(Contributed by Eilif M.)

Compendium: Smartwatches

When was it invented? Modern smartwatches emerged as a fitness tracker called the Nike FuelBand in 2012.  Other key players in the development in the smartwatch include the startup Pebble along with technology giant Apple with the Apple Watch in 2015.  [2]

Who Invented it?  No one person invented the modern smart watch.  Several companies including Pebble, Sony, and Apple has been instrumental in bringing the smartwatch into the technological vogue.  [2]

What is it:  Smartwatches are the leading product in the new “wearables” technology class.  By connecting to a smartphone, a smartwatch bring information and alerts right to the users write.  Most smartwatches hive built in vibration.  Using vibration as an assistive technology for the deaf is not new.  The smartwatch brings the wrist vibration alerts to a mainstream technology offering.  Wrist wearables can be divided into two categories, smartwatches and enhanced fitness trackers.  Even the mid-level fitness trackers now have vibrating alarms, notifications, and on screen text display.  Smartwatches, and their close coupling to smartphones enable more advanced notification and interaction with smartphone apps.  [1]

One app that is adapting smartwatch technology to the deaf community is “I See What You Say.”  This app uses the microphone in the watch along with the processing power in the phone to deliver realtime speech to text readout on the watch [3].  This makes realtime captioning less intrusive than other technologies since the content is delivered to the user’s wrist.  Both the watch and the smartphone now support application development opening the door to endless innovation.


Work Cited

[1] Gilbert, Mat. “How Deaf People Can Benefit from Wearables.” Hearing Like Me. Hearing Like Me, 21 Apr. 2017. Web. 07 May 2017.

[2] Lamkin, Paul. “Smartwatch Timeline: The Devices That Paved the Way for the Apple Watch.” Wareable. Wareable Ltd, 10 Mar. 2015. Web. 07 May 2017.

[3] “Smartwatch Apps for Deaf Children.” National Deaf Children’s Society, n.d. Web. 07 May 2017.

[4] WikiCommons (photo source)


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