Category Archives: Wearable Technology

Embedded Sensors and the Wearable Personal Cloud

Embedded Sensors and the Wearable Personal Cloud

The Wearable Personal Cloud

Wearable tech is one avenue of technology that’s encouraging cloud connections and getting us all onto interconnected networks, and with the continued miniaturization and advancement of computing the types of wearable tech are always expanding and providing us with new opportunities. A few years ago, smartwatches were rather clunky devices with their computing power quite obviously on display, but today the sleek devices that adorn our wrists offer as much style as tech capability. How long until the stylish eyewear sported offers more than protection from UV rays, and the clothes we’re donning provide insights into our physical condition?

Wearable Tech & The Cloud

Much of wearable tech’s advantage is in the data it’s able to collect, store, and ultimately send out for analysis. The cloud plays an integral role in wearable tech, not least of all the management of the data. Moreover, with advances in connection methods, battery life, and cloud infrastructures the insights we’re able to take from all of this collected data are enhanced, just as the time to realization is shortened. In fact, much of the intelligence wearable devices feed back can now be achieved in real time thereby strengthening the advantages. Without the cloud, wearables may be relegated to the awkward corner, requiring far more user interaction and administration than most are willing to give, but as the cloud makes wearable communication a smooth, sleek, and autonomous procedure, so too does is provide the added profit of connection to social media networks for even more personal and insightful gains.

Wearable Tech & Mobile Computing


According to researchers and infographic discovered via the University of Alabama at Birmingham, wearable tech could be heading in the direction of a ‘wearable personal cloud.’ With the latest in embedded sensors advancing smart clothing, nodes would be able to communicate effectively with smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets, and UAB researchers suggest that small computers, perhaps ten cheap and petite Raspberry Pis, embedded within a smart jacket would mean mobile devices could do away with complex and powerful processes as, instead, they become “dumb terminal devices” connected to the smart jacket mainframe. Says Ragib Hasan, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer and information sciences in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences, “Once you have turned everything else into a ‘dumb device,’ the wearable cloud becomes the smart one. The application paradigm becomes much more simple and brings everything together. Instead of individual solutions, now you have everything as a composite solution.”

The wearable personal cloud proposed by Hasan and his colleague, Rasib Khan, is a step ahead of smart clothing in that the system model can be extended to items outside of the clothing set. It’s proposed that these devices could be linked together into a shared cloud which would provide invaluable information in emergency and disaster situations. Suggests Hasan, “With seven to ten people wearing such a cloud together, they create what we call a hypercloud, a much more powerful engine. The jacket can also act as a micro or picocell tower. All of its capabilities can be shared on a private network with other devices via WiFi or Bluetooth. If a first responder is out in the field and doesn’t have complete information to act on a mission, but someone else does, it can be shared and updated through the cloud in real time.” Additional benefits of this wearable personal cloud come into play with monitoring and maintaining patient health status in hospitals, and furthermore, personal data could be retained within the wearable jacket, thus providing better data security and privacy.


Today, the idea of a wearable personal cloud is drawing attention, but with such rapid progress it’s hard to imagine what the next few years will bring. Some experts believe wearables will in fact morph into ‘implantables’ in the not too distant future, and it’s possible that much of the work put into today’s wearable tech will be supplanted with the future’s implantable tech. For now, most of us are more comfortable being able to take off our smart devices as we choose, and innovators still have a way to go before the general public agrees to build technology into themselves.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

IoT Device Failures

I have, over the past three years, posted a number of Internet of Things (and the broader NIST-defined Cyber Physical Systems) conversations and topics. I have talked about drones, wearables and many other aspects of the Internet of Things.

One of the integration problems has been the number of protocols the various devices use to communicate with one another. The rise of protocol gateways in the cloud service provider market is an incredibly good thing. Basically, this allows an organization to map sensors and other IoT/CPOS device outputs to a cloud gateway that will connect, transfer and communicate with the device – regardless of the device’s protocol of choice.

Racing out of the Gate


What the new gateways do is remove integration as a stumbling block for ongoing and future IoT solutions. Pick the wrong horse in the initial protocol race? With a gateway, it doesn’t matter. You can, over time, replace the devices deployed with the orphaned protocol and move forward with your system. The cloud service provider protocol gateway gives you the flexibility to also consider deploying multiple types of sensors and protocols, instead of limiting your organization to one.

