The age of the smartphone and tablet may be in full force, but the tech giants of the world have already moved on from these cutting edge technological devices and onto the next generation of tech marvels. Never satisfied with the current saturation of technological devices in the marketplace, some of the world’s largest technology giants are determined to make 2014 the year wearable technology really gets up and running.
Those (like David Bodner) in attendance at the Consumer Electronics Show back in January surely noticed that alongside curved display smartphones and televisions, wearable tech was vying for the limelight on center stage. Whether consumers are ready to adopt it, or the technology is ready for mass adoption, wearable tech is coming. The following are five up-and-coming wearable tech devices that are sure to garner a lot of attention.
Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses ($999)
Google isn’t the only company talking about glasses as the next great piece of wearable tech. The Vuzix M100 smart glasses are already in production and shipping to customers. Although not designed for the general public, the Vuzix glasses bring exciting potential to businesses and industry.
Capable of attaching to work glasses or a headband, the M100 smart glasses are meant for use in warehouses and storage centers. The glasses are powered by a T1 processor and run on an Android OS. An onboard camera can capture 5-megapixel still images and record video in 1080i HD.
Epson Moverio BT-200 Smart Glasses ($700)
Another set of smart glasses already available to the public, the Epson Moverio smart glasses might look bulkier than other smart glasses, but don’t let that turn you off. The glasses feature a binocular LCD-projection lens system with a built-in compass, gyro, and accelerometer. Also included on the BT-200 glasses are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, and a handheld controller running Android 4.0.
Epson has managed to bring various partners on board with its smart glasses, offering some intriguing potential. Partners already lined up include first-person shooter video games and paramedic services. The smart glasses have an app capable of allowing paramedics to see patients’ veins.
Pebble Steel Bluetooth Watch ($249)
Smartwatches seemed ready to serve as the likely successor to smartphones and tablets in the tech wars, but some of that momentum has slowed with poor performances and reviews. The Pebble Steel Bluetooth watch offers a more realistic “smartwatch” for consumers. The steel housing and functional watch gives the Pebble the look and feel of a real watch, not a calculator on the wrist.
Its Bluetooth connectivity and centralized app store give the watch traction as a piece of wearable tech, as well as a one-stop-shop for developers to sell apps for the device.
LG Lifeband Touch Wristband ($180)
Arguably the most prevalent pieces of wearable tech at the moment are fitness wrist bands that track mileage, speed, and calories for fitness fanatics. LG looked at the current selection and scoffed, releasing the LG Lifeband. While it offers many of the typical fitness band features, it has a few tricks up its sleeve too.
For starters, the LG Lifeband has no clasp. Instead, it slides onto the wrist like a flexible bangle and features an OLED display that notifies runners of incoming calls. Using an LG Earphone Heart Rate Monitor, fitness fans can listen to music while the Lifeband tracks their heart rate. It also syncs with many popular fitness apps, such as Wahoo Fitness and RunKeeper, to help analyze workouts upon completion.
Heapsylon Sensoria Fitness Socks ($199)
The next logical step in wearable tech, pardon the pun, is towards fitness socks. The Heapsylon Sensoria Fitness socks take the fitness sensors off the runner’s wrist and put them where the rubber meets the road. The socks are manufactured with textile sensors in the sole, which collect and transmit information via a magnetic ankle bracelet.
The bracelet transfers information to a smartphone via Bluetooth technology, and the information can be synced to a running app or stored in a cloud account. The fitness socks track important factors for runners such as cadence and stride, and can even monitor weight and determine if the runner has collapsed.
Wearable tech is still in its infancy, but as the major tech companies and startups move away from the early fascination with smartwatches, some exciting technologies are emerging. The future of wearable tech doesn’t appear to lie in smartwatches that merely act as an extension of the smartphones everyone already carries.
Smartphones and tablets were exciting because they represented a departure from the norm. Smart glasses that improve productivity in the workplace and fitness tech that more accurately tracks data offer more exciting potential than smartwatches.
The opinions expressed above are solely those of David Bodner.