Next Frontier for Wearables? Space Exploration Looks to Benefit from Innovation in Tech

“It always ended up feeling like we were having a birthday party or holiday party where no one showed up,” says Jocelyn Dunn at the Wearable Technologies Conference in Toronto, which featured 25 speakers. Dunn is referring to the isolation her and the rest of the HI-SEAS Mission III team faced during an eight-month simulation of being on Mars.

In this case, Mars was on northern slope of Mauna Loa in Hawaii. Elevated 8,000 feet, this harsh landscape helped the small team of six simulate the real life stress and isolation that would be experienced if a team was sent to mars. Tracking the stress and other biosignals of the team members is where wearable technology came in.

“Wearables in space are absolutely necessary in some ways,” says Dunn, who feels that wearable technology can also help create a sense of augmented reality that lessens the severity of isolation and confinement.

Two of the wearable products used during HI-SEAS Mission III were the Jawbone UP wristband, worn 24/7 by the team, and Hexoskin biometric shirts used during workouts. Both these devices were used to track the physical health of the team members.

“If we can automatically detect the health and stress states of astronauts,” says Dunn, “then we can develop countermeasures to improve crew performance and reduce mission risks.”

But even though these products were used for an experience that most wouldn’t be able to fathom, Dunn says many of the wearables developed for space have practical uses on Earth too.

“The technology we develop for space has spinoff applications on Earth,” says Dunn. Many wearables that are developed for space are often found in hospitals, particularly in portable medical equipment.

Christian Stammel, CEO of Wearable Technologies, also sees wearables having a huge impact in the medical world. “Not only is there growing consumer interest in these products but they can assist to improve people’s lives,” says Stammel. “For example, wearables can give a lot of freedom back to people with chronic diseases. Patients who have to go to the practice or hospital regularly can wear wearables to reduce the number of visits to the doctor considerably.”

While many wearables, like the ones Dunn used during the mars simulation, may not be something that the average person would ever use, wearables are becoming increasingly popular.

“Smaller, smarter, sexier is what we we predict for the future wearables,” says Stammel. “Products will be considerably thinner and less obtrusive.” Stammel says that almost every tech company is adding a wearables to their roster, the most popular being wristband devices. In fact, the Jawbone UP wristband used in the Mars simulation is a popular wearable device for fitness buffs.

Dunn feels that these wearable devices have benefits for all, and can generally improve the quality of people’s life.

“This research is toward monitoring and managing the stress and exhaustion of astronauts to improve mission performance, says Dunn. “In general though, developing these stress management technologies is helpful for everyday citizens as well.”

Best Buy Boasts Largest Selection of Wearable Technology in Canada

This holiday season, Best Buy is introducing the largest selection of wearable technology and accessories in Canada with more than 200 products ranging from fitness trackers and smart watches to brain-sensing headbands and pet wearables.

Expanding beyond just counting calories and steps, wearables have grown to include several new and exciting categories making these products the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

To help introduce this growing category of wearable technology, Best Buy enlisted the help of Canadian comedian to help de-mystify these exciting new products. Through a series of funny videos and blogs, Debra tests out the Muse, Fitbit Charge and Moto Pet 200 Trainer in a variety of different scenarios showing how they work, different and unconventional ways they can be used and why wearables are going to be a huge trend this holiday and beyond.

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“We are proud to bring the largest selection of wearables and accessories from the best brands to Canadians this holiday. Fitness trackers and smart watches are still extremely popular, but now we have even more categories like pet wearables, sport technology, health tech, and headwear,” said Zayn Jaffer, Director Emerging Business Best Buy Canada. “We know that this new technology can be confusing and intimidating. Having someone like Debra demonstrate these products and have fun with them in a light-hearted way is a great way to introduce Canadians to this exciting new category.”

Best Buy stores across Canadahave launched new in-store sections dedicated to wearable technology as well as a new online wearable tech hub with everything you need to know about wearable technology including blogs, product reviews, videos and more. Check it out here

To help customers get set up with their new wearable technology, Geek Squad is offering 90 Days of free and unlimited online support. The service includes live online chat or over-the-phone help with Agents who are standing by to answer any questions and walk you through the set-up of your new technology.

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