In today’s clips we learn about Acer’s move to wearable technology, the problems with batteries and wearables, the LiveMap heads up display helmet, and why Apple will dominate wearable technology.
Acer To Embrace Wearable Technology in 2014
Acer is set to enter the wearable technology market next year, joining other top technology firms like Google, Apple and Samsung who have already committed to the field. The Taiwanese computer and electronics firm is working on how to make wearable tech appealing to consumers, which it said is a bigger challenge than the logistics of the technology.“We are looking at wearable, I think every consumer company should be looking at wearable. Wearable isn’t new … it just hasn’t exploded in the way that it should. But the opportunity’s for billions of dollars’ worth of industry,” ST Liew, president of the smartphone business group at Acer, told Pocket-lint.
Batteries Are The Only Thing Stopping The Wearable Device Revolution
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Longer-lasting batteries are crucial for a new crop of wearable computers whose rise may upend Apple and Google’s dominance of mobile devices, two of the field’s pioneers say … “All this wearable stuff is constrained by battery technology. It’s not a computing problem,” Hosain Rahman, CEO of Jawbone, told the Reuters Global Technology Summit on Monday.
Wearable Technology: This Time It’s A $2,000 Helmet
A helmet-mounted display may be available to motorcyclists as early as 2014 … Russian startup LiveMap is working on a state-of-art motorcycle helmet with a built-in navigation system that accepts voice commands …It will come fitted with a microphone for voice control, a set of earphones, a light sensor for adjusting image brightness, and batteries along with a G-sensor, gyroscope, and digital compass for head movement tracking.
Why Apple Will Enter (And Dominate) The Wearable Technology Market
When Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at length to kick off the D11 conference, he ignited a new firestorm of speculation regarding Apple’s stake in the wearable computing market…Clearly, wrist-worn wearables are on Apple’s radar. It’s a booming new technology category, and a sector that’s ripe for Apple’s taking. All Cook and company need to do is harness the same expertise and design savvy that propelled existing Apple product lines to greatness.
In today’s clips we learn about Disney going wearable, the now open-sourced Sony SmartWatch, mind control projects using wearable technology, and a fellowship by Eyebeam for wearable fashion designers.
Disney Gets Into Wearable Tech With The ’MagicBand’
The Next Web
Disney is introducing a new MagicBand device that ties into a new service that allows theme park visitors to make purchases and reserve experiences … The bands are a colorful wrist device made of rubberized plastic that will allow visitors to the park to tap on check in points to enable various experiences. The bands are adult and child-sized units with both Bluetooth and RF technology inside for long-range and short-range reading. The bands can be ordered online and come free with purchases of tickets or packages.
Sony SmartWatch Now “Open-Sourced”
Although the small device didn’t get too much attention from the tech fans when it launched … it may get a little more … with Sony’s recent announcement that its SmartWatch has now become open-sourced.
The Power of the Mind: Five Amazing Projects Controlled With Your Brain
Mind-controlled projects still seem like a novelty, especially since they often require one to wear clunky head-gear. If we look back at the earliest formal expressions of wearable technology, they too went through their awkward adolescent stage in development. With this mind, let’s take a look at five fascinating projects controlled by one’s brain waves. Because ultimately wearables like Glass will only work seamlessly if we actually don’t have to shout commands to our devices.
Eyebeam Computational Fashion Fellowship 2013-4
Tired of surfing the internet for up-to-date info about wearables and wearable technology? Want to know what’s happening right now without blog hopping for hours? Get today’s top stories about wearables and wearable technology here with Webelow Wear News Clips.
A Wearable Alert To Head Injuries In Sports
New York Times
Hard knocks to the head are a constant concern in contact sports — and not just in football or boxing, where recent attention has focused. Millions of girls and boys play hockey, soccer, lacrosse and other sports where blows to the head from collisions and falls are part of the game, even in youth leagues and on high school teams … A crop of new lightweight devices that athletes can wear on the field may help people on sidelines keep better track of hits to players’ heads during games and practice sessions. The devices, packed with sensors and microprocessors, register a blow to a player’s skull and immediately signal the news by blinking brightly, or by sending a wireless alert.
