by Florian Schumacher

September 1, 2013

Wearable Technologies News Roundup – August

Wearables are hot this summer and we are seeing great innovations happening all over the world.

The Smartwatch Race is on

Over the last months many companies and inventors have brought their smartwatches to the market and crowdfunding platforms are constantly featuring new innovative approaches. In the last weeks alone, we have seen successful campaigns by Kreyos, a waterproof device including gesture recognition, or Hot Watch, which comes with a bio-mechanical solution enabling private calls amplified by the palm of your hand. Omate’s True Watch even goes a step further by integrating 3G networks, allowing it to either replace your smartphone or accompany it.

But not only the small innovators, tech giants are entering the market as well. Samsung will reveal its smartwatch Galaxy Gear at a special event in Berlin this week, thus getting a head start over its competitor Apple. Supposedly Apple is having a dream team working on the iWatch, which will probably hit the market next year, including many experts in medical sensors such as Jay Blahnik who helped create the Nike FuelBand. With Google’s recently confirmed acquisition of smartwatch pioneer Wimm Labs, the race is definitely on.

Steve Mann joins Mediated Reality Startup Meta

Not only for watches are truly innovative wearable products being worked on, for glasses as well. Steve Mann, Professor at the University of Toronto, often described as the father of wearable computing, recently became chief scientist at Meta, a startup that not only wants to augment but mediate reality. Rather than enhancing the view on the world, these glasses can even change it, e.g. by removing ads from billboards you don’t want to see. Meta uses stereoscopic cameras, infrared and sophisticated sensors for movement and orientation to capture and process your environment, and projects an alternative reality into the see-trough glasses. 3D modeling and virtual games like chess or laser tag are just some of the applications Meta is developing for its glasses. The video below shows some great examples of how this technology can be applied in the future.

Wearable Market an Opportunity for many Innovators

In the smartphone market, Apple and Samsung have developed a leading position producing half of all devices sold. In the wearables market there is no trend to such dominance by only a few players, according to an interview with Broadcom CEO Scott McGregor for AllThingsD. While smartphones have become powerful generic computer devices that can be used for a lot of different tasks, he sees wearable computing as an opportunity for a lot of niche devices, tailored to the particular needs of certain user bases. Another reason for a greater variety of wearable devices according to McGregor lies in the aesthetics that might play a much bigger role compared to smartphones. Just as there are many manufacturers for watches and jewelry, the individual taste of consumers might open up the market for a broad range of wearables fitting different styles. Innovators in that field should take a look at the Wearable Technologies Innovation World Cup, a great opportunity to gain momentum with your wearables startup.

Fitness Wearables are now a Fashion Statement

According to an article on mobihealthnews more and more athletes and celebrities are using activity tracker bracelets. In Vogue’s September issue, social editor Chloe Malle explains the latest devices from Fitbit, Nike, Jawbone and BodyMedia.  She states, that fitness trackers have really caught on among the fashion elite. “It all began when Serena Williams strode onto Centre Court last year at Wimbledon sporting one (FuelBand) next to her magenta sweatband” Malle explains. Since then, more and more celebrities have been spotted wearing activity trackers and with companies like Misfit, focusing on making their products even more look like jewelry, we expect this trend to continue. If this development remains sustainable, we might soon see even more people taking benefit of digital health products. In addition to health, wearable technologies enable fashion in many other ways. We have covered some of the most advanced technologically enhanced outfits in our article wearable products in the entertainment industry.