Wearable technology that is practical in real life and is commercially viable simultaneously represents the next frontier in our technological advancement. We geeks have imbibed wearable tech as the future of fashion, computing and entertainment, therefore it has become more than just an attention grabber for our hungry eyes. Thus, to let all of you select some techie solution for the new day, we have dug the depths of the web to find out 20 of the best wearable technologies that’ll definitely add wonders to your geekdom.
The Vuzix Wrap 920 video eyewear is a sunglass-style display that delivers a virtual 67-inch screen as seen from 10ft away. It displays 2D and 3D video and is claimed to be the most advanced wearable display available. The Vuzix Wrap 920 connects to all NTSC or PAL audio/video devices with video-out capabilities and composite video connections. The eyewear comes with a composite A/V adapter for iPod/iPhone for simple plug ‘n’ play connection to your portable media player.
The Musical toy piano shirt is a musical shirt with enough transistors to make even the hardest of hardcore nerd blush, and a long-sleeve garment fashionable enough to make even the world-class design student stop and admire - mashed into one. Packing removable batteries, speakers and circuitry, the shirt enables the wearer to emit eight different notes from Do to Do. Now, is there anything as fun as playing a song on yourself?
The W “phonewatch” from Kempler & Strauss combines a touchscreen interface on a watch with basic phone functionality. GSM phone can work with both AT&T and T-Mobile but it doesn’t have 3G capability or Wi-Fi. There is a microphone and a speaker on the phone, but it’s recommended that the user pairs the watch phone with a Bluetooth headset. The phone has a digital clock and a single touch brings out a basic menu that includes icons for phone, messages, address book and calendar. The watch phone even has a 1.4-megapixel camera that can do both still photos and videos.
Symbol Technologies WT4000 wearable computer is a rugged make for extreme environments where handsfree operations are an advantage. Designed to run WinCE 5.0 Pro on a 520MHz Intel XScale PXA270 processor with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth for connectivity and a 2.8-inch QVGA display with backlight is made to be worn on the hip or wrist, this computer has been made to survive drops from as high as 4-feet high.
Ubanana uCan waterproof MP3 player is at by far the best looking wearable MP3 player we’ve seen. Stuffed in with only a GB of memory, this music player boasts about 15 hours of battery life all for a $150 price tag.
Featuring fantastic sound quality, the Soundwalk, as the speakers are called, are worn right below the user’s ears, to enjoy the great sound output. The set of wearable speakers are identical to a water pack, and are a great choice for people who don’t like using headphones, they’ll actually like the idea of the wearable speakers.
Students of the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China have come up with a portable computer. The computer consists of a near-eye display, head-mounted camera, one-hand keyboard and mouse, the wearable computer weighs less than 1.5 kilograms.
To help people communicate more emotionally over various ways of digital communication, a husband-and-wife team of scientists based in Japan have devised the iFeel_IM. This intensifies feeling and simulates emotions, which can be felt by partners (wearing iFeel_IM) during online communication, creating avatars in the virtual world. This prototype computer connected robot, which takes heart beat, chills of fear and sensation of warmth from the user’s body to transmit gestures as real emotions to the recipient in the virtual space is made of few sensors, small motors, vibrators and speakers.
Hewlett-Packard is developing a solar-powered lightweight computer display that’s flexible enough to be worn around the wrist. The prototype device is reported to measure only 200 microns thick, yet is capable of displaying battle-useful data like maps and directions etc on its e-ink display. HP says the prototypes will be made available early next year.
• HOLO 2.0
HOLO 2.0 is a fashionable and wearable computer for the year 2015. Living on the concept of technology as fashion accessory for the future, the HOLO 2.0 offers web connectivity just anywhere anytime. Featuring a kinetically chargeable battery which gets its juice movements of the hand, this computer can either be worn on the wrist or it can be carried in the pocket. Best feature of the PC, as the name suggests is its ability to produce interactive holographic displays besides offering complete functionality of a laptop. The system comes with a docking station and can thus be used to emit larger holographic images which allow the user to use this as a desktop computer.
SenseCam by Microsoft, now ViconRevue, is a camera that can be worn around the neck, to shoot images every 30 seconds. The pendent-like camera click every moment of the wearer’s live and helps them build an e-memory, i.e. an imagery archive of the entire life. Microsoft’s researcher Gordon Bell has been a consistent user of the camera. Carrying it just everywhere to record everything he does, thus, electronically recording as much of his life as possible. 1GB of capacity the camera can easily fit about 30,000 images.
