Wearables are on the rise – it’s predicted that over a billion units will ship in the next three years, with the value of it doubling over the same period – and while it’s often the carefully considered gap-in-the-market, make-life-easier triumphs that attract the media spotlight, there’s also a number of oddities and novelties that look sure to sell.
Hot on the heels of Vegas and their Consumer Electronics Show comes Tokyo, one of the world’s premier destinations for all things tech, and their first ever Wearable Expo, which ends tomorrow. So far, there’s been a proliferation of tech treats we can’t wait to hit the shelves. Here’s our round-up of what’s weird and what’s wonderful – and funnily enough, those terms often come interchangeably.
1. Recon Jet
By connecting to your smartphone and synching up with other devices over Bluetooth and WiFi, the Recon Jet – a sleek-looking ‘wearable computer’ – projects of-the-moment performance data and other screens to on-the-go athletes. With a single swipe to the side of the glasses, users can switch between a map of the journey, a speedometer, heart rate data, and other useful information.
Not only will this clever collar tag notify you if your pet gets lost, this little gizmo – which we’ve dubbed ‘the pet detector’ – aims to show you its ‘feelings’ by analysing its anxiety levels. And, by monitoring the heart rate and respiration of the animal, it alleges it can determine its physical wellbeing – and when a trip to the vet is due.
3. IC Me
Fitness wearables are nothing new, and that’s even the case with devices like the IC Me (in plain English: a blood pressure monitor), with rival designs spotted on, amongst other sites, the crowdfunding Indiegogo. The difference is that this piece of tech, whose size is comparable to a golf ball, works to ‘detect LED light reflected on a finger…[and] convert pulse wave data…into a blood pressure value’. In short, it takes less than a fingerprick and some synching with your smartphone to find out if you have hypertension.
4. Piano gloves
Where once exercising with scales and playing along to a metronome were enough for the ambitious musician, now it seems that movement-tracking, speed-monitoring gloves are the essential piece of kit in a pianist’s repertoire. While the as of yet unnamed electronic garment – made from supple nanomaterial crisscrossed with wires and sensors – may not look pretty, it certainly does the job.