Last week, I overheard someone saying that the collapsed SPUD looked like something Batman could wear on his utility belt. That got me thinking about the quickly growing world of wearable technology, and I soon found myself digging into the newest wearables out there. There’s no shortage of ideas: the options range from ridiculous to potentially life-saving. For those of you who simply must have your technology with you wherever you are, check out the latest and greatest in wearables:
AirJamz Wearable Air Guitar - When you play the air guitar, YOU can hear that perfect solo in your head, but what about everyone else? Now they can too, with AirJamz! This wristband connects to your mobile device via Bluetooth, enabling your rock star motions to be translated into real music instantly. “The technology inside is light years ahead of standard Air-Guitars.” Enough said.
Zepp Multisport Sensors - Zepp’s new “smart coarch system” uses a sensor you attach to your golf glove, baseball bat, or tennis racket. The sensor records data about swing speeds and angles, then transmits that back to their mobile app to analyze and generate coaching advice (like highlighting areas that need the most work). If you want to improve that swing, maybe this wearable is just what you need.
Neopenda: Wearable Vital Signs Monitor for Newborns - In developing countries around the world, over 46 million newborns require additional care and monitoring due to complications at birth. The Neopenda is a hat with a built in sensor array that continuously measures an infant’s heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen saturation, and temperature. In the critical first few days of life, closely monitoring these vital signs can save a baby’s life, and unfortunately, many hospitals in resource-constrained settings can’t monitor all of their newborn patients fast enough. The Newpenda could help significantly reduce the nearly 3 million newborn deaths in the developing world.
Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 - Well it’s about time. This was supposed to exist back in 2015! Nike has finally announced their first “power lacing” sneaker, potentially making the time-wasting activity of tying your shoes a thing of the past. Tiffany Beers, the project’s technical lead, explains how they will work: “Your heel will hit a sensor and the system will automatically tighten. Then there are two buttons on the side to tighten and loosen. You can adjust it until it’s perfect.” I believe this means flying cars are just around the corner.
Apple Watch - Okay, the Apple Watch may not be the newest wearable in the world, but it felt too weird creating this list without mentioning it. While the jury still seems to be out on this type of wearable technology, the potential is intriguing. The Apple Watch, and smartwatches like it, connects to your smartphone and allows you to display and reply to messages, make calls, download apps, track your steps, and do pretty much anything else your smartphone can do… but from your wrist! I believe it also tells time.
The Posting Tail - This one is my favorite. We may soon live in a world where dogs can take pictures, then upload those pictures to Facebook. According to Saatchi & Saatchi, they have created a device that your four-legged friend can wear that includes a camera and some sort of tail wagging sensor. When your dog is happy, the sensor detects the “happy tail wag” (they specifically note that the device is capable of distinguishing a regular tail wag from a happy one) and takes a picture, tags it with a GPS location, and uploads it to Facebook. I can’t wait to see what pictures my dog will take! I imagine there will be lots of suspicious-smelling grass pictures.
e-skin: Ultraflexible organic photonic skin - Lastly, we have e-skin, a technology that is still being tested in the academic space but has some pretty significant potential. Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering has created a protective film that is less than 2 mm thick, yet strong enough to attach PLED’s to create on-skin displays. We may see this one day used as a pulse rate monitor or blood oxygen sensor… or maybe some programmable body art.