News Roundup – February 2015

What was „hot“during this cold month? Again lot of things happened in the realm of Wearable Technologies. See below what caught our attention this month.

Starting with the latest news first: A former Kickstarter star just ran a second campaign and again became the most successful campaign ever. Back in business to break their own record! Yes, you guessed it right! Pebble, with its third generation of its smartwatch – the Pebble Time will have new features like a color screen and voice input, all maintaining its week-long battery life. The watch is expected to be shipped in May although. The campaign is still running! We will keep an eye on it to see how many million dollars they collect in the end and also look back with a smile when Eric from Pebble first presented his smartwatch at our WT | Wearable Technologies Conference 2012 in San Francisco.

We still stick with Kickstarter for another interesting company currently seeking for funding. Glow headphones with laser technology wires pulsate to your favorite music. Besides looking pretty cool and lighting you up when you are out in the dark it lets you see and track your heartbeat using an integrated heart rate monitor which is placed inside the earbud. The pulse oximeter detects your heart rate and Glow can synchronize the pulsing of the wire to your beat!

There’s news from the VR world. Not only HTC came out with their recently launched VR headset but also toymaker Mattel has something new to offer. The company teamed up with Google for a high-tech update of its View-Master. The next-generation View-Master uses the VR technology from Google’s low-tech Cardboard device. Users will be able to download the View-Master app from Google Play and slot a smartphone into the headset to start exploring. Different tours will come on physical “experience reels” (resembling the original circular slides), which don’t slot into the headset but can sit on a table. Field trips where kids can explore famous places to landmarks, nature or planets and ultimately explore the world in a new way!

After years of guesswork Swatch Group unveiled its first smartwatch: the Touch Zero One for volleyball players and fans. It features a step counter, power hits and power claps and is gathering information using its built-in sensors and sending them on to an app.The watch has a special  “hit counter” that will not just count the amount of times the player has hit the ball during the game but will also be able to differentiate four different hits such as attack hits, low hits, high hits and high fives. The power hit counter will also be able to measure the strength of the hit and, in fact, rate the player on a scale from 0 to 100, from beginner through amateur to professional. From all this compiled data, the app will create graph overviews and reports on the progress the wearer has made over the course of days and months.

There’s also interesting news coming from the fashion industry: Michael Kors’ CEO announced in February that they are entering the wearable tech market with high-tech fashion products. This won’t be the first time that MK looks into wearable tech. Already in 2014 the company launched a line of lipstick tubes and compact mirrors that double as portable phone chargers, as well as a Powermat –  a wireless phone-charging device. MK now has a partnership with Fossil which makes Kors watches, and additionally with Intel and Google to develop wearable technology for the fashion industry.

Last but not least, the Wearable Week has been place beginning of the month. Starting with the 14th WT | Wearable Technologies Conference in Munich and closing with the ISPO during the first week of February and featuring a wide range of speakers and exhibitors with hundreds of attendees looking for the latest technologies in the wearable market and to hear inspiring talks. Also the winners of the Innovation World Cup have been unveiled at this event. Find our live reports here from day 1 and day 2. For the WT | Show at ISPO and some pictures click here!