By Christine Persaud
Wearable devices are all the rage nowadays. There’s smart watches that display notifications from a connected smartphone, fitness trackers that can monitor everything from your calories burned to your sleep patterns, and there are hybrid units that can do all of the above and more.
When new technologies like this roll out, there are bound to be some truly weird and wacky ones that stand out among the pack.
The iSwimband from iDevices (www.iswimband.com; $125), for example, is meant to help protect kids while swimming. An older child wears the larger band around his head, or there’s a smaller version for toddlers that can be worn around the wrist (most toddlers won’t wear anything on their heads for any length of time.) If the child is under water for too long, the parent or caregiver will get a loud, audible alert on his phone.
The headband style isn’t just for kids. Spree Sports based in Dallas, TX (www.spreesports.com) offers a monitor that can be worn ‘80s fitness band-style, or placed inside a helmet, then measures body temperature and heart rate. It’s mainly for use during intense sports, like football, to help players avoid overheating. It can also calculate how many calories you’ve burned.
By now, you likely know all about Google Glasses. A company called Innovega Inc. (www.innovega-inc.com) has developed technology that eliminates the physical glasses altogether, and embeds a “virtual canvas” into a pair of contact lenses. Wearers can still view their surroundings, but also see the desired media, and no one is any the wiser. (The football game during church, anyone?)
Unlike the wearables that are worn like an accessory, in the form of a watch, necklace or headband, Lumo BodyTech’s Lumo Lift is in a league of its own. It comes in the form a tiny sensor that you affix to the underside of your clothing that connects to an inconspicuous magnet at the front. It is meant to improve your posture, by sending alerts when you slouch. It can also advise if you’ve been sitting too long, reminding you to get up, walk around and get that blood flowing.
If you’re going to go wearable, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t look good doing it!. One of the coolest products I’ve seen so far is the MyKronoz zeBracelet. It’s disguised like a chunky bracelet, but tap the front, and a hidden screen appears, displaying incoming caller information, letting you control music playback, and monitoring calories burned and sleep patterns.
Some wearables have other goals on the mind. The Looxcie 3 from Looxcie, Inc., for example, clips to your shirt (or whatever you like), and can record and even live stream video to your social media account. Imagine ziplining while on vacation and having the whole family back home share the experience with you.
The wearables category tried to make an entrance back in 2008 when Microsoft introduced the SPOT watch. But today, it’s finally ready for primetime. Smartphones are central to our daily lives now. And as the population ages, and we become more health-conscious overall, wearables are an appealing proposition to help encourage physical activity, increase fitness levels, and promote healthy habits. It’s clear the wearables boom is only just beginning. Weird, wacky, or otherwise.