Wearable Tech & Homeland Security: A Wrapup of What Went Down at SXSW

Welcome to the inevitable rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), ladies and gentleman, where wearable technology tracks your activity and communicates data to your network through intuitive connectivity. It’s synonymous with everything “smart” — phone, car, home, appliances, health, and on and on.

South by Southwest just wrapped up the Interactive portion of the festival where wearable tech and personal security was a hot topic. The Department of Homeland Security’s Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers and Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Robert Griffin hosted a session about the development of new wearable technology for the public safety community. Dr. Brothers opened the session with a Ted Talk on how wearables will revolutionize the security on all levels, from personal to public.

Announcing EMERGE

EMERGE is a new pilot program created by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) and the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT). It is part of a larger DHS S&T initiative to “engage entrepreneurs in finding innovative ideas that address the unique needs of the Homeland Security community,” according to the CIT.

DHS S&T and CIT have teamed up with startups Tech Wildcatters and TechNexus to reinvent research and development strategy. The partnership will help emergency responders react more efficiently to boost safety through the use of wearable technology. The wearables are currently in research and development and design modes.

Health Sector

Data collected from smartphones and mHealth devices can be triggered by a personal monitor and sent to emergency medical responders. For example, a heart monitor can flag a patient’s cardiologist when a possible problem arises. The doctor can then determine if the patient should go to the ER.

Emergency medical information can be monitored and stored in smartphone apps like Apple’s Health App for iPhone 6. Not only that, but the app is capable of taking vitals, analyzing sleep patterns and giving medical ID access to emergency providers through a locked smartphone.

UnaliWear Inc. introduced a smartwatch at SXSW specifically designed for seniors. Always connected and with an easy speech interface, the watch can detect falls and redirect wanderers. It keeps the independent elder in check and offers discreet confidence.

First Response

The Los Angeles County Fire Department utilizes a mobile app called PulsePoint to find CPR-trained good Samaritans who can quickly respond to a nearby emergency situation. In addition, the mobile CPR program alerts responders to necessary nearby medical equipment like defibrillators, explains the LA Times.

Wearable Drones

Some chatter about wearable drones centers around the ability to take a selfie, however there are bigger things on the horizon for the little flying machines. SXSW wearable tech sessions highlighted drones that can help someone find their way when lost; wearables that can hover above your head to filter out air pollution; and drones that can go seek help when the wearer is in danger. These concepts are coming strong and fast.

Although wearable tech is vulnerable to instability and compromise, for now we’ll let the Department of Homeland Security worry about that while we geek out over how wearables can be a positive force that can potentially save lives due to the ability to increase personal security.

Visit The Dig for more highlights from SXSW.

Wearable Tech Gaming Cypher