Wearable Technology stole a lot of the headlines during January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas with several new products being launched from the impressive to the downright crazy.
A recent survey indicated that over 50% of people in countries such as the USA, Canada and Australia would consider buying some type of wearable technology. However us Brits seem to be lagging somewhat with less than 30% of us contemplating purchasing some sort of wearable tech gadget in the near future.
So what wearable tech devices are out there, what do they do and what gadgets are a bit weird?
First up are the fitness wearables. You don’t have to be a dedicated gym bunny or a marathon runner in training to own one of these. If you’re interested in staying fit and healthy or want to improve your health, you can get a fitness wearable to suit your needs from around £40 upwards. Fitness tech ranges from something like a FitBit Zip which monitors how many steps you do each day and how many calories you’ve burnt and motivates you to do more (its worked for us!) to a Nike Fuelband or a Jawbone which are worn on the wrist and monitor different types of physical activity, your sleep patterns and a whole lot more. There are also new fitness wearables coming onto the market including the LG Lifeband touch which as well as the features previously mentioned will also measure your heart rate and notify you of calls and messages when linked to a smartphone.
This brings us to smartwatches which alert you to calls, emails and texts at all times even when you’re unable to hear your mobile phone or have it on mute. Resembling a traditional watch, smartwatches which include the Sony Smartwatch 2, Samsung Galaxy Gear and the Pebble Smartwatch connect with your smartphone via Bluetooth to keep you update to date with notifications from your mobile phone. They usually feature a touchscreen display and depending on what smartwatch you have they can play music, give you the weather forecast, take photos and videos and run apps. They generally come equipped to track any exercise and activity you do and the newest models allow you to make and receive calls. It’s hotly anticipated that Apple are going to be launching a smartwatch called the iWatch so smartwatches could see a big surge in their popularity.
Probably the ultimate in wearables are ‘Google Glass’. Also known as ‘smart glasses’, they are worn in the same way as a pair of glasses but can do all manner of very clever things thanks to a small device built-into the frame of the glasses. If you want to take a photo or make a video, send a message or get directions, you just instruct Google Glass to do it or you. You can also use it to translate and search information for you. It’s not known when Google Glass will go on general sale as yet, Samsung are rumoured to be working on their own smart glasses too.
One of the most unusual and dodgy sounding wearables we’ve heard of recently was also unveiled at CES, vibrating smartphone-controlled knickers. Taking wearables to another level, you can actually purchase (for about £80) a pair of vibrating knickers which are controlled via bluetooth on a mobile phone. I’m sure they’ll be a niche market for these but we can’t see them being in a high street shop near you anytime soon!