Business of Design

The 'Next Big Things' in Wearable Tech

The 'Next Big Things' in Wearable Tech


With Apple under pressure, CEO Tim Cook said the company would release "several more game changers," hinting that wearable computers could be among them. The rumor mill went into overdrive following his comments as to what products the tech giant could release with Cook explaining that he was cool on Google Glass but liked the idea of technology for the wrist.

But it's not only Apple and Google that are innovating with wearables. New research by analysts at Credit Suisse calls wearable tech "the next big thing" and details how investors should be correctly placed for an industry set to grow from around $3 billion to $5 billion today to $50 billion within five years.

"It will take a few years, but wearable computing will be widely adopted among the mass affluent," David Pringle, a freelance content consultant for the tech industry, told CNBC. "At the moment, we use smartphones to do all kinds of jobs, but they aren't really optimized for any of them. For some applications, the pendulum will swing back to more single-purpose devices."

Whether it's controlling your computer, tracking your marathon training or even just stopping you from slouching, CNBC lists the new tech that you may be slipping on before you walk out the front door.

By Matt Clinch,
Posted 30 May 2013

Armour 39 Fitness Belt

Under Armour

A belt that's worn around the chest, this gadget can track your heart rate, your calories burned and according to the makers it can even measure your willpower.

Designed for any sport, it can track you vitals and display them on your cellphone or a purpose-built watch. It retails for $149.99.

Vizux Smart Glasses M100

Source: Vuzixs

The Google Glass prototype may be winning the race for creating a buzz but the tech giant has the competition biting at its heels.

Essentially a "hands free" smartphone display in front of your eye, the Vuzix smartglasses M100 can run applications under the Android operating system. It can text, watch video, email, display maps and listen to audio.

Like Google Glass, it is yet to be released but will it have what it takes to upset the apple cart?

Jawbone Up


It may look like a simple wristband, but the Jawbone Up is designed to improve your life by tracking your movements and mood.

When tied with a mobile app, it can track how you sleep, how you eat and how you exercise. It even reminds you when you have been too inactive for too long.

Priced at $99.99, developers bill it as the wearable gadget that helps you "feel your best."

Basis Band


"Style meets substance," say the developers of the Basis Band. At $199.99, this looks more watch than band but adds to current offering of fitness trackers.

Its creators say the gadget can measure heart rate patterns, motion, perspiration and skin temperature and promote "healthy habits," like getting to bed at the right time each night.

Buhel D01 High-Tech helmet


Taking a spin on the bike? Well this may just revolutionize that drive home. The D01 is a hands-free Bluetooth communications system designed to be used with a helmet that covers the ears.

You can phone friends, listen to music and get vital GPS information without lifting your hand off that brake. It retails for $129.99.

Google Glass


Cool or creepy? Some bars in the U.S. may have moved to ban Google Glass already but there's no denying the huge hype around the development. Taking pictures, answering questions and giving directions are just some of the features that have been advertised so far.

"Although the first iteration of Google Glass is likely to be gimmicky and uncool, Google's extensive Web assets and access to real-time data will make an eye-level information feed really useful for networking at a big conference or with finding your way around a new city," Pringle told CNBC.

"Google Glass will represent a platform shift that will enable innovative companies to create applications and utilities that were not possible before."

BEARTek Gloves


You're snowboarding high up on the slopes? Your phone rings and it's just too cold take take off your gloves and take that call. Well not any more.

The clever designers at B.I. tech have come up with BEARTek gloves, enabling skiers, snowboarders and motorcyclists to control their devices with simple fingertip touches.

LUMOback posture sensor


"Stop slouching!" may have been what your mom once implored you. Now, LUMO has built an alternative to help your posture.

Priced at $149, the LUMOback combines with a smartphone to gently vibrate when you're sitting incorrectly. It's designed to improve and maintain proper spinal positioning. Developers say it can relieve back pain.

Thalmic Labs MYO


Ever want to feel a little like a Jedi knight? Well the MYO gesture control gadget from Thalmic Labs may be the answer to your dream.

Although not available for purchase yet, MYO prototypes are designed to let you use the electrical activity in your muscles to wirelessly control computers, phones and other digital devices.

"With a wave of your hand, MYO will transform how you interact with your digital world," the developers say on the product's website.

Nike FuelBand


The Nike FuelBand is another way to monitor your activity by measuring the calories burned, steps taken, etc. via an accelerometer. It syncs wirelessly via Bluetooth with the free Nike FuelBand iOS mobile app or the website and allows users to track and share their activity reports.

The device has a system of LEDs that give readings of stats on activity as well as showing the time. The device retails 129 pounds ($195) in the U.K.

"There have been numerous entrants into the activity monitor market over the last two years," Shane Walker, an associate director at research firm IHS, told CNBC.

"IHS forecasts a three-fold increase in unit sales for activity monitoring products over the next five years, but only a doubling of revenue. This will be due to a high level of pricing pressure from each of these players as they compete for share in a crowded market."

Misfit Shine


The Misfit Shine is an all-metal activity tracker that looks a bit like a fancy clip or a tiny metallic French macaroon. It can be used to track how active you are by clipping it to your clothes and it can be synced with your smartphone by just placing it on the screen. It is compatible with Apple's iOS and Android.

The device has a halo of tiny lights that shine to show you how much exercise you've done. The company says the device is made from aircraft-grade aluminium and is therefore superstrong and waterproof. The device is powered by a coin cell that lasts about four months. It retails for $79.

Sony SmartWatch


Sony's SmartWatch, which beat Apple, Samsung and Google by coming to the market first, runs on Android and has a multitouch OLED display. The watch weighs just 15.5 grams and is just 0.3 inches thick. Users can read email, send texts, use apps such as Twitter and access the Google Play Store. It can also connect to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, up to a distance of 10 yards.

The watch looks very similar to the iPod nano, but it has limited screen resolution of 128 x 128 pixels, about half that of the iPod nano, according to PC Advisor

The watch retails for 79 pounds ($120) in the U.K.