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.
The world of Wearable Makeup has added some competition for Soomi Park’s show stopping LED Eyelashes. We were very impressed with Park’s fashionable wearable lashes, but we are excited to see the latest improvements to the idea.
Diana Eng, of Bravo’s Project Runway Season 2 fame, continues to innovate the fashion world with wearable projects, and has added LED Lashes to her long list of accomplishments. Eng created these upgraded lashes for Jeri Ellsworth, winner of the 2012 Makey Hero Award, at the 2nd Annual Makey Awards at World Maker Faire.
Eng’s lashes are a bit more dramatic with the use of feather lashes, and there’s no inclination sensor like Park’s lashes. We found most notable, however, the consideration to decreasing the footprint of the project. Powered by a coin-cell battery, the wires between the LEDs and battery are much more subtle than Park’s project. Additionally, the idea of pinning the battery (wired to the LEDs) behind the Jeri’s ear with wig tape and masking the pinned battery with Jeri’s hair is creative and clever.
We wonder if the next iteration of LED Lashes will be a wireless pair?
MACHINA, a group of independent developers and designers living in Mexico, has created the Midi Controller Jacket ($285-$2600), an advanced functional yet fashionable wearble, that transmits music notes to a speaker based on the user’s movements and interactions with the jacket sensors.
[Insert sped up record rewind sound here]
This means beat makers with dancing skills, or dancers with a penchant for music making can create killer beats with the pop-and-lock of an arm. Potentiometers, four push buttons, a flex sensor, and a joy stick can be configured by the user through a mobile app.
Making music not really your gig? No worries, because their fully funded kickstarter video explains that MACHINA is also working on a HACKSTORE with open source code, where users can upload their own presets and programs to add more functionality to the jacket like mixing videos or interacting with a Kinect.
With a ton of other products under their belt, including thermochromic t-shirts (that remind us of this interesting Polar Ice Cap Shirt), MACHINA is definitely a group of wearables celebrities we’ll be looking out for.
Check out their demo video below for more information.
Google may have stolen the show (in our wearable opinion) at this year’s South by Southwest Conferences & Festivals when it unveiled the Talking Shoe. With the help of an interactive collective YesYesNo, and Studio 5050, a multidisciplinary design and strategy studio, the shoe offers words of encouragement (or disappointment) in response to user data received from an accelerometer, gyroscope and pressure sensors. This “conversation” can also be shared through Google+.
In it’s current state there are no practical uses for the shoe. In fact, it was developed as part of Google’s Art, Copy & Code, a collaborative project that partners with innovative types to help branding and marketing work better with the technology. Basically they are trying to figure out how to advertise in “cool” and “modern” ways while you’re trying to watch YouTube or skip lame songs on Pandora.
But there are clearly so many places this shoe can go. Strangely enough, the Webelow Wear Team, a motley crew of skateboarders, musicians and tech-geeks, were debating how cool it would be to have sensor laden sneakers and skateboard that when used together, would assist boarders on everything foot placement to busting a tre. Kind of like Skataviz by Design I/O but with more instruction for the user to accomplish tricks. And as a nod to Google, it could replicate the sounds of skaters smacking their boards when you successfully land a trick, and conversely, the sound of boards being broken when you failed 100 consecutive attempts.
Check out the video for the Talking Shoe below.
[Via All Things D]
The technology is similar to that of an access card you use to enter a secure location (your apartment, dorm, or office building). The difference being, instead touching your card on the receiver pad by the door, as long as the BodyCom mobile device is in your possession, you only need to touch the receiver pad with a body part.
Lucio Di Jasio, business development manager at MicroChip Technology, explained that BodyCom is already being used in different applications. “One customer has a bike helmet – the bike won’t start if you’re not wearing the helmet”, says Di Jasio.
The wearables industry recently got an incredible push in the right direction when Nature Communications published the work of researchers Yonggang Huang of Northwestern University and John A. Rogers of the University of Illinois.
Huang and Rogers led a research team to create a flexible lithium-ion battery that is stretchable up to 300 percent of it’s original size. This innovation is music to the wearables-world’s ears as the chunky footprint of a power source has has been a frustrating design hurdle. Using this battery, designers can consider a wider range of wearable designs since this battery can mold to the surface of a body (human/animal body part, the lining of a purse, etc.) and withstand the movement of that body (a running leg, a opened/closed purse, etc.).
Not only does this battery provides limitless design options, it charges wirelessly!
Interested in how it works? Check out Ben Coxworth of Gizmag for a great explanation. Visit Nature Communications for the full published study, and check out the video below for a demonstration of the batteries’ flexibility.