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80 The PCB Magazine • June 2015 In 2012, Google introduced Google Glass, which essentially extended the functionality of a hand-held smart phone to a pair of eye glass- es. It was the next step in seamlessly integrat- ing information technology with our personal lives. With Google Glass, one can walk down a street with total awareness of the environment while viewing emails, getting weather reports or searching for the nearest restaurant. The inven- tion of Google Glass was the kickoff to perhaps the next explosion in products called wearable technology. Wearable technology is not exactly new; sophisticated hearing aids, bio-feedback devic- es, insulin pumps, blue tooth technology, and other wearable products have been around for decades. What is different today is that the elec- tronics are smaller, faster, smarter, lighter and less expensive, all of which allows easy expan- sion to more applications. Wearable technology may be the logical ex- tension of the advancements in mobile tech- nology, which is currently taking the form of glasses, watches, rings, wristbands and ear in- serts. It is starting to move into clothing such as gloves, socks and even shirts. Ideally, wearable technology enables us to use sophisticated information devices in a "hands free" mode, allowing us to operate more efficiently and safely. But it is much more than just "hands free"; it also enables more efficient monitoring and tracking. Applications for this technology now include law enforcement, medical, bio-technology, consumer, home au- tomation, health and fitness, and military. New products and applications for wearable technol- by Dave Becker all FlEx all about flex Wearable Technology and Flexible Circuits FeAtuRe Column

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