One of the earliest uses of a wearable technology was recorded during Emperor Nero’s rule over the Roman Empire from 54 to 68 AD. A brutal leader, the emperor enjoyed watching his gladiators fight in crowded stadiums. As Nero watched his fighters battle, he was confronted with a problem – the glaring sun made it difficult to see. He was fashioned a pair of spectacles made out of a polished green gem to protect his eyes and to make it easier to watch the bloody fights unfold.
Fast forward to modern day and wearables look a lot different – from the FitBit to smart watches, wearables and digital health are ushering in an era of big data and personalized solutions to health problems.
Even though wearable technology has changed dramatically since Nero’s time, Lux Research analyst Noa Ghersin said at last month’s Medical Sensor Design Conference that the essence of a wearable device remains the same.
“Whether it has to do with augmenting our eyesight or augmenting our clinical decision making, the idea really was to augment the human,” she said.