Misfit Wearables will be coming out with a fitness tracking device in 2013 that is more or less a piece of jewelry with technology inside. The device tracks your movement (running, cycling, swimming, etc.) but the only feedback it provides is via a series of small led’s that tell you how far you’ve progressed in reaching your daily goal. Sort of like a gas gauge or “goal thermometer”. Goals are programmed via smart phone app.
It will be interesting to see how this device is received. I don’t know that a device with such minimal feedback would offer much benefit to me. If I want to check my progress toward my goal, why not just check the app on my phone, which could give me a lot more information? The misfit device could eliminate the led’s and thereby be less expensive.
The Misfit device might be wildly succesful or it might flop. But what it points to is the fact that the components that make up complex, sophisticated technology are getting small enough that the technology can be embedded inside any conceivable form. Rather than being packaged in forms determined by the producer, fitness monitors and other body-worn sensing devices will soon be freed from form constraints. The economic ecosystem of such products could be similar to that of the smart phone/app. The base technology could be placed inside myriad, customized forms to suit each individual user. In a manner similar to app development but for hardware, designers could create unique forms into which the base technology could be inserted. Pendants, clasps, watches, wristbands, etc. Consumers could choose whatever form they wanted. Or possibly even design it and manufacture it themselves using 3D printing technology.