The 21st century has led us to advancements that made everything faster and more convenient. How people lived ten years ago, is far more different than today. We have become accustomed to the idea that everything can be done in an instant.
One of the breakthrough inventions humanity has witnessed, is wearable technology. It brought products in the market that served the people in many ways—be it for recreation, entertainment, communication and even health.
As a refresher, we look back to the definition of wearable technology as a category of electronic gadgets which can be worn as accessories or embedded in a piece of clothing. Most of these devices are used practically as fitness trackers or as smartwatches.
People opt to use a wearable rather than bigger devices since it is handy and less complicated to navigate. However, like any kind of technology brought to life, it has its own advantages and setbacks.
In this article, we take a more balanced look at how these inventions can pose both positive and negative effects to its users.
What can wearable technology offer?
This is probably the most obvious reason why this trend is buzzing. Most of the users are purchasing wearable technology for tracking their physical activities, heart rates, and calorie consumption in a much more comfortable manner.
- With fitness bands, for example, users can monitor their activities while doing routines in the gym or while jogging.
- Users can also use these devices as a substitute for their smartphones or computers since they do not need to remove the device from their pockets.
- Users can quickly receive calls and send text messages through their smartwatches.
Wearable technology records real-time updates, as it is used to track health progress. This feature will enable the user to have paperless and accurate records and access this whenever, wherever.
- Some wearable technology is used within the medical context to ensure that practitioners are capable of having reliable reports.
- GPA-enabled cameras can also record the user’s activities during holidays or vacations thru photographs or videos.
With the presence of wearable technology, communication channels are added, and users can have more options of how they want to talk to others.
- If there are issues met while using other handheld devices, then wearable technology can be the immediate answer to all these.
Apparently, there’s no question of what benefits wearable technology can offer its users. What is listed in this article is just some of the many benefits a user can get once he or she gets his or her hand on wearable technology.
It may have a different purpose for each user, but one thing is for sure, it is beneficial in each of their lives, no matter how the user utilizes its features.
However, putting aside its benefits, there is another heating debate relating to wearable technology. People are buzzing if this innovation could pose a health risk to its users.
Most people are arguing if just like other bigger devices (e.g., computers, tablets, and smartphones), could the dangers of this technology outweigh its benefits? Could this little invention become a cause of long-term severe diseases?
What gives wearable technology power?
Wearable technology devices use low-powered radiofrequency (RF) transmitters to receive and send information and data to the internet or smartphones.
Some devices also use Bluetooth technology similar to a “hands-free” feature of smartphones. In some cases, Wi-Fi can be used to expand its functions to the user.
These elements might sound too complicated but these things, do not necessarily impose any direct health risks to the user.
In fact, the RF transmitters in wearable technology operate in a shallow power level compared to other handheld gadgets. It also sends signals typically in streams or pulses for a short period only, which allows the user to become exposed to minimal levels of radiation over time.
Additionally, there has been no approved claim or study that even these amount of radiation can be causes of serious health risks, contrary to popular belief.
Smartwatch and Fitbit users can now be merry!
However, there are still some risks involved whenever you use a wearable technology. Although these do not necessarily pose serious health risks, there are still some hazards which users can be very prone to while using wearable technology. Listed below are some of the dangers:
- Dangers of theft
These devices are worn by the user, making them more susceptible to theft and might eventually put their safety at risk.
- Smartwatches and fitness tracking devices are mainly worn on wrists which makes it very easy for thieves to steal and risk the user.
- Aside from smartwatches and fitness tracking devices, there are also GPS-enabled cameras, digital glasses and other medical devices which are also very easy to steal since these are handy and lightweight.
- Risks of privacy
Given that the user’s information is synchronized between these small devices, privacy safety is at more significant risks.
- More so, data from fitness tracking devices are frequently, sold for commercial purposes that have an effect on the user’s insurance rates.
- There have also been studies showing that these machines are indeed prone to hacking.
- Since most of the users are using wearable technology almost as a substitute to other handheld devices, information stored in these small devices are of high importance.
- Some experts even believe that in the future, companies might use wearable technology to track employees’ productive hours and whereabouts during their working day – information that is sometimes too private for anyone else to know.
- Risks of bodily injuries
In instances of malfunction or defective design, the user can experience injuries while using these devices.
- As an example, a user can develop allergies while wearing any of these devices.
- If untreated, these injuries can bring about other significant consequences to the users.
As a final note:
Indeed, there is no such thing as absolute goodness in this world—be it a person, thing, or experience. In the context of new technologies, each has its perks and downsides. It’s up to you whether the good it brings outweighs the negatives it can cause in the long run.
In our pursuit of things that can make our lives fast and easy, health and safety should never be compromised. As prime movers for all technological advancements in the society, we, humans, should establish safe limits on how much we would want to depend on our lives on science.
With the birth of these wearable technologies, we hope that you do not to put discipline and responsible ownership aside. Let’s be open to the possibility that, these small devices possess a power that has the propensity to make or break us.
As we indulge into the promise of comfort these devices can offer us, let’s take practical steps to keep ourselves safe and free from any harm.
When using these wearable technologies, know your limits. When the situation doesn’t require the use of such high-tech features, keep it. If you can accomplish tasks in a more traditional way, then do so. Don’t jump into a trend without carefully assessing how it can change your lifestyle. Be objective. Most importantly, be a responsible user.