Wearable Tech In 2014 – Exciting New Products
Although the focus is definitely on bio feedback & smart watches, 2014 has seen considerable changes in terms of focus, and quality of wearable tech. Three broad categories–notification devices, glasses and trackers–have emerged, and we’ll see slow and steady improvements in each. That is to say, there are but a few wearables ready for the market as of now. But let’s look at what has happened this year so far.
Notification devices, such as smartwatches, have become quite the fad this year. The Moto 360 is much anticipated, and Apple is about to release their counterpart in October 2014. The current offering of smart watches on the market doesn’t quite cut it if you’re looking not only for functionality but for style–although the Martian Smartwatch isn’t half bad, and so isn’t the new Pebble Steel. However, the point stands: just as is the case with Glasses, the app ecosystem isn’t quite there yet.
With Google Glass becoming available for the general public in May, the wearables market has gotten an altogether new kind of device. It’s still a long way from being perfect as valid complains about, well, a bunch of stuff have been made. The bottom line is that Glass is still a bit rushed in terms of the app ecosystem. Its components cost about five times less than the asking price so it rather seems that Google are waiting for developers to come up with more. Price drops will surely be coming as Glass becomes ready for the average consumer.
The 2014 CES also saw a number of Glass-inspired (not to say Glass-copycat) products, with the focus on providing budget solutions and something unique as well. The Optinvent Ora falls into the first category, showcasing a three times larger overlay screen than Glass, and about to cost just $1500 upon its release in 2015. However, there’s no telling whether Google Glass won’t cost significantly less by then. Further innovations include glasses for the visually impaired, as well as GlassUp, which is basically Google Glass without the camera that can get you kicked out of most everywhere.
Fitness trackers are all the rage right now. Even though Jawbone’s UP24 seems to have durability issues, it offers sleep tracking (just like the new FitBit Flex) that’s not found everywhere. Wearables tracking UV exposure and health metrics are also prevalent–such as tattoos monitoring vital biometrics.
The next round of fitness trackers seems to offer something better: Amiigo is on pre-order now and looks quite promising, incorporating different sports tracking into a two-part tracker for the shoes and the wrists. And it moves beyond trackers. We highlighted smartshoes–shoes that track and direct your movement–not long ago, and the concept certainly looks promising.
However, not only the regular consumer can wear something: the City of London has started tracking alcohol-influenced offenders, making them wear an ankle tag that alerts Big Brother when they’re drinking. On a somewhat related note, there’s also a Bluetooth toothbrush that tracks your teeth washing habits.
While we see many scattered ideas and half-usable-half-made-in-jest products, some are inherently useful and will likely be as common as smartphones; let’s just wait when they’re not $1000 apiece.
By Lauris Veips
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