It seemed like a few years ago, wristwatches had gone away entirely. Since there’s a smartphone is almost every pocket, everyone preferred to learn the time by glancing at their personal screen. But overnight, devices appeared on people’s wrists again. But this time they were fancy smartwatches and fitness trackers that logged steps and beeped with notifications. While the rise of wearable technology seems like it just happened in the past few years, it was actually decades in the making.
The story of digital wearables starts in the 70s, when the very first digital watch was released: the Hamilton Pulsar. By today’s standards it’s pretty primitive. It’s just a watch that told the time in bright red numbers. In fact, it only worked when you pressed a button on the side. But it was cool and high tech enough to be a favorite watch of President Gerald Ford.
Throughout the years, tech companies tried to create wearables computers that the public would love. But most failed. It was only in the last few years, as chips become smaller and more powerful, that hits like the Fitbit were produced.
Want to know more about the long and winding road to a wearable world? Check out this infographic from WearableZone. It tells the story of wearables from the Hamilton Pulsar all the way to Oculus Rift.