Techilicious columnist Rajiv Makhni
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’. Arthur C Clarke wrote that in his essay, Hazards of Prophecy and even though he wrote it in 1962, he got it bang on. Every few years, along comes a technology that truly transforms lives, makes our jaws drop at the potential and makes us yearn to strap it on and start our magical journey. Wearable tech is the latest technology magic that has taken the world by storm. Unfortunately every ‘Next Big Thing’ also spawns some ‘Next Big Horrible Idea’ devices too. Here’s my list of top wearable tech products that are emerging. How many of these are incredible innovations and how many should be thrown in the super clunker basket?
Top wearable tech products Solar Coterie – Solar Powered Bikini: Yes, you read that right. It’s a bikini retrofitted with photovoltaic waterproof solar film strips sewn together in series with conductive thread. The cells terminate in a 5-volt regulator and you can charge your phone or portable music player through an attached USB connection. There’s also a male swimsuit version coming that apparently has more ‘surface’ area. Go figure!
Future Fashion now by Cute Circuit: Singers Katy Perry, Nicole Scherzinger and Safura have all worn them and if you think these are some tacky dresses with some ghastly LED lights inside them flashing on and off – then you’re going to be very pleasantly surprised (check cutecircuit.com/videos). For instance the K Dress is a hand-pleated silk chiffon and silk taffeta dress, with thousands of super miniature LED lights embedded in the fabric that sparkle in patterns and colours that you can set with a snap-in controller. You plug the dress into a USB port to charge up for an entire night.
Amiigo – Fitness Bracelet: Most activity trackers give you an estimate of your physical activity all day by tracking movement. Unfortunately that’s not very accurate as they can’t track the energy burnt during lifting weights or a spin cycling session. That’s where the Amiigo comes in. It can track the exercise type, reps, sets, duration, speed and intensity while built-in sensors can monitor real-time heart rate, blood oxygen levels, skin temperature, sweat, overall activity level and calories burned.
All charged up: Charge your phone or portable music player with the help of this solar bikini
Misfit Shine: This is the next generation of clip-on physical trackers. This is a tiny, waterproof, all-metal activity tracker that you can sync with your smartphone just by placing it on your phone screen. It has built-in sensors that can track cycling, swimming, running and walking, plus it keeps you on track all day with an array of light, that shines through microholes laser-drilled into the metal shell and alerts you about your activity progress.
Beauty and the Geek Jeans: Is that a keyboard on your pants or are you just happy to see me! These jeans go where no jeans have gone before. They have a keyboard, a speaker and mouse built right in and can connect to your computer through Bluetooth. My only real issue is actually typing on that keyboard as that’s the kind of ‘space’ I don’t want to drum my fingers on all day!
Orange Power Wellies: Our bodies generate an infinite amount of energy, and there’s nobody tapping it. Well, now your shoes can. These Wellies have a power-generating sole that converts heat from your feet into an electrical current. As you move about all day, the ‘welectricity’ you generate gets stored and all you have to do is plug in your phone into the power output at the top of the boot and it’s good to go. Walking around all day can give you about an hour or two of a boost – and if you want more, then it’s recommended that you get onto the dance floor. But don’t blame me if you look like a total prat dancing in those oversized boots!
Clip it on: Misfit Shine sensors alert you about your activity progress
BlackSocks – the world’s smartest socks: Mankind is made for greater things than sorting socks; that’s the claim of this manufacturer and I’d tend to agree. Each pair of socks comes with a RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip built-in that talks to an app on your phone. This tells you which socks belong together, how often you’ve washed your socks, how old they are now, if they’ve lost colour and aren’t jet black anymore and even helps you order new ones and alerts you when they’ve been dispatched. Overkill, anyone? There are many others, like the Pebble watch, the Basis Band or the LUMOback – but those I’ve already covered earlier. Yes, some are horrible ideas and some are radically mouth-watering. But then that’s how all magic is, isn’t it? Some leave you spellbound at the sheer wizardry of it all and some leave you disappointed by the silliness of it all. Which of the above is magical and which is super clunky? Time for you to pronounce a verdict by joining me on Twitter.
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet
From HT Brunch, April 28
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