In today’s clips we learn another smartwatch (from an Apple provider!), a new wearables technology contest, and a workshop for educators using e-textiles.
Apple Supplier Foxconn Cooks Up Its Own Smartwatch
One of Apple’s key suppliers has beaten the company to the punch with its own smartwatch. At its shareholders meeting on Wednesday, Foxconn, aka Hon Hai, demoed a smartwatch that can wirelessly connect to an iPhone to display incoming phone calls and Facebook posts, Want China Times has reported. The watch can also keep track of your heartbeat, respiration, and other vital signs. And if your vitals aren’t tip-top, the device can even offer advice on how to get them up to snuff. More features are on the horizon. Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou said his company’s wireless and medical research divisions plan to add fingerprint recognition in order to monitor your personal health, Watch China Times added.
element14 Gets Into The Fabric Of Technology With Its Latest Challenge
Wall Street Journal
…As one of the hottest topics in global technology and with the first products starting to appear on the market, element14 is challenging engineers and developers to design and develop their own piece of wearable technology. The global competition will focus entirely on technology integrated within clothing and wearable accessories, and aims to encourage a deeper level of integration than those demonstrated by first-generation wearables such as the Pebble watch and Google Glass. element14 have selected Adafruit’s FLORA kit to provide the computing platform for the challenge. The FLORA allows designers to create products that are far more integrated and less expensive and opens up wearable technology to a wider group of users where potential designs could include a tracking device for the elderly or vulnerable, a cycling jacket with built-in visibility sensing lights or gloves that operate as hand-worn data terminals.
Hacking Education: Free STEM Workshop For All Educators
Tech Valley Center Of Gravity
Jeff Branson, Education Outreach Coordinator for SparkFun Electronics in Boulder, Colorado, will show teachers, librarians, and other educators how to introduce STEM topics using easy and inexpensive art-based electronics projects like e-origami and e-textiles. This technology is being used in classrooms around the country and is accessible to a number of populations. Educators can receive up to four hours of professional development credit for this workshop. The Tech Valley Center of Gravity in Troy is a new makerspace serving offering classes to the public and access to tools and equipment for members. While you’re here, find out what TVCOG can offer educators, and let us know what you would like to see! SparkFun (sparkfun.com) is a popular online electronics retailer with an active and growing Department of Education (learn.sparkfun.com), offering online and real-life tutorials and classes.
In today’s news clips we learn about a wearables project that knits your brainwaves, a wearables inspired product for your car, and that wearables retailers, SparkFun and Adafruit plan to discuss initiatives that help kids to learn electronics at an early age.
This Is Your Brain On Bach: Knitic’s Brainwaves Wearables
…Knitic is the collaborative project of artistic duo Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet, a pair who have existed in the fine line between art and tech since 2009. Their Arduino-hacked knitting machine records brain states via an EEG headset to be converted into a knitting pattern for a scarf. The wearer’s activity measurements of level of relaxation, excitement and cognitive load while listening to Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.” The resulting data yields a stiching pattern, which—in addition to being a great garment for chillier climates—also captures visually the unique act of listening. The team chose to bypass the electronic control of the Brother brand 930 knitting machine models opting for real-time control and modification of patterns by putting in their own arduino control system.
Dash Is Like A “Fitbit” For Your Car
Dash Labs … is developing an on-board diagnostic reader that plugs into a car’s port (usually under the steering wheel); it can then track the car’s performance in real-time. The device, which connects to a smartphone app, can detect how many times you are too hard on the brakes, and when you’re speeding. It can even tell if the airbag has been deployed, after which it automatically notifies a pre-programmed emergency contact…Dash is still in beta, and has been tested on 300 different car models in the U.S., Canada, France and elsewhere, collecting some 15 million data points from drivers… The product showed its potential by already detecting problems with some drivers’ engines before the engine light went on.
The Engadget Show 44: Education with Google, OPLC, Code.org, LeapFrong, SparkFun, Adafruit And More
It’s time to rethink the way our children learn. It’s all a bit overwhelming, attempting to restructure the age-old classroom model, particularly in a system as bogged down in bureaucratic red tape as education. This month, however, we packed up our things and toured the country to find out how educational institutions are adopting new models to help reinvent the learning process — rather than sitting idly by, waiting for the system to change around them. Naturally, technology is playing a huge role in that shift, moving from models of teaching to models of learning, where students can explore, express themselves and learn at their own speed.
