical. “My projects have ranged from fitness apps that use the phone, watch and TV to social sharing of local news to secure messaging and location tracking to children’s animated stories.”