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Wearable trends to watch in 2023

<a href="">Image by wayhomestudio</a> on Freepik
Image by wayhomestudio on Freepik

We are in an extremely exciting time for wearable tech as the industry is moving at a rapid pace and after a decade of incredible progress, is finally starting to deliver significant and tangible benefits, pushing boundaries and disrupting broken health and wellness status quo. The last year was filled with an abundance of innovations and advancements in this space; which have been demonstrated through the application and increasing adoption of wearables within the health and wellbeing sector.

The global demand for wearable technology is estimated to have reached $74 bn in 2022 and is projected to grow to $86 bn in 2023 (Grand View Research, 2021). Some innovative wearable progress has already kicked off the year with recent announcements such as the drop of the new Oura ring competitor Evie, and the BehaVR and OxfordVR Merge. Read on to discover our predictions about even more cutting-edge wearable trends to watch as they take shape in 2023. Some of the trends mentioned below may be familiar to you, but they are still valuable areas to watch due to the ever changing nature of this space.

1. Remote patient monitoring

To kick off our top trends list it has to be: remote-patient monitoring. It is becoming increasingly common for wearables to be used to support patients outside of a traditional clinical setting, and to support the planned virtual ward infrastructure. Patient monitoring with wearables can provide patients with noninvasive and automated ways to periodically monitor vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, SpO2 and temperature. Wearables are also capable of tracking activities and sleep patterns, which can be used to inform treatment plans and detect potential health issues. Wearables are now being used for predictive and preventative health care, and to monitor chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

Although innovation in the remote patient monitoring sector in the UK has yet to reach its full potential, there are a growing number of startups working to develop tools for this purpose. One example is Pneumowave, a company currently in the research and development phase of creating a wearable device and platform that aims to prevent deaths and reduce hospital admissions by analysing physiological signals in real-time. Pneumowave plans to use funds from a recent £7.5 million Series A funding round to speed up clinical validation and secure regulatory approvals for a future product launch. Another company, Doccla, is also working on a remote patient monitoring solution in the form of a virtual ward platform, where patients can input their vital signs for doctors to access remotely. The key highlight for us is that vitals monitoring devices can be accessible to patients of almost any physical and mental ability.

Overall, we believe remote patient monitoring has the potential to greatly benefit patients and healthcare providers alike. The future of remote monitoring is bright, with improved patient outcomes and reduced healthcare costs. As remote monitoring becomes more prevalent, patients will have access to more efficient and non-invasive ways to track their health, leading to early detection of potential issues and ultimately, better healthcare outcomes.

2. FemTech wearables

We couldn’t highlight key wearable trends to watch this year without mentioning FemTech, technology designed specifically for women’s health. Whilst FemTech is still considered to be underfunded, the sector has seen incredible growth recently and is expected to reach even greater heights over the next few years. With the help of technology, women can better understand their bodies and make more informed decisions about their health. As more companies enter the market, we can expect to see even more advancements in FemTech that will benefit women's health. From menstrual tracking apps, to devices that monitor fertility, support breast feeding, and make key health appointments that can be stressful, like mammograms, more comfortable.

The creation of wearable sensors, such as femSense, have provided a hormone-free option for women to measure and record body temperature throughout their fertile window with the use of their sensor patches. The recorded data can be transferred to a phone using NFC, radiation free technology which allows the femSense app algorithms to analyse the data, and then display the fertility status in the user’s calendar. But FemTech is not just about personal use devices, it also includes improving the portability and usability of medical equipment.

Isono health, for instance, has developed a compact ultrasound scanner that makes mammograms less uncomfortable and more accessible for women. Their fully automated, hands-free scanner captures 3D images of breast volume and shares key data to a mobile app. The continuation of wearables like this could provide non-specialist clinicians with diagnostic tools and be utilised in various settings such as at home, or clinics. At Thrive we have been fortunate enough to have collaborated with companies such as Moonly and Zedsen to help target the gender health gap and provide support towards women's health. We are excited to be part of this growth and see how FemTech will continue to develop. We plan to keep banging the drum for funding and singing FemTech’s praises this year.

3. Hearables

It is estimated that over 1.5 billion people worldwide have hearing loss (WHO). With more than a billion teenagers and young people at risk of hearing loss due to their use of headphones, earbuds, and exposure to loud noise, researchers have warned (BMJ Global Health). We believe wearables could support this cause through the development of wearable devices aimed at tackling hearing health. We previously noted hearables in our wearable trends for 2021 and explored where these devices could take us with Thrive’s CEO, Jacob Skinner. Jacob stated these developments in hearables as “consumerization of medical technologies” and that is exactly what is continuing to happen as we move into 2023. Hearing aid technology has advanced to the point that it can be found in consumer products such as the Apple AirPods Pro earbuds. These earbuds have incorporated sophisticated sound technology similar to what, previously, could be found only in hearing aids. This has made it easier for people to access and benefit from such technology.

