10 cool technologies that you can wear6 February 2015, Magdalena Markiewicz
The memorable 2015 has come – the year when cars were supposed to fly, skateboards levitate and shoes lace themselves. At least according to “Back to the Future Part II” scenario. Take a look at gadgets that have become reality in the last 25 years. These are the technologies that are sneaking in to our wardrobes.
1. Self-lacing shoes
Even a few years back the fans of “Back to the Future II” could only dream about…the self-lacing shoes. Now, in 2015 (just as it was predicted in the movie) the fiction will become reality. Nike plans to launch a line of self-lacing shoes. The line of products based in their design on the movie has already been launched in limited edition in 2011 but still the shoelaces had to be tied manually.
2. Battery charging shoes
Do you get frustrated every day that your phone needs to be quickly charged and you have nowhere to plug it in? You’re not alone on this. But a way to face this problem was devised. It’s beauty lies in the simplicity of the idea behind it – the battery charging shoes. Shoe insoles with a battery attached to them to be precise. You just place the magic insoles in your favorite pair of shoes and walk, walk, walk and walk. And when the battery in your phone/tablet/MP3 player is getting low you just take the battery attached to your ankle or at the shoelaces and use it to charge the device. This gadget was designed by SolePower startup. The producer assures that the device will survive at least one million steps and that it is water-resistant. We can find this product at KickStarter.
3. Pick-Pocket Proof Pants
Pickpockets are around. With the spread of contactless payments and e-passports they have a new range of devices that enable data and money theft of the oblivious passers-by. It is enough to place a special RFID reader to the pocket of the victim where he or she keeps all documents and cards and the device will download the relevant data in just a few seconds. To help in fighting RFID data pickpocketing Betabrand has created jeans with unique resistant pockets. The pockets are protected by RFID-blocking fabrics which do not allow for data transfer. The stylish pants are not different than the “normal’ ones. They are also affordable – you can buy them in price range starting from $150.
Pants can have different usage, not always practicable. Not while ago the so called DrumPants which are the musical pants have been launched to the market. What does it mean? You attach the special stripes with built-in sensors to your legs and they get activated under pressure. The sound of drums starts playing from your body in an instant. The device can be synched with a smartphone. It costs $130. Check out how it works:
Let’s move on to the wardrobe now. For those of you who are not very into wearing unnecessary elements on your wrist special t-shirts embedded in electronics were designed. Hexoskin clothes are a great example here. They are useful not only at the gym. These clothes are able to measure our heartbeat and breathing pace, the amount of calories we’ve burnt and the number of steps made. This intelligent t-shirt can be also used as pajamas – during sleep it will track your heartbeat, control body movements and send all the gathered data to the synched smartphone. The only thing that can scare you off as a potential customer is its price – $399.
If we’re at clothing it will be worth to mention Ping “networking garment”. This is still in its concept phase but it has a great potential. What is it about? According to the producers it allows you to connect to your Facebook account by performing natural gestures that are built into the mechanics of the garments you wear. You will also be updated on Facebook status notifications thanks to vibrations of plates embedded at the shoulders.
7. Smart Bra
And now something for the ladies. Japanese lingerie producer Ravijour is working on creating a bra that will say if its user is…in love. At least in the sense that her heartbeat is faster once seeing a given man. Heartbeat sensor built in the bra measures your heartbeat and using a special application transfers the data to your phone. And now the most important! If the chosen man will turn out to be Mr Right, the hooks of the bra (placed on the front) will flash pink and the bra will unhook automatically. At the same time if a woman is not attracted to the man the sensor will block the hooks and will not allow for opening the bra.
Similar bra, but with completely different use in mind, was designed by Microsoft. Using the built-in sensors which detect the emotional state of the user the bra will notify her that she should be careful with snacks. Because as we all know chocolate is the best stress release method.
Smartwatch is a device that has stolen the hearts of tech lovers. Even though these devices have been available at the market for a while now, the competition is growing stronger and stronger. New companies are entering the market and compete in the race of innovating the watches. This is why next to giants like Sony, Samsung or Apple we can find startups like Pebble (company that has succeeded at Kickstarter – 85.000 users have ordered their smartwatches even before the official sales launch). So what can we find in these devices? Well, next to the traditional functionalities of a watch you can use them to connect to your smartphone and get the text and e-mail notifications, you can connect to Facebook and browse through websites, but this is not everything. Smartwatches can have a camera, thermometer, altimeter, steps tracking, compass or an MP3 player built in. You can also expect that in the close future smartwatches will fully replace mobile phones.
Another intelligent device that you can wear at your wrist is a smartband. At first glance this is just a plastic band but it is a work of art for the athletes. This fitness tracker keeps track of your every-day activity from tracking your steps to climbing (with accelerometer and altimeter built in). By the end of the active day you can track your scores using LifeLog application but this is not the end of the working day for the band. At night sleep monitoring function switches on and in the morning the band will wake you up at the least painful moment. The truth is that similar applications are available for your smartphone for free but smartband creators apparently believe that for the users it would be more comfortable to go to bed wearing a silicone wristband. The latest Sony fitness tracker SmartBand Talk enables taking and making calls as well with the embedded speaker and microphone.
10. Microsoft Hololens
After a great but a short-term media success of Google Glass here comes the time for its successor – Microsoft Hololens. As Microsoft has already announced it will be a true innovation at the market. These will be the first glasses using the computer platform. The producer assures that Hololens will enable 3D screenings at home. The glasses would revolutionize i.e. the world of computer games. And although the details are still kept as a secret the best way to describe this new product is the catchphrase created by Microsoft “When you change the way you see the world, you can change the world you see”.