by Florian Schumacher

August 1, 2014

Wearable Technologies News Roundup – July

More Venture Capital and Cheaper Wearables

Wearable Tech is not only popular with consumers, investors are now also putting more and more money into the market. According to an article from CB Insights, venture capitalists closed 69 deals in 2013 with a total investment of $458 million. CB Insights’ report shows that deals in the wearable tech industry have quadrupled since 2011, resulting in an annual growth between 82 and 124 percent over the last few years. Due to the fierce competition in the market, products have become a lot cheaper for consumers. While the street prices for many of the popular activity trackers have declined dramatically compared to their original price, Chinese manufacturer Xiomi has announced a fitness wristband that will come to the local market for RMB 79 – or $13.

First Digital Tattoo for Consumers Available

The first digital tattoo for end consumers is now available to users with a Motorola Moto X smartphone. The tattoo features a NFC circuit that unlocks the phone and can be worn on the skin continuously for up to 5 days, even under water. A similar unlock technology in the form of a clip-on NFC tag had previously been available for the Moto X. The new digital tattoo is the first of its kind available to consumers; ten tattoos cost around $10. They are currently available only in the US to Motorola Moto X users. The manufacturer Vivalink presents the new digital tattoo in the following video:

New Smartshoes Help Navigate

The past few years have seen many different concepts for smart shoes. Adidas and Nike developed several shoes for athletes with integrated sensors, and in other fields, shoes for geo-location or energy production – just to name a few ideas – had been up for discussion. While most of these products never made it to the market and Nike has meanwhile discontinued its digital product strategy, a new type of smartshoe will soon hit the market. Lechal is a shoe that assists navigation and was recently presented by the Indian company Ducere Technologies. The shoes are connected via Bluetooth to Google Maps on the user’s smartphone and give directions by vibrating. They are also able to tally stats likes steps taken and distance walked, but their uniqueness of course stems from their ability to act as a 6th sense. Visually impaired people are the main target group for the smart navigation system. In September, the shoes will become available for a price between $100 – $150.

Babak Parviz Joins Amazon

Babak Parviz, a researcher and one of the leaders behind Google Glass and Google’s smart contact lens, quit his career at Google X for a new position at Amazon. Further details haven’t been disclosed, but either way it appears to be a smart move for Amazon, since the company is really taking hardware seriously with its recently announced smartphone and the segment stores for wearable technologies. At Google, former Gap and Old Navy marketing chef Iva Ross took the lead for project Glass. She is most likely working on a consumer-friendly version of Glass that might take the product from explorers more to the public.

Image: Lechal