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Wearable Technology: The next big thing?

Posted on: Wednesday 15th of January 2014

We’ve all heard of Google’s pioneer wearable technology Google Glass, but the vast range of smart, wearable products demonstrated last week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 in Las Vegas suggests that wearable technology is big news for top tech companies in 2014. This is why we will be hosting a session, ‘The Next Wave: Wearables’, at our Personal Information Economy 2014 event on March 20. If you’re interested in finding out more about wearable technology please register now for an early bird ticket.

Wearable devices collect data about the user to offer various services. The two main areas wearable devices are being developed for are fitness and authentication. We’ve taken a look at some of the most innovative devices on show at CES 2014 that will be on the market soon.

Sensoria

Sensoria is a product line using e-textile sensor technology. The range, developed by Heapsylon, features sportswear such as socks, t-shirts and sports bras that collect activity data. The Sensoria sock is made of a smart fabric which attaches to a magnetic anklet that transmits the collected data via Bluetooth. The sock detects activity, including heart rate, activity type and pressure forces on the wearers foot. This means that not only can the device give measured stats about the wearer’s activity but also personalised advice as to how well they are moving. For example, the ‘virtual coach’ will alert wearers if they are running poorly and provides graphics about how to improve their stride. The device is being crowdfunded via IndieGoGo and the developers hope it will go on sale early next year.

The Sensoria mobile app

Intel Smart Earbuds

Intel showcased at CES a reference design for headphones that provide biometric and fitness information. Currently the most popular tracking device tends to be a fitness band, but Intel’s device is integrated into technology users commonly already wear when exercising. The headphones play music as well as monitoring and recording heart rate whilst a mobile app collects data about the distance travelled and calories burned. The device can be personalised to automatically select music that matches target heart rate profile. Here is a video of the headphones on show at CES 2014.

Sony Core

Sony’s Core goes a step further than the average fitness band by acting as a life-logging device. The Core device can be removed from the strap, which Tech Radar reports is part of Sony’s plan to expand the product beyond the strap. What sets this apart from other fitness bands is the Lifelog app which allows users to keep tabs on other areas of their life such as what music they listened to and what mood they were in. Collecting these various bits of data and collating them, Sony plans to provide an overall picture of a user and help predict patterns that trigger particular behaviours. Sony will be revealing more about the Core at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.

Nymi

Bionym’s Nymi is a wearable authentication technology that verifies your identity using cardiac rhythm recognition. The integrated motion sensor communicates with smart devices, recognising the verified wearer and allowing them to unlock and use devices using a specific gesture. The device continuously authenticates a user while they are in proximity to the device and logs out if they move away or remove the wristband.

MUSE

MUSE is a headband that measures brain activity so wearers can use their own brainwaves to interact with devices. MUSE measures tiny electrical outputs generated by brain activity. At present the device can be used for brain training, alerting wearers when they lose concentration. InteraXon plan to develop the technology further so that it can be used to control devices such as turning off the TV when the user falls asleep or even recognising a specific brainwave to log on to a device.

MUSE headband