Wearable technology has advanced quickly in just the few years that it has come to be known as a category. The next wave in this progression is going to come from smart technology that uses the ear as its interface.
Valencell is a company that is pioneering advancement in biometric sensors. Their newsletter pointed me to an article that talks about how in-ear devices are poised to have a huge impact on the smart wearables market.
Enhancing the audio experience through various means of electronic signal manipulation and trickery has been the focus of these hearable devices to date. Companies are starting to look beyond just providing a better sound experience. Real-time language translation is going to burst onto the market very soon.
The ear turns out to be a good place to pick up biometric signals as well. In-ear devices are expected to incorporate the fitness tracking functionality that is currently in wrist-worn devices. With more robust signal-capturing capabilities, the accuracy of vital-sign monitoring should improve significantly, which will enable the devices to be put to use for medically significant purposes.
There will certainly be other applications that these in-ear computers will be suited for, many of them in the medical and health care field. This is a burgeoning, exciting area, with a lot of potential for medical device design.