2014 promises to be in the sign of wearable technology.
Manufacturers are thinking hard about the ways to put the technology we use into the things we wear. Currently, the most popular tech wearables come in the shape of watches and wristbands.
Some of the gadgets that everyone’s talking about are Pebble, the smart watch that was a wearable hit in 2013, and now comes in a thinner, more elegant and design; LG Lifeband Touch, a fitness tracking gadget which will be launched in a male and a female version; Filip, a watch and phone for kids that can be used to track children and to make calls to a limited number of family members; Sony’s Core SmartBand, which syncs with an Android app called Lifelog to tell you all you want to know about the number of calories you’ve burned, the number of steps you’ve made, etc.; and Netatmo’s June UV-sensor wristband that measures exposure to ultraviolet light and warns the wearers when they’re approaching their daily limit of UV exposure.
Also popular are devices that are worn on the head. Google glasses were one of the most talked-of gadgets of 2013. The interest in this kind of wearable computers has waned lately, probably because they are pricey, and because everyone looks ridiculous wearing them.
Still, manufacturers are not giving up and smart glasses like Vuzix M100, GlassUp AR and Meta Pro Smart Glasses are hitting the market.
Moving wearable gadgets away from the head and the wrist onto the other parts of our body seems to be one of the main challenges for the manufacturers.
Fitness fanatics who positively abhor wrist or arm bands can opt to snap on an ankle band on one of the pair of special Sensoria socks. The device will tell tem all about how they are performing. It will even give them tips on how to improve morning runs or golf swings.
Another clever non-wrist and non-head wearable device is called Kiwi Move. Small and unobtrusive, it can be clipped under a shirt collar to tell you… how you slept, how far you walked, where you have been, how much money you spent, how many calories you consumed, etc.
If a small clip-on is too discreet for you, you can always go for a wired mood-sweater that flashes LED lights of different colours depending on how you feel: blue when you are calm or relaxed blue, yellow when ecstatic or blissful, red when nervous or in love, and so on. (Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve!)
The rumour is that Microsoft is developing a high-tech bra designed to measure the wearer’s emotional state and send a warning if the system thinks she is likely to succumb to a round of emotional eating. The developers are now facing a big hurdle: how to adapt the gadget for men (boxers or briefs seem like an obvious choice, but these items of male underwear are too far away from the heart).
What next, you might ask?
Beauty technology, naturally. Just imagine: you blink while wearing your false smart eyelashes… and TV channels change! Or, you snap your fingers while wearing your false smart fingernails and… the doors open!
Things like that are already happening. Those in the know say that by 2020 tech wearables will be everywhere, so get ready to let them into your life.
Still sceptical? Remember: many thought that cell phones were just a passing fad.