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Exploring Wearable Technology

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Exploring Wearable Technology
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Over the last few years, wearable technology has experienced a boom in popularity. You may have heard about FitBit or the Apple Watch, but do you know how they work? That’s what the youth participating in the 4-H National Youth Science Day will find out this year. 4-H is a national organization that focuses on developing young minds in multiple ways, including through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities. National Youth Science day this year (October 4th) focuses on “Incredible Wearables” and allows participants from grades 4- 12 to design, build and experiment with their own wearable technology.

How It Works

What is wearable technology exactly? While there are many types of wearable technology, most of them include smart sensors that use an Internet connection to communicate with your smartphone, typically via Bluetooth capabilities. These smart sensors can measure and record your body’s movements, gestures, heart rate, body fat composition, perspiration, body temperature, muscle activity, distance traveled, speed and sleep patterns through a combination of gyroscopes, GPS, and other sensor types.

In addition to motion-based fitness trackers, there are other types of wearable technologies with different goals. Wearables such as the Apple watch, for example, can help you stay connected when it might be otherwise inconvenient to hold your phone. For example, it can give you directions when you’re riding a bike. Different types of wearable technology can also be used for safety (GPS tracking and alerts), convenience (can store payment information so you can pay at the tap of a button) and gaming (understanding your gestures and interpreting them on screen) in addition to tracking and recording your body’s health metrics.

How It's Used

Though many popular wearables are worn on the wrist, advances in technology have led to several different variations, including sensors worn around your neck, in your clothing, and even around your finger in rings that look like regular jewelry. The development of Virtual Reality (VR) technology also has expanded the use of wearable technology with head displays and other movement sensors that allow users to use real-world movements to explore virtually.

How to Participate

This year, 4-H clubs across the nation will be conducting an experiment to design their own wearable technologies. 4-Hers will use and build their skills in technology, computer programming, physics, art and engineering to examine wearable technology issues and solutions. You can find out how to participate in 4-H's National Youth Science Day here

There are many opportunities for the future of wearable technology. Future wearable digital design can help interpret the measurements that wearables make for us, coaching us to improve our fitness and productivity. Youth such as those participating in 4-H's National Youth Science Day will be the ones to capture this opportunity, and help shape the future of wearables and other life-changing devices. HughesNet is proud to partner with 4-H and to be a part of the experimentation and exploration that could create a brighter future for technology. 

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