Kopin has ventured into freeing us from carrying our computing gadgetry everywhere with the Golden-I Bluetooth headset PC. This Bluetooth Headset with a 15-inch virtual PC display, is powered by an ARM Cortex A8 processor and running Windows Embedded CE 6.0, the Golden-i Gen 2 can remotely control up to seven devices or networks simultaneously, thanks to the headset’s head-gesture recognition and voice-control abilities. It can connect to phones, computers and electronic devices via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and is good to stream videos @ 30fps in 720 x 480 resolution, which can be stacked up in large quantities on the SSD and microSD memory cards.
The ingenious Personal Force Field Suit from Frog Design has conductive filaments weaved into the dress which help provide power to gadgets by just slipping the devices into pockets. This smart, futuristic track suit not only charges all your gadgets, but act as personal force field to protect you. It senses your nervousness, monitors your heart rate and anxiety levels and automatically knows when to power-up its protection system, which employees the dress’ electrical forcefield to generate enough power to daze an attacker.
Lunar Design has sandwiched electronics, notably futuristic organic fabrics, into the BLU Jacket concept. These futuristic fabrics which can contain semiconductors will enable the BLU jacket display even your moods through signs and colours. This BLU Jacket also has a GPS module built into it. So, if you walking down the lane and someone asks you directions, you could be able to project a map onto your jacket’s sleeve through it’s flexible display and give directions, replete with imagery. Or how about getting paid for displaying advertisements on your jacket thus making yourself a moving billboard?
Zypad WR1100 is one of the best rugged wrist-worn wirelessly operated computer for the sturdy heads. Measuring 4.5 x 3.5 x 3-inches, the 23-ounce device is churned in special made fiberglass-reinforced nylon-magnesium alloy, a casing which helps the Zypad to attain the ruggedness that its purpose of design demands. Using Linux for its operating system, the shock- and dust-proof device features a touchscreen display with 640X480 resolution. With as little as 256MB RAM and 128MB flash memory the Zypad also features a GPS receiver, electronic compass, biometric fingerprint sensor, 802.11 and Bluetooth/Zigbee interfaces.
Twitter is everywhere these days. And now, it’s in your shoes too, if your shoes are the Ramblers. These custom kicks come equipped with a sensor that knows when you're walking, and Bluetooth sync with a cellphone sends out a tweet with every single step you take. Sound useless and annoying, but what more can a geek ask for?
Gaming vests that let us feel what our favorite game characters feel on screen each time they’re hit, may have got a facelift with the introduction of Tactile Gaming Vests developed by students at the University of Pennsylvania. Synced well with the onscreen action, this vest, tailor made to let gamers feel the gun shots, punches and kicks etc as it happens on the screen, would definitely add to the almost real-like gaming experience. Stuffed in with four solenoid actuators in the chest and front side of the shoulders with two on the backside of the shoulders, this vest is also embedded with vibrating motors clustered against the shoulder blades that simulate the action of getting stabbed.
Jennifer Darmour has invented a social networking garment called Ping. Ping – is a hoodie – on which simple gestures like lifting up the hood, or wearing the hood, are identified to automatically update your status on Facebook. Using Lilypad and Lilypad Xbee with custom software, the garment requires a simple application to customize or interface with Facebook, so that added gestures like tying a bow, zip, button, moving, bending and swinging can be used to ping your friends naturally and automatically.
The Universal Gadget Wrist Charger provides a convenient way to carry around extra energy reserves to power the portable gadgets you carry around. Containing a 1500 mAh, 5.5V lithium ion battery the Wrist Charger features a mini USB port and connectors for a range of mobile devices including iPhone. The $35 device has four LED indicators which show how much power remains on the device and because the charger is located on your wrist you’re free to use your device while it’s charging.
• Code M
Dada footwear’s Code M MP3 player is the first from their line of wireless footwear systems. The Code M can connect with the wireless headphones to rely personal music or can even play out loud music courtesy their built-in speakers. The $200 shoe MP3 player can store up to 100 songs but there isn’t a real word on how the speakers of the shoes perform. Code M isn’t out in the market yet, but when they are, you could definitely have them to mark their performance for yourself.