Wearable technology feels like it’s a brand new phenomenon, but the modern age of fitness trackers, virtual reality, and smart rings has been decades in the making. It only feels new because the devices have finally achieved mainstream success. But even though it seems like everyone has a Fitbit on their wrist already, wearables are going to become much bigger. By one analysis, 148 million wearables will be sold in 2019.
The first commercially sold digital, wearable device was humble. The Hamilton Pulsar was just a digital watch that displayed the time in glowing red letters when you pressed the button. It was moderately successful — American president Gerald Ford even owned one and wore it frequently. Over the next few decades technology companies tried to produce wearables that the public would love. Most failed. But within the last few years wearables have transformed from a novelty to everyday devices.
If you want to see the long and winding road to wearable success, check out this infographic from WearableZone. It reveals some of the most interesting milestones in the lead up to the wearable age.
I was kind of disappointed that the “infographic” didn’t mention the Casio DB-1000, which was an amazing “touchscreen” watch that came out in the mid-1980’s era. I had one, and it amazed everyone I showed it to back in the day! You could actually “draw” numbers and letters onto the faceplate of the watch as input. If you entered the “calculator” mode, you could draw a “one” on the faceplate, then a “plus” sign, then another “one,” then an equals sign, and BLEEP, the calculator would display the result!!
I don’t think there was anything else at the time that came close to that technology, at least in the “for masses” sense.
I’m pretty sure I bragged about my own “Casio DB-1000” in an old “Armchair Arcade” thread.
Anyhow, I enjoyed the article (and the infographic!). 🙂
For 1984/85 technology, the DB-1000 is indeed amazing. It’s a shame there wasn’t much in the way of follow-ups. We could have had PDAs earlier and maybe even smartphones earlier.