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DC Bike Party Goes Wearable in May

by on Apr.25, 2013, under Events, Wearables, Wearables News

DC Bike Party Goes Wearable in May

DC Bike Party Goes Wearable in May

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.

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Durex’s Fundawear: Future of Foreplay

by on Apr.23, 2013, under Functional Wearables, Wearables, Wearables News

Fundawear for Men & Women

Durex's Fundawear

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.

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MIT Media Lab’s Proverbial Wallets Changes How You Think About Money

by on Apr.17, 2013, under Functional Wearables, Wearables, Wearables News

Proverbial Wallets from MIT Media Lab

Proverbial Wallets from MIT Media Lab

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.

Bumble Bee

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.

Proverbial Wallet Series: Bumble Bee

Proverbial Wallet Series: Bumble Bee

Peacock

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.

Proverbial Wallet Series: The Peacock
Proverbial Wallet Series: Peacock

Mother Bear

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.

Proverbial Wallet Series: Mother Bear

Proverbial Wallet Series: Mother Bear

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.

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Wearables For The Visually Impaired by Tactile Navigation Tools

by on Mar.28, 2013, under Functional Wearables, Wearables, Wearables News

Tactile Navigation Tools

Tactile Navigation Tools: Wearable aids for the visually impaired.

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.

With demos at this year’s Technology You Can Touch event by NYC Tech Connect and NYU’s Entrepreneur’s Challenge, we look forward to seeing TNT’s products soon!

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Google Reveals Talking Shoe at SXSW 2013

by on Mar.11, 2013, under Functional Wearables, Wearables, Wearables News

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]

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BodyCom Uses the Human Body as a Secure Communication Channel

by on Mar.01, 2013, under Wearables, Wearables News

Introducing the new body electric: Microchip Technology business development manager Lucio Di Jasio.

Microchip Technology business development manager Lucio Di Jasio and the BodyCom

This week at Embedded World, Microchip Technology released the BodyCom Development Kit ($149), a network of sensors that communicate through the human body.

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.

You can read the full press release or check out the demo video on YouTube.

Via [Engineering and Technology Magazine]

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Flexible and Stretchable Lithium-ion Battery Charges Wirelessly

by on Feb.28, 2013, under Wearables, Wearables Celebrities, Wearables News

Flexible Lithium-ion Battery

Flexible Lithium-ion Battery

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.

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USPS Wearables Line (Spring 2014)

by on Feb.22, 2013, under Wearables, Wearables News

usps-logo

The news has been everywhere; Washington Post, Huffington Post, CNN, and even Esquire are talking about it. Clearly the media is raising their eyebrow at the agency’s dubious attempt to come back from their 1.3 billion dollar loss in the first quarter of 2013, and are even poking fun at the idea of tech-ed out Newmans walking around.  Maybe this response explains why the USPS press release, many news sources are linking to,  is giving us the good ol’ 404 (page not found error).

But as members of the wearables community we are always excited to see how wearables crossover to everyday fashion. The Wahconah Group, Inc. , a minority-owned company based in Cleveland, Ohio, will work with USPS to launch this all-weather line of apparel and accessories, called Rain Heat & Snow. Some functionality will include sweat-wicking fabrics and jackets that can sync up with MP3 players. We commend the agency for their segue into future fashion, and are curious to see what other technology they may use.

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Limor “Ladyada” Fried & President Obama

by on Feb.15, 2013, under Wearables Celebrities, Wearables News

Limor "Ladyada" Fried speaks to President Obama during 2013 Fireside Hangout on Google+

Limor "Ladyada" Fried speaks to President Obama during 2013 Fireside Hangout on Google+

During the modern version of Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats, Ladyada, founder and CEO of Adafruit, had an opportunity to participate in a Google+ Hangout to ask President Obama a few questions. While she inquired on patent trolls and the status of the first daughters’ science and technology grades, her question regarding a computer programming language requirement struck us as brilliant. The President responded noting the self-taught Mark Zuckerburg and acknowledged that teaching programming in schools may help those potential Zucks to realize their dreams. We couldn’t agree more.

Check the video below for the full chat. Look for Ladyada around 5 minutes.

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