The question going forward is this: does the integration provided by the gateway give rise to the broader concept of an IoT broker? This is where the services offered by IoT devices could be parsed out and shared within organizations and companies that are members of the broker. Think of it as being like a buyer’s club for sensors.

From my perspective, the issue that keeps me awake at night is IoT device security. For the most part, IoT devices are often ‘fire and forget’. Yes, occasionally, you may have to change a battery or replace a cellular connection. Sometimes you may have to update how the device is deployed. Others just aren’t going to be attacked because you won’t gain anything. I read an article that wrote about hacking the river monitoring system, causing a flood downstream. I thought about that for a long time, and I realized the reality of flooding is we know when it coming and everyone would be out there with manual measurements anyway. That would work. There are other ways to create an effective attack through the IoT.

It is the security of IoT devices that will become more and more troublesome. Firstly, because the number of them is growing rapidly. From 10 billion or so deployed in 2015 to more than 40 billion devices deployed by 2020. That’s 4 times the devices in the next 4 years.

If we consider the reality of devices, that means that many devices that are deployed today will still be deployed in 4 years. The cost of devices and often the capital expenses for hardware are spread over 3 to 5 years. That means a growing number of devices will be already deployed by 2020. It isn’t a run to the cliff and then leap into 40 billion deployed devices.

2 Billion Device Failures


What scares me is that there are 10 billion or so devices deployed today. Logically, 2 billion of them will fail. 2 billion more will be replaced naturally. That leaves 6 billion devices deployed with the security solutions of today – that will rapidly become obsolete. That is a fairly expensive number to replace. The gateways mentioned earlier in this article will suddenly appear again. Today, they represent a way to bring multiple IoT protocols together. In the future, they will become the best line of defense for deployed devices.

Deploying secure solutions at the gateway level will be the best defense against attacks for IoT devices that do not have integrated security. The next-best thing would be the deployment of devices with easily removed security modules, but that is a consideration for upcoming devices – not ones deployed today.

A secure IoT future – enabled by a simple cloud gateway.

By Scott Andersen

Negotiating Wearable Device Security

Negotiating Wearable Device Security

Wearable Device Security

Recent studies have highlighted gaps in security and privacy created by wearable technology, with one report by the US Department of Health noting that many of the new devices available which “collect, share and use health information are not regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).” With personal information collected and shared more than ever, regulations managing the security and privacy of such data have a hard time keeping up with the potential risks and this particular report suggests, “To ensure privacy, security, and access by consumers to health data, and to create a predictable business environment for health data collectors, developers, and entrepreneurs to foster innovation, the gaps in oversight identified in this report should be filled.” Pertinent questions, however, remain. Who is responsible for ensuring adequate privacy and security concerns are addressed? And precisely where are all of these gaps?

Widespread Concerns


Concerns aren’t only for the vulnerability of health data, though it should be understood that much of this information is highly sensitive and necessarily requires the provision of first class security measures. Research from Binghamton University and the Stevens Institute of Technology has pointed to the potential for wearable devices to leak passwords. Using data from wearable tech sensors including smartwatches and fitness trackers, researchers were able to crack pins on a first attempt 80% of the time. Of course, some might shrug and suggest they care very little if hackers have access to how many steps they’ve taken on any particular day, but let’s not forget the data available to anyone who cracks the code of a smartwatch, nor how many of us reuse pins across devices. Says Yan Wang, assistant professor of computer science within the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University, “Wearable devices can be exploited. Attackers can reproduce the trajectories of the user’s hand then recover secret key entries to ATM cash machines, electronic door locks, and keypad-controlled enterprise servers. The threat is real, although the approach is sophisticated.”

Business Adoption of Wearable Tech

A range of benefits exists for the adoption of wearable tech within companies, including improved productivity, better employee safety, and enhanced customer engagement. However, the security concerns of wearable tech are as, if not more, pronounced as those which exist in personal environments. Network security, in particular, is put under strain with the appropriate configuration of an organization’s network being a key fortification. Because many of the wearable devices we’re using today have poor or no encryption, data interception is easier and company networks which were otherwise well secured become vulnerable. Moreover, most wearables arrive with software that is unique and difficult to update resulting in an ecosystem of dissimilar devices each with their own distinctive weaknesses, requiring tailored security adjustments.

