While we remain firmly entrenched in the Polar Vortex over at Proto Labs HQ, it hasn’t prevented us from gazing afar towards a slightly warmer Las Vegas where the annual Consumer Electronics Show is underway. The four-day event (Jan. 7-10) brings out all of the major electronic names (and some big-name celebrities, albeit only briefly at times) along with many other innovative smaller companies touting the latest in high-tech gadgetry.
Ever intrigued by cool ideas, we’ve been keeping a watchful eye on the emerging trends at CES, and along with the usual television and gaming advancements, one that seems to be included in most online conversations is wearable technology. From earbuds and eyewear to bracelets and footwear, technology is being devised to ensure users are wired with electronic functionality without sacrificing fashion in doing so.
Here are some new wearable gadgets being showcased at CES, from head to toe.
EYES: Smart glasses from Epiphany Eyewear
Design thick-rimmed eye glasses that look like old-school Ray-Bans, build them with a lightweight thermoplastic nylon and integrate a computer with 32 GBs of storage and an HD camera, and you have spectacles that create, well, a spectacle. With the use of an app, you can record, and even live-stream video to social media, from your direct point of view … because who doesn’t want to see real-time footage on Facebook of you eating lunch at your cubicle?
EARS: Smart earbuds from Intel
New technology that is catching the ears of Intel booth visitors at CES is a pair of fitness-conscious earbuds from Intel. In addition to full stereo audio, the buds provide immediate “biometric and fitness information” through sensors that track run distances, calories burned, heart rate and pulse. Even more fascinating is the fact that it can match the music playing to your target heart rate profile. And it’s all powered by the headphone jack on your mobile device (no batteries needed).
BACK: Lumo Lift from Lumo BodyTech
Catch yourself readjusting your car mirrors at the end of the day to accommodate for eight hours of terrible posture? Lumo Lift was designed to help desk jockeys and the like improve posture by pairing a small device that attaches to a shirt or collar with a smartphone app to track your activity. Its unique feature: When slouching begins to set in, Lumo Lift emits “discreet vibratory feedback” (it buzzes you) as a reminder to straighten up.
HANDS: June from Netatmo
Netatmo makes personalized weather stations and smartphone-enabled thermostats, but it is showcasing its newly released bracelet that measures your exposure to the sun. The chic bracelet notifies you when SPF lotion is needed and recommends when you should throw on your sunhat and BluBlockers. If you’re into a more classic look, the gem-like centerpiece can be detached from the bracelet and used as a brooch as well.
FEET: High heels from Erogear
Looking more like something out of a science fiction fashion show, Erogear has designed a pair of black high heels equipped with a wide, LED anklet that can broadcast low-res images and a Twitter feed. Wait, pumps that tweet aren’t really your thing? Erogear also makes active wear for runners and bicyclists that integrates its wearable LED technology in a more utilitarian nature.
If being physically covered in technology is not enough, your baby can now get a piece of the wearable action. Rest Devices has created the Mimo Monitor, which is an organic cotton baby onesie outfitted with respiratory, temperate and motion sensors so you always know how your little one is doing while tracking his or her sleep patterns. It, of course, all syncs to a mobile app to fully monitor your baby’s wellbeing.
As CES wraps up on Friday, it’s evident that many devices are becoming increasingly mobile, accessible and more personalized while, for the most part, working to improve the lifestyles of its users. Only time will tell which of those technologies will connect with people and which will fade away.
Sources: Mashable.com, Engaget.com, Informationweek.com, NPR.org.