Wearable Technology: A sneak peek
Wearable technology is not exactly a recent development - since the 1400s, spectacles and monocles were used more for fashion than eye sight correction. Pocket watches appeared on the scene about in the 1700s and we liked them so much that we haven't looked back since. Fast forward a few centuries and we now have wearable tech gadgets such as glasses that tell you where you are and give you directions on where to go if you're lost. Or smart watches that tell you more than just the time; they also update you on what your social network is up to and vice versa. Thanks to digital miniaturization, smaller and more powerful energy sources, and better material technology, it's not just glasses and watches that are receiving enhancements. We've got motion sensing wrist bands and belt tags too. And how about a Bluetooth headset that pipes sounds right into your ears without the use of any earphones? All the signs point in one direction: 2013 is the year that wearable technology takes off. We sneak a peek at the digital trends in the world of wearable technology.
|Talk through your hat & do more|
Now here's a real interesting concept that actually works! The Cynaps (as in Synapse; as in nerve junctions) Bluetooth Bone Conduction headset can be fitted into any hat - a baseball cap, a fedora, or your sombrero. The headset can pair with your smartphone or any other Bluetooth device and when the hat is worn, the sound travels through the bones in your skull to reach your ears. You don't have to wear any earpieces and the battery time is rated to last up to 30 days on stand-by with a talk time of around 8 hours. You can now drive your car or ride your cycle without worrying too much that ear pieces may impair your ability to hear surrounding vehicles. The physics behind the technology is based on the premise that high-pitched and high frequency sounds can travel through skull segments and reach the bony case of the inner ear - this causes the air in the ear to vibrate - allowing the user to hear sounds.
|Ace up your sleeve!|
Heard of 3D printing? How about MOOCs? Like these tech game-changers, wearable technology hasn't yet had the chance to break into mainstream electronics and enter the public consciousness. Apple's entry into the fray is going to change all of that with the Apple Smart Watch - iWatch. The iWatch is the quintessential tech device - movies way back in sixties depicted people communicating via their wrist watches. Cut to present; enter the (unavoidably named) iWatch. Reports indicate that the iWatch with feature high-tech, flexible curved glass called Willow Glass, voice control through Siri, health and location monitoring, support for iCloud, and running iOS - among many other things, we're sure. As far as functionality goes, your guess, dear reader, is as good as ours. By all indications, the iWatch is a stand-alone device and its main constituent - the flexible Willow Glass - is at least three years away. If this sounds a little too tantalizing and you've just got to get you one of those, our advice is to get Pebble's smart watch - a watch that links wirelessly to Apple iPhones or Android devices and does a host of things such as download apps for working out, display caller information or read out texts to you.
|Don't just see with your glasses..|
Google's Project Glass took off a year or so ago. As time went by it became very clear that the scope of the project was far more flamboyant than we were led to believe. Google's greatest rival - Apple - began development of the iWatch possibly after the success of the Pebble Smart Watch (that links to Android phones) as well as the pressure from Google Glass. So what does Google Glass do? Developed by Google's X Lab, Glass consists of a pair of AR (Augmented Reality) spectacles that can throw up a HUD (Heads up Display) that can be used to do various kinds of things - we're talking about image capture - both on video and on photo, tweeting, video chatting, weather reports, navigation data, language translation, voice recognition, Wikipedia..the works! From what we've seen, the HUD works almost flawlessly, is simple to use and understand and could very well revolutionize the way how we look at information. Google Glass is already being tested by a few select people and a starter program called Explorer is available for developers and early trend setters. The final version is expected to be available to mainstream consumers in the end of 2013.
|Wristbands are just a piece of charm? Think again.|
The Nike+ line of devices have always been associated with the latest in physical training technology and the FuelBand is no less. The FuelBand consists of an "activity tracker" - a cool-looking band of plastic and metal that is worn on the wrist. The basic idea is that the FuelBand tracks the user's movements and transmits the data to a smartphone app that stores the data and processes it to show the number of calories burnt, set physical fitness goals, and monitor your progress. The data can then be uploaded to the Nike+ community and can be shared with your fitness community, unlock achievements and the like.
Another technology that works on the same premise is used by the Fitbit Tracker. Developed by Fitbit Inc., USA, the Fitbit Tracker features a high-tech 3D accelerometer that tracks users' movements and then calculates the distance moved, calories burnt and so on. The best part is that the Fitbit Tracker also incorporates an altimeter - which then tracks the number of stairs you've climbed - and also tracks the number of times you toss and turn during sleep, thus measuring sleep quality as well.