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Wearable Technology Keeps Growing In Places You Wouldn't Suspect

So maybe you have a fitbit zip or the flex or one and maybe you love it. But it might be time to get a new one.

The Fitbit Force has only been on the market for a few months, but it's already making all other fitness wearable tech devices look out of date.

The Force, which is available via Fitbit.com for $129.95 is part watch and part fitness tracker, displaying everything from the time to fitness stats directly on its OLED display. The wearer can access fitness info by touching a button on the left side of the display; data is shown for a few seconds before disappearing.

According to the Fitbit designers, for a wearable device to be successful, it needs to do much more than just work: It also has to look good on you. And not flashy or weird looking like the google glass, which marks everyone wearing it as a tech savvy early adopter. The design must be able to fully integrate into our day-to-day lives.

Designer, Amit, says "His company has met the challenge of creating such a balance by shifting from traditional industrial design team to an even split with engineers. Now, instead of tweaking a design to make it ready for large-scale production and distribution, they often present clients with entirely new prototypes, streamlining everything from the aesthetic of the device to its electrical architecture".

A challenging question for many of their clients, Amit also adds, is what can fit on the device itself. “How much user interface you really need on a wearable is a big, big topic,” Amit says. “And the answer is…sometimes more, sometimes less. It depends on the functionality, what’s going on between the interface of the device and the app it’s communicating with.”

But once you want more user interface, there are architectural issues like screen size, and the battery size that comes with that size increase. Any object so small will present such a Catch-22, and Amit says that having a design team work on the device from start to finish can help keep the balance. This was never more true than with Sproutling, which has been called “the Fitbit for babies“. This device will track the vital signs of quantified infants around the world sometime this year. Putting a device on your newborn’s wrist is much more intimate than strapping one to your own. “It’s very challenging,” Gadi says, “because the sensors are much more sophisticated and sensitive than a typical pedometer. It is quite a novel idea but will take much work since babies are so small and sensitive.