Power Shorts: Shake Your Rear To Charge Your Gear
At the outdoor festival in Glastonbury, England, this weekend, mobile carrier Vodafone will try on its new Power Shorts, which harvest movement to boost the battery life of mobile devices … The shorts — created with help from scientists at the University of Southampton — incorporate a Power Pocket that contains foam-like ferroelectret materials with pockets of permanently charged surfaces. When the material gets squashed or deformed through movement, kinetic energy gets produced. Vodafone says a full day’s walking and dancing will charge a smartphone for more than four hours (not much, but way more than campers can expect from those hawthorn-tree outlets).
Redmond Company Developing Computerized Socks
The socks feel like any other sock until you attach a magnetic anklet that feeds back information, via Bluetooth, to a computer that can not only display waveforms of impacts on the foot, but a smartphone app will eventually give a user audio cues in their ear bud when their running technique is poor. The free app will also display east to understand graphics on how to improve their stride.
Hardwired: New Online Show on Wearable Tech
With the launch of AOL’s latest online show “Hardwired” it is evident that “wearable technology” is the tech world’s latest muse. As expected, the first episode covers fitness tech: the Jawbone Up and the Adidas heart rate monitoring sports bra. The show’s host, Justine Ezarik, takes her fitness data to experts and asks the quintessential question: What does mean? And the basic answer is “You’re healthy and normal.” And there lies the problem with all these tracking devices. They don’t really offer most of us much in terms of actionable feedback beyond pretty bar graphs. They don’t educate us on how to interpret this data over time. And the motivation mechanics are weak at best. In short, the industry has focused keenly on getting the algorithms right to interpret a step from a bump in the road while driving and very little on the user experience.
Linda Franco, co-founder of MACHINA sat down with The Next Women business magazine for an interview where she revealed her wearable technology story. We learn how she and her boyfriend/business partner/role model, Angelo, built MACHINA using the momentum of two prior successful start ups and their passion for fashion and technology. Franco also gives insight to the business model of MACHINA, their target market, and building the team that continues to help their brand. As for what’s next, Franco tells us MACHINA will launch in Japan at the end of the year. Webelow Wear will be sure to keep an eye out for this move and how it affects their growth.
Read the interview transcript.
John Rogers and his team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign improved their first attempt at stick-on electronics tattoos and have created a more durable product to withstand up to 2 weeks of use. With electrodes, sensors, wireless communication the device attaches to the skin with a rubber stamp. Once connected the temporary tattoo reads the users vitals and reports them wirelessly. This means patients who have had surgery can still be under the watchful eye of a health provider without having to physically take a bed in a hospital or sit in a doctor’s office. While research continues to improve the tattoo’s wireless capabilities, Roger estimates that the product should be available for commercial use through MC10 in less than 2 years.
Washingtonians should prepare themselves for a wearable, robotics, and musical display of unparalleled proportions as DC Bike Party hits the streets to celebrate both May’s theme, “Robot Ride”, as well as the release of Daft Punk’s new album, “Random Access Memories“. On Wednesday, May 8 at 8PM the group will begin their 8 mile bike ride from DuPont Circle to U Street sporting the latest Tron and robotics ware. Mobile DJ in tow, these cyclist will pedal to the tunes of Daft Punk songs while riding by DC landmarks before ending at Brixton on U Street.
This isn’t your mother’s vibrator. (Your dad can have one too).
Durex, the condom manufacturer, has upped the sexual ante with male and female underwear that vibrates at the touch of a smartphone.
Each underwear is connected to an iPhone and app. The app interface is either of a man’s figure in boxer briefs, or of a woman’s figure in panties and a bra. With a tap, stroke, or rub of your iPhone, the signal is sent to an Amazon Server, which then sends the same signal and the signal’s intensity to an array of actuators (usually found in cell phones), in the underwear of the wearer. As if the idea of a remote foreplay product wasn’t enough, Billie Whitehouse, a designer on the project, explained Fundawear is made of sustainable materials. Sexy, smart, and sustainable? We like.
From Arduino Mega prototyping to custom made circuit boards, the wearable sex toy is still a work in progress and is not yet available for purchase. A few lucky Australians, however, can get their hands on a free prototype by visiting Facebook and explaining how they would use Fundawear with their partner. We contacted Durex to see if they would include entries from the US or just send a free pair to industry bloggers for proper documenting. Fingers crossed that they don’t say noaiou.
Check out the demo video.
