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Next Big Thing: Wearables: Moving beyond fitness

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Next Big Thing: Wearables: Moving beyond fitness

2:13 /

CNET's Brian Cooley explains why the fitness bands that measure our stairs, steps, and sleep will soon be joined by devices that measure blood sugar, gait, and muscle tone.

[MUSIC] Finally, fitness wearables. Now we've talked about these before but there's something new brewing out there, a trend you can either call more intimate or more invasive. First, some perspective on this market. New research from IDC suggests about 19 million wearables are gonna ship in 2014. Those are tiny numbers compared to smartphone shipments. Small even compared to tablets. But 3X what went out the door in 2013, and on track to be doing 120 million units a year by 2018. [MUSIC] Now you might think something like the Footlogger is just a fitness device. And it can do that as a smart insole. But it goes beyond that. They say it can also be used to coach a runner. To run differently, to land differently, to ease joint pain. How about detecting a fall in the elderly? It's excellently aimed at doing that. or even going as far as detecting early onset of early Parkinson's disease, which is also typified by some subtle changes in a person's gait. The Tao Wellshell. It's an oddly shaped looking fitness monitor. Because it does more than just that. It's also sort of a pocket gym that you can exercise on. Doing isometric muscle tension exercises. So it can tell you your fitness level. Suggest exercises that'll improve it, and then reflect those back to you as you make progress. Then there's the Google Contact Lens, which can measure blood glucose levels, but not by blood contact. [MUSIC] By eye contact, and that solution around your eye. It would then send that information to your smartphone, which could be running a real time meal planner app. So you keep your blood sugar exactly where it should be, all day. If you're in a high range, it might immediately notify you and medical providers. If you're in crisis range, it might go straight to your emergency contacts, or even notify EMTs. Google promises whatever data comes off this product, should it come to market, would not be aggregated with all the other stuff they have on you. Well, let's hope so. I watch this category with great interest. Because it could move fitness wearables from an area that most of us just give lip service to, which is everyday fitness. We always tend to put it off and minimize it. Instead, moving this technology to have a real seat at the health and medicine table and increasing it's relevance and importance to our everyday lives. [MUSIC]

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