The Fix?

There is, unfortunately, no one-fits-all solution to the security and privacy issues of our wearables, and besides, any solution today will be in need of updates and amendments tomorrow. But the future of wearables is by no mean a bleak one. Responsible designers and developers are accounting for today’s concerns with more robust security processes for the next generations of devices, and networks are already being restructured to guard against wearable vulnerabilities.

Wang points to two attacking scenarios, internal and sniffing attacks, the first typically perpetrated through malware and the second via wireless sniffers that eavesdrop on sensor data sent via Bluetooth. Solutions to such assaults include improved encryption between host operating systems and wearable devices, and the injection of “a certain type of noise to data so it cannot be used to derive fine-grained hand movements.” And for businesses keen to adopt BYOD policies, the implementation of channels outside of the company network specifically for wearable devices can ensure limited access to sensitive data.

Finding the middle ground between the benefits of wearable device usage and the vulnerabilities they introduce is likely to be a painstaking negotiation at first but the more policies defined and effected, the better networks are delineated, and the stronger wearable encryption and protection becomes, the easier the process will be and the greater our rewards.

By Jennifer Klostermann

3 Groundbreaking Wearables In The Travel Space

3 Groundbreaking Wearables In The Travel Space

3 Groundbreaking Wearables

The advent of wearable technologies had many expecting a utopia free of 20th-century pains such as paper maps, customer loyalty cards, lost luggage, and sluggish airport security.

Unfortunately, technological limitations have prevented wearables from revolutionizing the world. A number of devices struggle with voice recognition: Travel technology company Sabre found that about 16 percent of voice commands were ineffective with Google Glass during tests at an airport. To top it off, GPS in smartwatches and smartphones sometimes misses the mark, and battery life in most wearables is dismal.

If wearable use were as prolific as smartphone use, the potential applications while traveling might be nearly limitless. For now, initial excitement over wearables has not translated to long-term use. While a 2016 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers found about 49 percent of respondents owned at least one wearable, the same study found that daily use of those devices decreased over time.

With data networks everywhere upgrading to 5G, connectivity woes might soon be a thing of the past. Rising interest in virtual reality and augmented reality technologies and Internet of Things applications is fueling curiosity in the devices, and advances in batteries and charging capabilities have the technology poised to break into the mainstream.

Wearables on the Rise

Nearly every tech company has a full line of wearables, and even fashion juggernauts such as Under Armour are moving toward connected clothing. Three main types of wearables are reaching mainstream success, and their applications will revolutionize the way we travel.


1. Smartwatches.

Smartwatches most often connect to mobile phones, although Samsung’s Gear S2 and several pending releases also support separate data plans. This wristwear has a screen and an operating system that makes it ideal for notifications. Activity-tracking bands often sport similar features.

Smartwatches can be used to pay for meals, book hotels or cars, and check the status of flights. Most major airlines already have an Apple Watch app that allows travelers to board by scanning their wrists rather than tickets. Hotel chains are investigating ways to use smartwatches for room keys. And vibrational GPS while traversing an unfamiliar city is invaluable.

2. Smart glasses.

The high-tech eyewear connects to your phone, and headsets such as Samsung’s Gear VR and Mattel’s View-Master VR use smartphone cameras to deliver AR. Several generations of consumers are being introduced to untethered AR experiences, while Google negotiates with retailers and manufacturers to embed its Glass technology into eyewear across the globe.

Travelers will soon be able to use AR to provide interactive maps, travel guides, notifications, and flight updates while they interact with the real world. The technology is still in its infancy, but the smart glass industry will change travel when it reaches full maturity.

3. Wearable cameras.

Wearable cameras are often mentioned in relation to police officers, but tourists could also benefit from this technology. With the small cameras now readily available for a modest price, travelers can get in on the action to document their adventures in innovative ways and share them with friends and family.

