Wearable technology is a trend that is picking up speed among many. One in six people who have heard about wearable technology are using them, 61 percent of these users are wearing fitness bands (Nielsen.com). This trend has grown in popularity since their original release in 2006 with the advent of wearable fitness trackers. In 2006 Nike and Apple partnered to create Nike+iPod. This device was placed in your shoe and tracked time, calories burned and distance ran or walked (sharecare.com). The Fitbit Tracker was launched later and clipped to your clothing, it tracked steps, and calories burned, the intensity of activity and the wearers sleep patterns. All of the tracked information could be viewed online. The Fitbit later expanded with more complex clips and wristbands. The invention of the Fitbit and other wearable technology has inspired the creation of things like Google Glass (sharecare.com). Wearable technology hit its critical mass with the announcement of the Apple Watch. After this announcement every technology company such as Intel, Microsoft and Samsung had a similar device for sale. This saw an increase in interest from users, investors and entrepreneurs. Wes Henderek, an industry analyst with the NPD group stated, “It really signals that the fitness tracker category has finally penetrated the mass market.” This product now appealed to everyone not just fitness buffs (cnet.com).
Before these technologies those who wanted to track their fitness and physical activity used devices called pedometers. The invention of the pedometer can be traced back all the way back Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci designed a device that could track someone’s movement with a moving pendulum that is carried on the walkers back. Years later Thomas Jefferson introduced a device, the pedometer that he got in France. Pedometer have since then been used to track and promote users activity. Pedometers were viewed as practical and acceptable tools for measurement and motivation of physical activity (Tudor-Locke).
The Fitbit has taken the idea of a pedometer and improved upon it greatly. Fitbit devices can track not only steps taken but how many hours you sleep at night and your heart rate. Fitbit offers nine different devices that people can use to track their activity. The Fitbit charge tracks users all day activity, steps taken distance, calories burned floors climbed and total activity minutes. The charge displays the time, caller ID and can be used as an alarm clock (fitbit.com/charge). Fitbit’s newest technology, the fitbit blaze, offers many more options. The blaze can detect your heart rate at rest and during activity, offers step by step instructions on workouts, map your routes for runs, and can show texts, calendar events and calls (fitbit.com/blaze).
Of the 19 million Fitbit users (expandedramblings.com) the majority of users are young adults. Half of the fitness band owners are aged 18-34. Men and women are equally likely to wear fitness bands, while women are more likely to monitor their health with the device. Outside of the use of wearable technology the number of people using fitness applications on their smartphones has increased. Almost one third of all smartphone users have apps in the fitness and health category (Nielsen.com). The following graphs show a breakdown of wearable fitness tracking devices.