High on the Cool Scale: The World of Wearable Technology

Snow2 Ski GogglesThe World of Wearable Technology

Today’s wearable technology feels like it’s right out of a James Bond flick, except that, in some cases, it’s 30 percent cooler.

New designs from major manufacturers will have us wearing smart watches, augmented reality devices, and more. What’s in store for 2014?

Recon Instruments Snow2 Ski Goggles

If you love skiing, you’ll probably love these new goggles. They provide a heads-up display while you’re gliding down the slopes. Want to see where your friends are? Look to your right or left. The goggles display a small pointer or “flag” over them. Check your altitude, speed, and other stats while you’re skiing. This is so cool.

Avegant Glyph Virtual Retinal Display

Downloading and sharing videos usingYTD from http://youtubedownload.altervista.org/ might be a lot cooler with the Avegant Glyph virtual retinal display device. Just remember to respect intellectual property rights when using downloaded material.

The Avant Glyph is like your own personal T.V., except better. The company claims that it uses a lot of tiny mirrors, and a low-powered LED, to project an image right onto your retina. This gives you a sort of “augmented reality” as you’re not limited to just a flat screen. You can see movies and video all around you. Compare that to projector-style “virtual reality” goggles that display the image in front of you.

The projection might give you a 360 degree view of a virtual “world,” but it’s still artificial – noticeably so. Your brain can perceive the artificial nature of the world being projected before you. But, when images are beamed straight into your eyes, there’s nothing being projected “out there.” That, say some, is what will make this the first true “augmented reality” device on the market.

Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses

Vuzix is Google Glass’s competitor. At $999, it’s not cheap, but it does have some of the same features. The downside? It’s made primarily for the warehousing market, runs the OMAP4430 processor, and the Android operating system. Critics note that Android is far from perfect as far as OSs are concerned. But, at least it’s cheaper than Glass.

Epson Moverio BT-200 Smart Glasses

Most people forgot about Epson a long time ago, but the company actually lives on. At CES, it introduced its new smart-glasses platform. It’s a binocular LCD projection lens system with a compass, gyro, and accelerometer built right in. It also boasts a front-facing camera, an Android 4.0 handheld controller, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0. One of the coolest applications for this device? An app that allows paramedics see patients’ veins. Clearly this is meant for a more professional crowd.

Pebble Steel Bluetooth Watch

Who wears watches nowadays? Well, the watch is making a comeback. Introducing Pebble smartwatch. The updated version of the original now boasts three different stainless steel versions of the classic plastic unit. There’s also expanded options for developers through the company’s updated API.

But, the most exciting developments will probably be made by Apple and other companies jumping onto the quantified self bandwagon. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a growing trend in the marketplace to provide users with critical health status updates.

For example, companies like FitBit have mastered the art and science of tracking users’ health-status using a wearable rubberized band. The information is then “beamed” to a smartphone or a laptop where the data can be analyzed. Users can track sleep, calorie intake, steps walked, and a lot more.

Many companies want to build a sort of distributed healthcare model where users can administer diagnostic tests and communicate directly with labs and their doctors.

Intel Edison Development Board

There’s an entirely new class of wearable technology that opens the door future innovation. Enter the Intel Edison Development Board. It’s a computer built around a 400MHz Quark processor running Linux. It will carry an unspecified amount of memory, use Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, and here’s the best part: it all fits on an SD card. The company demonstrated its use on a baby doll.

This device could be used to monitor the child’s heartbeat and other vitals, which are displayed on a coffee mug, of all things.

What could this technology be used for? Practically anything, really. Imagine being able to strap a device to your scuba-diving suit so that you (or someone else) can monitor your vitals. The computer could also be instrumental in transmitting vital data about police and rescue teams on the scene of a crime or in a burning building, helping employees monitor advanced vitals in a nuclear (or some other dangerous) power plant.

WriterAbout the Author

Dean Foss loves innovative technology. He often blogs about breakthrough tech and their applications for everyday life.

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