We’ve been wearing jewellery and decorating our bodies since… Mankind came about. And with the advancement of technology, it only made sense that these decorative trinkets should also actually serve a functional purpose other than just being decorative.
With that, smart wearables were born. From Apple Watches to Google Glasses, we’ve seen how these high-tech trinkets help enhance our lives in one way or another. Perhaps in the not so distant future, we’ll be wearing smart wearables from our heads to our toes – if we haven’t already!
Starting from your head, the most obvious wearable that the tech industry has been focusing on are smart glasses. Designed to augment your vision with helpful information, these helpful glasses overlay information over whatever you see. But today. some companies are taking a different approach to things.
Bose Smart Glasses
If a pair of headphones had sex with a pair of sunglasses, out pops the Bose Frames. This sunglass-headphone hybrid is their unique take on augmented reality (AR), enhancing the world around you, not through visuals, but sound.
You listen to your glasses for GPS directions, play music and take calls. And all this happens with what Bose says is the “tiniest, thinnest, most lightweight Bose system ever”. This system is hidden inside the arms of the glasses and amazingly, blasts music only you can hear.
The entire smart glass AR (or audio AR in this case) experience happens with the 9-axis head motion sensors that detect your movements. By fetching GPS data via Bluetooth from your smartphone, the glasses can feed you information based on what you’re looking at. For example, if you need more info on what a particular restaurant serves, all you have to do is look at it and tap your glasses.
Available in two styles – the larger Alto and smaller Rondo. They will retail for $299 and available today at travel retail stores in Changi International Airport, and from 13 June from authorized Bose dealers. For more information, click here.
Moving down from the head, the torso’s the only area we’ve yet to have wearables developed for it – mainly clothing. Perhaps in the future, the clothes you wear will be able to monitor your health, give you directions via haptic feedback or maybe even change colours to suit your mood. But at this point of time, a smart jacket’s all we’ve got.
Levi’s® Smart Commuter™ Trucker Jacket
When we think smart wearables, we think only of small devices that we put on, like smartwatches or smart glasses. But get this – what if it’s something you actually wear, like a t-shirt, but made smart?
That’s the concept behind Project Jacquard. Developed by Google, Jacquard turns any piece of fabric into a touch-sensitive interface for your smartphone. Partnering with Levi’s, the smart jacket was born.
Aimed at commuters, Levi’s smart jacket registers gestures made by the wearer as touch inputs, as if the jacket itself was a touch-screen device. The idea is that when you’re on a bike, you only need to brush your sleeve to skip a music track or get directions from Google Maps. This makes it a lot safer than actually taking out your phone while riding and risk getting into an accident.
Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise. It’s something we’ve been doing for many centuries and they seem to serve no other purpose other than being decorative until recently that is.
One-trick ponies? Not anymore. These days, watches do more than just tell the time. Their bag of tricks goes deep like tracking your fitness, GPS, monitoring your health, and then some. So what sets them apart?
That depends entirely on you. For a fusion of aesthetics and functionality, there are always the Fossils and Kate Spades. If you’re an Android user, the Samsung Galaxy Watches are one the best out there and if you’re an iPhone user, look no further than the Apple Watch. The choice is yours.
- APPLE WATCH 4, from $599
- SAMSUNG GALAXY WATCH, from $368
- KATE SPADE SCALLOP 2, from $314
- FOSSIL EXPLORIST HR, $489
- FOSSIL VENTURE HR, $489
Technology has left no stone unturned, and it has finally set its sights on jewellery – turning it into something more important than just an ornament. Designed to do more than just look good, big names like Kate Spade, Swarovski and Michael Kors have seen the potential to transform these form factors into beautiful pieces of high-tech jewellery.
And what better way to start than with rings? Combined with tech, it has the potential to be the culmination of fashion and technology. That’s exactly what a lot of startups recognised. As an increasingly common type of smart tech, more and more of them are coming up with smart rings that appeal to fashionistas and that can do it all. Either as a bold fashion statement or a discreet device, it tracks fitness, sleep, has push notifications and NFC (near field communication) payments. It’s all about making your life more efficient while looking good.
Who says you’ve got to sacrifice style for functionality?
- BELLABEAT LEAF URBAN, $137
- OURA RING, $408
- RINGLY SMART RINGS, from $165
- RINGLY SMART BRACELETS, from $125
- MISFIT SWAROVSKI ACTIVITY CRYSTAL SLAKE, $19.99
- MICHAEL KORS ACCESS VARICK, TBA
The last place to don a wearable is clearly on our feet. Right now the shoes we put on is mainly for comfort and protection. But surely there’s more to it than that right?
Nike Adapt BB
Remember this scene from Back to the Future 2 in 1989?
Power laces. Alright! Did Marty McFly predict the coming of smart self-lacing shoes 30 years before its time or what? Now, while most of us might think self-lacing isn’t exactly a smart feature, but there’s definitely more to it than you realise.
At the start of the year, Nike unveiled the Adapt BB – the world’s first ever auto-lacing basketball shoe. It tightens or loosens itself to fit your foot perfectly. You can use an accompanying app or buttons on the side of the soles to adjust the tightness. There’re even presets you can install from the app.
The idea behind the shoe is nicely summed up by Eric Avar, Nike VP creative director of innovation. “During a normal basketball game, the athlete’s foot changes and the ability to quickly change your fit by loosening your shoe to increase blood flow and then tighten again for performance is a key element that we believe will improve the athlete’s experience.”
He also mentions that in the future, the shoes will be smart enough to detect your blood pressure and automatically adjusts for the perfect fit. Whether or not these pair of smart sneakers will elevate your game is another question altogether.
Like the smart jacket that Google and Levi’s came up with, there is an amazing potential to combine fashion with technology and eventually in the future, the two will be integrated seamlessly.
One day, putting on your wearables will be like putting on everyday clothes. But that’s not even the end goal. Already there’ve been talks of developing electronic skin. Imagine taking a video call from your forearm or reading notifications from your palm. Now, that’s what a true wearable should be.