Close this search box.

Log in

Top Stories

Abraham-Louis Perrelet was born into a family of carpenters and farmers. Ever curious and seeking more challenges, the young Swiss entrepreneur became a watchmaker’s apprentice at age 20. It wasn’t too long before the horologist created a crude device—the first pedometer. It was 1870 and the debuting device measured steps and distance while walking. The invention was based on a 1770 mechanism that powered a self-winding watch. Accelerometry, the practice of using instruments to measure acceleration, was born.

About a century later, a Finnish university professor invented the first battery-operated fingertip heart rate monitor as a training aid for the Finnish National Cross Country Ski team. In 1978, Polar Electro introduced its first retail product, a wearable heart rate monitor. Within a few years, the company began to offer an optional chest belt and then a heart rate monitor with an integrated computer interface.

Pedometers, smartwatches and smartphone applications now reign in the multibillion-dollar personal wellness industry. Exercise, movement, nutrition and sleep can all be easily tracked. It’s a common practice for humans—and even their pets. Users can track how their bodies react to lifestyle choices, alcohol consumption, smoking, a new diet.

What once was medical professionals’ domain is now the norm of self-awareness and self-advocacy. Physicians and other clinicians can advise patients with increasingly detailed data. Recreational and professional athletes benefit from tracking their physical activity and exercise. Sleep patterns are easily monitored to determine risk factors and change poor lifestyle habits.

The industry nomenclature is “wearables.” Time Computer Inc., under the brand name Pulsar, debuted the calculator watch for the holiday buying season in 1975. The first models featured 18K gold cases and sold for $3,950. A few months later, a stainless-steel model retailed for $500.

More advanced body gadgets arrived in rapid-fire fashion, with new offerings providing multiple milestones. The first Bluetooth headset was introduced in 2000; the first GoPro debuted in 2004. Google Glass, the first voice-operated, optical, head-mounted display product to combine hands-free internet access with augmented reality and the ability to capture images, arrived in 2013.

According to Statista, the Germany-based, data-gathering website that provides insights and facts from 170 industries and more than 150 countries, the fitness tracking industry is practically the definition of booming. The industry’s worth was $46 billion in 2020 and its estimated value in 2024 is $74 billion.

Close to Home

The Wizard Watch, marketed as “the GPS tracking watch for kids,” debuted in 2017. Headquartered in Fort Myers, it’s owned by brothers Dallas and Anthony Vasquez.

“I’m so proud of this technology and hope that other parents value it as much as my own family does,” says CEO Dallas Vasquez. “My kids are growing up fast, and I can’t always be right beside them, but knowing they’re safe, and having the ability to reach each other with the touch of a button, has really been a game-changer for us.”

The GPS-enabled smartwatch features two-way voice and text communications, emergency alerts and activity tracking. The watch links to a parent or guardian’s smartphone and automatically sends updates to let them know their children’s whereabouts. Parents can contact, locate, monitor and protect their children without the risks that come with giving a child an expensive smartphone. The Wizard Watch is affordable and reliable.

“Our product uses live GPS, Wi-Fi and cell tower triangulation to locate your child using our easy-to-use smartphone app,” says Vasquez. “Locate them if they become lost while playing in the neighborhood. Find them if they become separated from you at the amusement park or while shopping at the mall. It’s important to note that you are able to monitor your child’s location without them or anyone around them knowing.”

Gadgets and Gear

New wearable technology is often introduced at trade shows, notably the annual global gathering in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This year’s event featured more than two dozen topics, including augmented and virtual reality, digital health, fitness wearables and wellness technologies. Smart glasses, smartwatches, wearables, fitness and health trackers, smart jewelry and smart clothing were all in the mix.

Smart rings are small and discreet wearables, ideal for people who want to get the benefits of a wearable without wearing a bulky, obvious smartwatch or fitness tracker. Oura, Ultrahuman and Movano are among numerous smart ring brands. They collect most of the same metrics as fitness trackers, including heart rate, steps, sleep and even workouts. The thin skin around the finger is an ideal location to take heart rate readings.

Invoxia, a French consumer electronics company founded in 2010, is known for the design and development of myriad products—from bicycle theft devices to monitoring family pets’ vitals. The latter debuted at CES with the Invoxia Minitailz Smart Pet Tracker. The subscription-based digital health device attaches to any cat or dog collar. It tracks the wearer’s heart vitals, respiration, scratching and other behaviors to detect potential health issues.

Invoxia reports the device can detect canine and feline atrial fibrillation, or AFib, the serious heart condition. The $99 item, according to the company, can track pets’ daily activities—barking to eating, resting to running and scratching to walking.

The dog version has been sold since 2023 on the company’s website (; the cat version debuted in March. The company describes its animal track device as “the first all-in-one wellness and whereabouts solution for dogs and cats of all sizes.”

Copyright 2024 Gulfshore Life Media, LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent.

Don't Miss

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Please note that article corrections should be submitted for grammar or syntax issues.

If you have other concerns about the content of this article, please submit a news tip.