Thought technology couldn’t get smarter? Think again. Nevermind the smart watch or the fitness bracelets you might associate with the phrase ‘wearable technology’ because top innovators and scientists have been hard at work over the past few years to launch us into a whole new world, helping to make our interactions with tech more natural. It’s the reason that we’ve named wearable tech as one of our top trends for 2016.
Here are five mind-blowing wearable tech inventions:
1. slip on a smart jacket
It’s only a matter of time before technology starts weaving its way into the fashion world. Soon you’ll be able to simply swipe your right sleeve to give an instruction to Siri (a digital personal assistant, for those not in the know), while the same material sends information to your health app to notify you that your blood sugar levels are haywire after you skipped breakfast this morning.
Project Jacquard, which was launched to the world by Google in May of 2015, is collaborating with a range of designers, including Levi Strauss & Co, to create items of clothing that have conductive yarn subtly weaved into them.
‘If you can hide – or weave – interactivity into devices, into materials, that would be the first step to making computers and computing invisibly integrated into clothing,’ says Ivan Poupyrev, founder of Project Jacquard, in an interview by Google Advanced Technology and Projects.
Getting technology ‘out of the way’ to create a more seamless, more natural way of interacting with it is how Joao Wilbert, creative technologist at Google’s Creative Lab in London, puts it.
2. smart jewellery
One young US designer has developed a semi-precious ring that connects to Android and iOS devices and vibrates or lights up when you get alerts on your phone.
Created by tech start-up Ringly, the idea comes from founder Christina Mercando, who was keen to get the fashion and feel of her smart wearable just right.
‘It’s a really difficult design challenge to make the technology disappear,’ she explains to wareable.com.
Mercando says she is looking at extending the functionality of the ring so that it can interact with smart homes, make payments and allow keyless entry.
Not into wearing rings? Don’t worry; Ringly is working on creating bracelets too. Order your Ringly device at ringly.com/shop.
3. conduct your tech
Nintendo Wii gamers will likely be most familiar with the idea of controlling actions on a screen with simple hand gestures. Gesture control or gesture recognition is a computer science that translates simple human movements into mathematical algorithms that can be recognised by a computer.
The Myo armband is one such invention that can recognise the movement of muscles flexing and the direction the arm moves. The possibilities? Think controlling a presentation through your gestures (rather than holding onto a remote), playing a video game using your arm movement only or even controlling your car’s functions…
…which is something that BMW is doing with its new 7 series. The car can recognise a few simple hand gestures, allowing you to control the system without needing to take your eyes off the road. The car comes with four pre-defined gestures, including gestures for answering or declining a phone call, raising the volume of the radio or lowering it. Watch the video below from 1:40min to learn more.
4. get a tech tattoo
It’s not quite as elaborately drawn as your average skull or rose tattoo, but the fact of the matter is, a tech tattoo is far more intelligent, and if Chaotic Moon‘s idea is anything to go by, it’s going to revolutionise the medical and banking industries.
The tattoos themselves aren’t permanent; in fact, they’re more like transfers, lasting for a few days or weeks. While banking tattoos could be used to protect your money by storing credit card information and more, medical tech tattoos would monitor your vitals, such as your temperature or your heart rate, and send this information back to your doctor, who can then notify you if anything is amiss. Chaotic Moon has dubbed this clever new technology ‘biowearables’.
5. tired? just change your mind
It’s been likened to a can of caffeinated energy drink – the wearable that gives your mind the boost it needs to power through a few more hours of work. Sounds like the answer to all your prayers? Well, the ‘Thync’ is now available from its own store at thync.com. ‘Thync brings together the latest advances in neuroscience and engineering so you can access your own abilities to be more calm or energetic,’ says co-founder Isy Goldwasser.
The device, which attaches to your temple, sends specific electric pulses to your head and face to help simulate the neural reactions characteristic of a pleasurable experience, thereby boosting the brain’s performance and your overall sense of well-being. The Thync website calls this ‘neurosignaling’. These waveforms or ‘Vibes’ transmit ‘precise algorithms that bias activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, so that you can enjoy a shift into a more energetic or relaxed state.’
Sound like the answer to 2016? Place your order over at Amazon.com.