In fact, the action camera market already has moved to spherical cameras, with Kodak’s Pixpro SP360 4K camera offering the most compact solution. Using two GoPro-sized SP360s, anyone can capture immersive, 360-degree views of exotic locales from around the world. With social networks pushing for more visual content, capturing and sharing vacation photos will only become easier.

Signs of a Wearable Revolution

Passenger IT Trends Survey found 77 percent of respondents were comfortable with airport staff using wearable technology to help them. That same year, World Travel Market named wearable tech as one of its top trends.

The benefits are clear for travelers: Wearable tech can replace sagging fanny packs and wallets bulging with paperwork. Rather than carrying around credit cards, tickets, receipts, and identification documents, travelers can store and access everything from a watch to glasses to eventually even their own solar- and motion-powered clothing. The technology can help simplify the entire customs process for both passengers and agents.

The devices also should help travel agents respond to increased demand for personalized services. By using the technology to customize holiday packages and enhance communications with clients, wearables could be a boon for the travel industry as a whole.

Smartphones and tablets have fully saturated the market, and interest in technology such as AR and gesture commands is reaching a fever pitch. These technologies are converging for both consumers and enterprises out in the wild as people untether from their desktops and make data-driven decisions on the go.

While the shift likely will have wide-reaching effects throughout society, the travel industry in particular is in line for momentous changes.

By Tony Tie,

tonytie.expediaTony is a numbers-obsessed marketer, life hacker, and public speaker who has helped various Fortune 500 companies grow their online presence.

Located in Toronto, he is currently the senior search marketer at Expedia Canada, the leading travel booking platform for flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and local activities.



The Golden Age

One of the biggest fads in the technology sector right now is wearable tech. From Smartwatches that let you check your emails, chat with friends and search the web, to fitness accessories that monitor your heart rate and your sleep patterns, this is truly the Golden Age of wearable technology.

But some of these innovations are older than you think. Virtual Reality sets like Oculus and VR Lite can trace their origins back to 1963. This is when the idea of bringing the TV screen to you in order to create more depth and more immersion was first proposed. In the 1970s, the first calculator watch was created, and while this is someway from the Apple Watch, the beginnings are there and this was a huge innovation at the time.

(Infographic discovered via Siliconrepublic)


We may be living in an age that is dominated by technology, but a lot of the ideas that you think are new were actually formed many years or generations ago. The Tablet is a perfect example of this. We all think of the Apple iPad as the first tablet, but the name “Tablet PC” was actually coined by Microsoft, who released a similar device back in 1999. And even this device was predated by the Palm Pilot, the Newton and several other mobile PCs.

Of course, for every game-changing invention, there are a few obscure, baffling inventions that really shouldn’t have made it off the drawing board. And as this infographic proves, there have been no shortage of those throughout the last few hundred years.

By David Jester

What Futuristic Tech Will You See In Your Lifetime?

What Futuristic Tech Will You See In Your Lifetime?

Futuristic Tech

The world and what people can do is increasingly being driven by technology. It has already shaped the world we live in, but over the next few decades it is set to shape the world in ways that we can barely imagine.

There have already been some great leaps in IoT technology recently, including home automation, enabling people to control lights, security systems, TV’s and even thermostats from their smartphones.

But what can we expect from the future?

It’s certainly not difficult to see that the world will function quite differently in the next decade or so, and a number of things are developing including:

Implantable technology and the first implantable mobile phone 2023

People are becoming more connected to devices, and those devices are increasingly becoming connected to their bodies. Devices will not just be worn, but implanted into bodies, serving communications, location and behavior monitoring, and health functions.

3D printing and the first transplant of a 3D-printed liver through bioprinting 2024

Many different kinds of materials will be used in 3D printing, including plastic, aluminum and stainless steel.. These will print a huge array of 3D objects including jewelry, toys and gadgets. If that wasn’t enough, in 2024 it’s predicted that 3D printers may create not only things, but also human organs – a process called “bioprinting.”

Artificial intelligence and holographic avatars 2033

Artificially intelligent personal assistants are set to take the form of holographic avatars. They’ll be able to have conversations with you, write emails for you, book appointments, perform tasks, and even anticipate your needs.


To find out what other tech you’re likely to see in your lifetime, take a quick journey into the future. Simply enter your age into this graphic from RS components.

By Brent Anderson

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