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A Brief History of Wearable Technology

April 10, 2016

Wearable technology is exploding in popularity. But the rise of wearables didn’t happen overnight. In fact, people have been strapping computers to themselves for decades. In the 1960s, a professor at MIT used a wearable computer to beat the dealer at Blackjack in Las Vegas casinos. But the path to the modern age of wearables is long and filled with failed products.

The very first truly commercial digital wearable product was released in the 70s. It was called the Hamilton Pulsar Digital Watch, and was a simple watch that only told the time when you pressed a button on the side. It was shortly followed afterward by a model that allowed you to wear a calculator right on your wrist. Over the course of the next few decades, several companies attempt to produce wearable devices. But most never caught on.

As technology improved and manufacturers gained a better idea of what consumers wanted in wearables, certain products started finding success. Some of the more famous recent examples include the Fitbit, Apple Watch, and the Oculus Rift.
If you want a better idea of how we got the modern wearable age, check out this infographic from Wearable Zone. It documents the rise of wearables from the first digital devices in the ‘70s all the way through 2016.

About the contributor: Logan Strain is a writer, father, and tech lover from San Diego, California. According to his Fitbit, he averages around 7,000 steps a day, but he’s working on improving that.

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