In today’s news clips we learn about a pill that monitors your health, a solar powered dress, and a new report forecasting the wearable market through 2018.
Disruptions: Medicine That Monitors You
New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO — They look like normal pills, oblong and a little smaller than a daily vitamin. But if your doctor writes a prescription for these pills in the not-too-distant future, you might hear a new twist on an old cliché: “Take two of these ingestible computers, and they will e-mail me in the morning.” As society struggles with the privacy implications of wearable computers like Google Glass, scientists, researchers and some start-ups are already preparing the next, even more intrusive wave of computing: ingestible computers and minuscule sensors stuffed inside pills.
Wearable Solar Dress Turns You Into A Walking Power Plant
When it comes to wearable technology these days, you cannot deny the fact that Google Glass looks set to be the next big thing among the tech savvy (with plenty of spare change to drop, of course), while the other potentially explosive wearable technology that might appeal to the masses has something associated with fashion – case in point, this wearable solar dress by a designer from the Netherlands. Known as the Wearable Solar project, it is helmed by Christiaan Holland and Pauline van Dongen, who worked in tandem with a team of researchers in order to come up with solar cells that are flexible enough, they can be easily embedded within clothing, turning you into a breathing, walking power plant along the way.
Research And Markets: Wearable Technology Market Report – Forecast to 2018
Wall Street Journal
Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/5jfbs7/wearable) has announced the addition of the “Wearable Technology Market – Global Scenario, Trends, Industry Analysis, Size, Share And Forecast, 2012 – 2018″ report to their offering. This report covers the global wearable technology market size and forecast to 2018 along with their application in different end-use segments such as wellness and fitness, healthcare and medical, infotainment, industrial and military. The performance of wearable technology applications across different geographical regions namely, North America, Europe, Asia and RoW (Rest of the World) has also been covered in this report.
In today’s clips we learn about a new process for making conductive fabrics, a list of time saving wearables, energy storage in textiles, wearable tactile displays, and Sketchers light up shoes.
New Process For Rendering Paper And Textile Fibers Conductive with Aluminum
Korean researchers have now developed a new process for rendering paper and textile fibers conductive with aluminum … Current techniques like printing or vapor deposition are not applicable to fibrous materials because it is not possible to produce a continuous pattern. In addition, these methods are very expensive … Researchers have now developed a simple, affordable approach for making conductive textile and paper fibers with aluminum. The paper or textile fibers are first pre-treated with a titanium-based catalyst and then dipped into a solution of an aluminum hydride composite solution. The catalyst is needed to allow the subsequent conversion of the aluminum compound to metallic aluminum to occur at room temperature. The materials are not simply coated; in fact their fibers absorb the solution. This means that they do not have just a surface layer of aluminum, but are fully saturated. This produces papers and textile fibers with excellent electrical conductivity that can be bent and folded as desired. They can also be cut to any desired shape and size and simply glued or sewn onto an equally flexible support.
Time Saving Must Haves: Wearable Electronics For Busy People
… As we have all become more and more dependent on smartphones, developers have caught on to the idea that time saving electronics for busy people really might be the wave of the future, with a a whole heap of new devices hitting the market. Check out these wearable electronics and let me know which ones make your must-have list!
Textile Energy Storage
This research focuses on electrical energy storage solutions for textiles and wearable electronics, a fundamental challenge for designers of smart textiles and wearable technology. As a solution to this problem, we are focusing on supercapacitors, made with activated carbon material. When combined with low power energy harvesting devices as power supply, they can eliminate the need for batteries in application such as wireless sensor networks.
That Buzz You Feel May Soon Be Your Clothes Talking To You
Next Power Up
A senior research scientist at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and a designer of wearable tactile displays, Lynette Jones, has created an array that accurately tracks vibrations through skin in three dimensions. The array contains miniature accelerometers and pancake motors – a type of vibrating motor which is currently used in cellphones … Jones stated there are many potential applications for these types of tactile displays, such as aiding drivers or joggers, directing firefighters through building or helping emergency workers navigate through a disaster site.
Light-Up Shoes Booming, Brightens Sketchers’ Bottom Line
Footwear Distributors And Retailers of America
If you were in elementary school during the ’90s, chances are you owned a pair of L.A. Lights, or coveted those magical sneakers with lights in the heels, flashing red with every step and telling your peers that you were hip. As it turns out, a more advanced form of the classic light-up shoes are hot again with kids today and racking up millions in sales for Skechers.
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.
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.
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.
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.