In response to the warnings from researchers, we anticipate an increase in more companies developing new strategies to impact existing and developing markets for hearables, and other wearable devices that aim to target these concerns. Companies like Neosensory already provide wearable devices that resemble a wristwatch that have the ability to mimic the ear’s cochlea through sending vibrations to the brain. This allows users to ‘feel sound’ as they experience speech via vibrations on the skin. The wristwatches can also aid in reducing tinnitus, and to increase sound awareness to reduce chance of harm. The technology is still in the early stages, but it's a promising development for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

At CES this year Jabra, a renowned producer of personal and office equipment, presented a range of hearing devices. Among them were the updated version of Jabra's Evolve series, and a new over-the-counter hearing aid product called Jabra Enhance Plus. This device aims to support ear health and combines wireless earbud convenience with advanced hearing technology to address unmet hearing needs. Additionally the product is FDA approved and will empower users to take their first step in approving their hearing health. With the growing concern we think this could potentially result in the lines between headphones, hearing aids and hearables blurring together as time goes on - it’ll be interesting to see if this is the case. To read more about how hearables could revolutionise health monitoring we delve into the possibility of this in more depth here.

4. AR and VR

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology has come a long way in recent years, and the advancements made in these fields have opened up new possibilities for improving mental and physical wellbeing. From virtual therapy sessions to immersive exercise programs, the potential benefits of VR and AR in healthcare could be significant.

Companies like VRHealthy for example, offer scientifically backed VR health and fitness programs for individuals dealing with mental or physical health issues, such as anxiety or depression. This program could be the solution for users who are currently finding it troublesome to attend the gym or struggling to attend physiotherapy sessions. By collaborating with health professionals, VRHealthy have developed a series of VR games and activities that have proven benefits for physical and mental health. Additionally, VR is being explored as a way to improve the quality of life for patients in palliative care. VR allows patients the opportunity to interact with various environments and scenarios that they may not typically encounter. Although it won’t directly treat illnesses, it shows promising potential in giving patients more enjoyment alongside other avenues of treatment.

The potential of VR was backed by a national study, delivered by nine NHS Trusts, including the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH), that found that automated virtual reality technology can successfully help people recover from mental health problems. There are still limitations and barriers that prevent VR and AR being widely used but, we still think this is an area to watch this year as its use grows as a tool in treatment.

We recently shared our findings from a deeper exploration into the advancements in medical education from a presentation by Viraj Shah that took place at Giant Health towards the end of last year. Can digital education truly support the next generation of doctors? Find out here.

5. Smart clothing

Smart clothing is quickly becoming one of the most exciting areas of wearable technology with the market value reaching $1.14 bn in 2019 and projected to reach $6.41 bn by 2027. With the integration of sensors, electronics, and other technologies into clothing and accessories, smart clothing is able to provide a wide range of health and wellbeing benefits. From monitoring vital signs, to providing real-time feedback on posture and movement, the potential uses for smart clothing in healthcare are virtually limitless.

Oxa Life is a brand new, first of its kind, smart clothing wearable that aims to improve users overall health by providing a more holistic approach to stress management. This is achieved through monitoring of breathing patterns and heart rate to provide live biofeedback. The device can be worn with supporting clothing that is embedded with electrodes and sensors for users to comfortably wear all day, everyday. The accompanying app includes personalised exercises to promote mindfulness, as well as a "Calmness Score" based on heart rate, breathing rate, and heart rate variability.

Although, the smart clothing market has some catching up to do in comparison to smart accessories and other wearables with technology advancing at such a rapid pace we expect more innovations will arrive onto the scene.


The creation of wearables like these are necessary and exciting as we approach new ways to support health and wellbeing. But wide scale adoption and normalisation is even more important because it means that more people will have access to the benefits that these devices can provide. At Thrive Wearables, as the leading wearables development agency, we believe these devices are the future. We are keen to collaborate with more companies who are on a mission to help make the world a better place by making exponential gains in improving people’s health and wellbeing through technology.

Please get in touch with us as we offer a varied range of services that can offer expert technical and practical advice to guide you through your development journey and simplify your route to market. We can also help you with the tools to improve your investability and lead you through the prototype validation process. Our end-to-end services also cover software and application development so you can think of us as your complete digital development partner across software, firmware and hardware. Find out more on our services here.

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