If you ask two people what health technology will look like 10 years from now, their answers will likely be completely different, but this much is certain—wearable technology is the future of the health industry.

Ten years ago, no one could have predicted that there would be watches that can not only tell time, but also track workouts, monitor heart rates, read text messages and check the weather. But that’s exactly what’s happening. Today, more than a million people have watches that double as fitness trackers.

With the ground of wearable technology so fertile, new biosensing wearable technology is sprouting up at a previously unseen pace. In fact, in the near future, more people will wear technology on the outside that resemble tattoos, and the day when we wear them on the inside is coming soon too.

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The history of wearable technology in healthcare

Bio wearables evolved from wearable computer technology. A wide range of products have emerged or are being developed in this category, covering numerous aspects of human physiology.

Modern wearable technology dates back to 1975, when the calculator watch was launched and became a phenomenon. But of course, that pales in comparison to the newest wearable, the Apple Watch.

Healthcare wearables came on the scene in the 2000s, when as a part of Kevin Warwick’s Project Cyborg, his wife wore a necklace linked to his nervous system through an implanted electrode. The necklace shifted between red and blue depending on the signals Warwick’s nervous system was sending.

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The 2010s saw a significant rise in health wearables. From Google Glass and Nike’s Fitness Tracker to augmented contact lenses, the field has been revolutionized.

Pew Research Center survey done in 2012 found that 69 percent of adults monitor at least one health indicator, such as their weight, and 21 percent said they used some form of technology to keep track of that indicator. In a 2014 report, Endeavour Partners reported that one in 10 US consumers over the age of 18 owned an activity tracker such as a Fitbit. In 2015, the wearable health market became crowded, with companies making wearables that track movement, heart rates, and even sleep.

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Though wearable technology in the healthcare industry is still evolving, its future has been predicted. IDTECHex says wearable and embedded devices will be common by 2025.

The economics of wearable technology in healthcare

By the end of the decade, wearable electronics will match the healthcare market, with new technologies and devices promising billions of  dollars of sales potential. In fact, wearables have the potential to be the next market after mobile phones. And with the wearable market becoming a $75 billion dollar industry by 2025, healthcare will be the largest sector to benefit from the wearable craze.

With big companies like Google, Apple, Sony, Motorola, Nike, Adidas, WebMD, Fitbit, Johnson & Johnson investing in and manufacturing wearables, market analysts are excited and optimistic about the future of this market, making estimates for it that range from $9 billion to $60 billion. Even high-end jewelry brands like Swarovski are manufacturing tracker-like wearables.

Investments are pouring in for wearable manufacturing companies. Specifically, the US wearables market is attracting investors due to the market’s growing emphasis on preventative care and value-based delivery. For example, Fitbit’s B2B sales have shown that the corporate customers are turning to wearables to take advantage of their monetary value and to encourage general fitness.

A 2015 Rock Health report finds that funding in digital health 2015 surpassed 2014, with wearables trailing only personal health tracking devices.

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But wearables are still finding their place in the market. Highly specialized products are too personalized for markets and generic utility devices don’t provide enough value to users.

The ideal balance would require a decent degree of utility, a reduction in cost of the key enabling technologies and an increase in functionality. The perfect example is the fact that Fitbit outsells the Apple Watch.

Present day wearables are a window to the future

With the rise in 3D printing and augmented reality, wearables are getting better, more innovative and more cost-efficient. Here are some of these wearables that you will surely find in the coming years.

Fitbit

The Fitbit Charge HR continuously monitors heart rates to offer more accurate feedback on activities and calorific burn than any other tracker in this industry.

Athos

Athos is the leading manufacturer of smart workout clothes. Their garment’s built-in sensors track muscle effort and activity and then send that data to a smartphone app, giving real-time information about how the users are doing and performing.

Google Smart Contact Lenses

Google is making contact lenses with the aim of helping people with diabetes by constantly monitoring the glucose levels in their tears. These contact lenses will come with a built-in virtual assistant that can analyze tears to understand a person’s emotional reactions, predict thoughts and intentions, and even react accordingly. They will provide wearers with what they need before they even know it.

Spire

Spire is a breakthrough product in the field of healthcare as well as in wearables. A one of a kind wearable, it claims to reduce stress by 50 percent. Designed by Stanford University’s Calming Technologies Lab, Spire can be used to pinpoint tension levels by measuring breathing patterns and counting steps taken throughout the day.

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