The future of wearable technologies

Topics: Wearables, internet of things, privacy.
Type: 
Briefing paper
Publication date: 
June 2021

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Summary

Authors: Kieran Brophy, Samuel Davies, Selin Olenik, Yasin Çotur, Damien Ming, Nejra Van Zalk, Danny O’Hare, Firat Güder and Ali K. Yetisen

Headlines

Issues

  • Medical and wellness devices are subject to differing levels of regulation, with the latter subject to less stringent guidelines.
  • With advances in technology, there is now a blurring of the divide between what constitutes a medical or wellness device.
  • In the wellness device industry, there are growing concerns about the improper storage and transfer of a user’s personal data. No current legislation exists to stop companies from collecting data from each user, which can be used in targeted advertisements and product development.

Solutions

  • The introduction of clear legislation that requires commercial companies inform the user exactly how their personal data will be used, and seek the user’s permission to the commercial use of their data.
  • Clear, concise and up-to-date regulation needs to be issued for wearable devices. Such regulation needs to be published in a form that can be understood by non-specialist audiences such as app developers. This should involve a multidisciplinary approach that includes regulators, wearable tech companies, academia and medical professionals working together to provide the safest and most effective solutions.
  • Imperial College London has the broad range of interdisciplinary expertise needed to develop the technology and is uniquely placed to inform future policy and regulation for wearable technology. With medical professionals highlighting requirements, researchers investigating human-technology interactions, and scientists and engineers implementing ideas into devices, Imperialis already at the forefront of designing the next generation of wearable devices.

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