John Kestner and his team at MIT Media lab developed a series of wallets to help consumers control impulsive and often financially harmful spending habits. Most of us use debit and credit cards for our day-to-day transactions, but many of us may not be checking available funds, or balancing our checkbooks on a regular basis to make responsible spending decisions. Enter the Proverbial Wallet Series. The objective of the series is to communicate the user’s financial status in tangible forms to (hopefully) affect the users spending habits in a positive way. So how will a piece of leather and some hardware keep you from falling victim to big-shiny-buy-10-get-1-free purchases? With actuators, control circuits, and Bluetooth communication, each wallet connects to your bank account and uses that information to update the wallet and notify the user through an action.
Using a vibrating motor, the wallet alerts the user of a processed bank transaction with a quick buzz. If you hear too many buzzes, either you’re spending too much money, or someone else is.
If you need a more conspicuous alert, the Peacock may be the Proverbial Wallet for you. This wallet uses an embedded servo to create an “inflated” or “deflated” look depending on your available balance. Got racks on racks on racks? Then your puffed up wallet will show it.
When a vibrating back pocket, or public shaming aren’t enough, the Mother Bear takes wearable wallet protection to a new level. Based on the users budget, the resistance of the hinge and motor in the wallet increases as you approach your budget ceiling. Granted, Mother Bear, won’t stop you from ballin’ out, but she will “nag” you about saving and even stand in the door way of wasteful money spending right before you walk past her and do it anyway.
While all three are still prototypes, a new wallet combining all three functions should be released shortly. We’ll keep you updated.
Check out the demo video.
Dr. John-Ross Rizzo and his team at tech start-up Tactile Navigation Tools (TNT) have created a series of products that include wearable devices to aid the visually impaired. As an active and mobile person with choroideremia, a disorder that causes progressive vision loss, Dr. Rizzo aimed to update the century old white cane with wearable devices that use modern technology.
The Deyenamic is a wearable t-shirt and smart-cane combo that uses sensors and emitters to detect and report obstacles within the user’s path. The cane is equipped with a LiDAR laser, an ultrasound emitter, and an infrared sensor that identifies any peripheral obstructions and communicates these hurdles to the t-shirt. The t-shirt, using electro-active polymers, then signals the user through vibrations sent to the region of the t-shirt the obstruction is closest to.
As one of many smart-canes dependent on other technology like Bluetooth communication, RFIDs, or lasers, Dr. Rizzo separates TNT’s innovation from the crowd with a simple yet effective mechanical cane that answers the question, “what if it all fails?”. The CumbaCane is the same smart-cane used in the Deyenamic, minus all the sensors and emitters. The reversed-umbrella design extends the reach of the traditional white cane with a fan shape of arms around the user. With a static central cane, the additional arms roll on wheels that work with a suspension system to allow the user to detect slight terrain changes like a crack in the sidewalk or the corner of a wall.
Visual impairment is not exclusive to people with medical disorders, however. Recognizing those civil servants who at times, are left visually handicapped in the line of duty, TNT also offers the Eyeronman, a hands free device that holds all the technology of the Deyenamic in one wearable vest. With the Eyeronman, a fireman in a smoke filled room can safely navigate to a victim using the vest’s 360 degree obstacle detection range and communication system. Check the video below for a brief demo.
Inspired by CNET writer Chris Matyszczyk’s article on Google Glass, Rep. Gary Howell of West Virginia introduced a bill HB. 3057 on Friday, March, 22 that would make it illegal to use “…a wearable computer with head mounted display” while driving.
While the bill excludes first responders and people reporting accidents, Howell is not completely opposed to the Google product. He tells CNET:
“I actually like the idea of the product and I believe it is the future, but last legislature we worked long and hard on a no-texting-and-driving law. It is mostly the young that are the tech-savvy that try new things. They are also our most vulnerable and underskilled drivers. We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers. I see the Google Glass as an extension.”
While Howell is not confident the bill will pass, Matyszczyk writes Howell is “…convinced that other legislatures will follow his lead”.
It’s going to be an interesting and on going debate as wearables get more advanced and new products stray further away from light up shoes to more useful and functional wearables. We’ll continue to listen as politicians and wearable developers attempt to balance a world of technology, privacy, and safety that protect users but also, does not stifle innovation and progress.