As a part of ‘The Next Leap’ series – an e27 and Samsung Developers knowledge sharing collaboration, we will be covering hot tech topics every Tuesday. To start with, we list the trends that will dominate in 2014.
The world’s first wearable is the wristwatch. First used as a way to keep track of the time while one is on the go, as opposed to carrying a weighty wooden clock or a sundial, the device has metamorphosed into a fashion accessory, a calculator, a health and fitness tracker amongst other things.
The wristwatch, when computerised, is also the world’s most popular wearable. For example, there is the Samsung Gear series, released in September 2013, which run on the Android OS; the Pebble and Pebble Steel smartwatches, which are compatible with Android and iOS devices; and the upcoming Moto 360, an Android Wear-based smartwatch. The iWatch is still highly fabled, even though there have been many rumours around the device. Intel, too, has jumped on this bandwagon with its acquisition of Basis, a smartwatch maker.
A lot has changed
However, while the wrist has received much attention, let’s not neglect other parts of the human body. Here are five body parts wearable makers might be neglecting — from head to toe.
1. Hair Don’t underestimate the power of a hair clip. These smart accessories, carefully disguised as inconspicuous hair clips, might not prevent physical or sexual assaults, but it sure can help the victim after the incident.
Furthermore, the app can access the victim’s smartphone’s GPS location, camera and microphone via Bluetooth, and start recording crucial information that can place the perpetrator at the scene. If the gadget remains switched on even after 15 seconds, that information will be sent to a monitoring station.
Often, victims of domestic abuse are not able to pinpoint their attackers due to a lack of evidence. The device costs US$50, and its monitoring service costs US$5 a month. Is that considered affordable for people in such situations? One has to bear in mind that these victims are often strapped for cash, as their attackers might control their finances.
2. Eyes Commercially available optical head-mounted displays like Google Glass and Oculus Rift might give the sighted a better experience when doing day-to-day tasks, but what about the visually impaired?
For example, Microsoft has been said to be working on a device that can help blind people sense things around them. Currently known as ‘Smart Alice’, the gadget transmits information through an earpiece worn by the user. It is now being tested in the UK, according to Wearables Arena.
The Argus, as reported by Wired, is another invention for people who have lost their sense of sight. The device, shaped like a pair of tinted shades, helps the blind gain some semblance of sight through “black-and-white edges and contrast points”. The information can then be used as a visual guide, and allow these users to be more independent in unfamiliar scenarios.
Another wearable which has ventured into this space is the kGoal Pelvic Floor Trainer. Kegel exercises are not exactly rocket science, but without proper guidance and feedback, working out one’s pelvic floor muscles is also not exactly as simple as A-B-C. The device is currently available at US$25 internationally.
Males looking for wearables in this range might have to wait a bit. Current male sex toys aren’t exactly connected to the internet or a smartphone.
5. Feet Now, while you keep your feet warm with comfortable walking shoes, you can look to be alerted to special deals and navigate places according to your mood.
Developed by Dhairya Dand in the Information Ecology team of MIT’s Media Lab, Supershoes are flexible insoles, according to Wired, which act as “the interface between your body and the ground”. By tapping your toes on a touchpad, you can swipe your smartphone screen or accept a friend request. The possibilities are endless, but what’s wrong with just using a finger to swipe one’s screen?