Special Report: Wearables

Highlighting advances that will turn fitness trackers into viable tools for improving health

15 June 2015
/img/6wIntro-1433954685333.jpg Illustration: Chad Hagen

While wearable fitness trackers have become a popular trend in recent years, they still have a long way to go. This special report describes what is needed to make wearables more accurate, seamless, and better equipped to monitor vital signs—not to mention more enjoyable to use.

Several researchers are vying to make wearables work better by building a platform of self-charging sensors woven into garments that can accurately monitor blood pressure, heart rate, and even airborne pollutants that can cause breathing problems. Another problem with today’s wearable trackers is they not only do too little but also fall short in motivating their users to do more. One specialist with a background in experimental psychology shows how games and social media can help inspire users on a subconscious level to be more health conscious. And we profile IEEE Senior Member Joel Rodrigues, who is developing the networking technologies that will make e-health applications possible.

With all the effort to develop new and improved medical devices, the IEEE Life Sciences Technical Community predicts that the number of jobs in the life sciences will expand dramatically over the coming years. We highlight the skills needed for engineers to enter this interdisciplinary field plus the various products and service to help them get there.


/img/TT1-1434044043548.jpgWhat it Will Take to Make Health Monitors Smarter

Self-powered sensors are being integrated into fabric

/img/TT2-1434044110933.jpgThe Psychology Behind Wearables

It takes more than data to get users motivated

/img/TT3-1434044162014.jpgA Brief History of Medical Scanning Technology

Helping doctors see inside the body for more than a century

Career and Education

/img/career-1434044805163.jpgThe Life Sciences Offer Job Opportunities for Engineers

The field requires people who know automation, imaging, and product safety


/img/blog1-1435071556502.jpgGetting Schooled on Smart Fabric

Expert explains how this textile could be used for monitoring asthma and other medical conditions

/img/quest-1434044996214.jpgTen Ways to Build Secure Software Code For Medical Devices

The IEEE Cybersecurity Initiative issues guidelines to reduce attacks

/img/pres-1434044858324.jpgE-Health: Our New Endless Frontier

IEEE President Michel discusses engineers’ roles in the health care technology revolution

/img/quest-1434044996214.jpgShould Patients Have Access to Their Electronic Medical Records?

The medical community is split on the issue

/img/ask-1434377742997.jpgAsk The Experts: Wearables

Leaders in the field are here to answer your questions

/img/wellnessEngine-1434377994105.jpgThe Engineer as an Enabler of Health and Wellness

The U.S. National Physical Activity Plan sets forth recommendations for engineers to help implement


/img/conf-1434045078266.jpg Conferences on Technologies for Better Health

Upcoming IEEE events cover wearables, biosensors, and e-health

/img/stand-1434044639415.jpgIEEE Standards on E-Health

Applications include 3-D medical imaging and wearable health care devices

/img/walk-1434044578079.jpgLearn About Advances in Health Technology With IEEE Resources

Videos, publications, and a website dedicated to get you up to speed

/img/books-1434044467718.jpgE-books on Health Technologies

They cover medical records, imaging, and simulation


/img/profile-1434044403970.jpgJoel Rodrigues: Making E-health Applications Possible

The IEEE senior member is working on electronic health records, telemonitoring devices, and mobile health apps

/img/blog-1434044921842.jpgIEEE Honors Two Biomedical Pioneers

The inventor of the pulse oximeter and a developer of microchips for cochlear implants and other medical devices are being recognized