Tech You Can Wear…Right Now
Google's fancy head-up display (HUD) glasses, dubbed "Project Glass," has nerds and non-nerds alike excited for the future of wearable technology. At its I/O developer conference in June, Google reported that the first developer versions of the new high-tech glasses will be available early next year, at a hefty price of $1500.
But you don't have to wait until next year (and probably much later, unless you happen to be a developer) to get your hands on wearable tech. Here are ten pieces of wearable technology that are available right now.
Vuzix Wrap 920AR
Google's Project Glass glasses aren't the first HUD glasses to (almost) hit the market. That honor goes to Vuzix's Wrap 920AR glasses, which are augmented reality glasses designed to be used with a Windows PC.
The Wrap 920AR glasses, which cost $1499, feature a near-eye display system that produces the visual equivalent of a 67-inch display seen from approximately 10 feet away. This display feature is meant for viewing videos and images--not for taking advantage of the glasses' AR capabilities. To use the AR capabilities, you'll have to connect the glasses to a PC. The Wrap 920AR glasses support both 2D and stereoscopic 3D images.
Wearable technology doesn't have to be useful, it can just be...pretty. The K-Dress from CuteCircuit is a good example of useless prettiness: it's a silk chiffon and taffeta dress featuring hundreds of embedded LED lights.
Inspired by the illuminated couture dress from CuteCircuit that Katy Perry wore to a gala in 2010, the K-Dress has a small snap-in controller that lets you control the embedded LEDs. You can recharge the controller via USB. The dress is dry-clean only, and you need to remove the battery before taking the garment in for cleaning. You can pick up the K-Dress at CuteCircuit's website for $2373.
3RD Space FPS Gaming Vest
The 3RD Space FPS gaming vest lets you "feel what you've been missing" during your years of playing video games on a computer or game console. This vest features eight active zones (four on the front, and four on the back) that use special air impact technology to let you feel various in-game blasts as you see them on screen. According to the company, the $139 vest helps you sense the "direction and force" of bullet fire, explosions, and environmental effects, altering your strategy and amplifying the game's intensity. The vest plugs into your computer or gaming console via USB cable.
Adidas miCoach Heart-Rate Monitor and Supernova Sports Bra
Heart-rate monitors are a pretty basic form of wearable tech. They typically consist of the monitor attached to a strap, which goes around your ribcage. But that strap can be annoying and/or unstylish, so Adidas has created a special sports bra that works with its miCoach heart-rate monitor. The monitor fits neatly into that little pocket on the front of the bra. The monitor costs $70 on Adidas's site (it comes with a strap and an iPhone plugin, so you can track your heart rate on your iPhone), and you can pick up the sports bra for $27 on 6PM.com.
Novero Bluetooth Pendant Necklace
Bluetooth headsets aren't terribly attractive, and holding your phone up to your ear is inconvenient. But thanks to this pretty pendant necklace from Novero, you no longer have to choose between style and convenience. Available for $348 at AhaLife.com, the necklace features Bluetooth 2.1, a MicroUSB charger, and 4 hours of talk time (or 100 hours of standby time). The necklace has an open design, with the earpiece hanging down next to the pendant. If you get a call,simply tap a small button on the pendant, swing the earpiece up and into your ear, and start talking away.
Silicon Micro Display ST1080
If you like watching 1080p video, but you don't like being tied down to a screen, you can pick up Silicon Micro Display's ST1080 wearable display ($799). This large, wearable display shows you the equivalent of a 100-inch display at a distance of 10 feet. It supports 2D and 3D content, and it features 10 percent transparency (so you can walk around without running into walls). It comes with 3.5mm mono headphone jacks on either side, and comes with a small controller box that can connect to anything with an HDMI output.
InPulse Smart Notification Watch
There's no reason to take your phone out of your bag or pocket to check your text messages, email, calendar alerts, or recent phone calls. Just glance down at your InPulse Smart Notification watch. The Smart Notification Watch, which costs $150 at ThinkGeek and works with Android and BlackBerry devices, lets you manage all of your phone notifications from a 1.26-inch color OLED display on your wrist. You can oversee multiple inboxes, check all of your alerts and email messages, and see who's calling. InPulse is currently developing a similar watch for iOS users.
The Lumoback is a lot like your mother: It tells you when you're slouching. Priced at $129 and available for preordering now (it's expected to ship in November), the Lumoback is a small device that you wear on your lower back; it vibrates when you slouch, so you know when you need to straighten up. It connects wirelessly to your iPhone or iPad, and tracks your movements over time so you can keep track of how much your posture is improving.
Personal Soundtrack Shirt
Life is much more exciting with a soundtrack. But creating your own music and sound effects in real time as you go about your daily tasks can get old fast--and might lead to your being ushered away in a tight jacket. With the personal soundtrack shirt ($40 from ThinkGeek), however, you can enjoy the effect of having a real-life soundtrack. The shirt comes with a speaker and a wired remote, along with ten music themes (such as "Royal Entrance" and "Silent Movie Chase Theme") and ten sound effects (such as "Drum Roll" and "Laugh Track") prerecorded on an SD Card. If you'd rather devise your own personal soundtrack, you can remove the SD Card and create your own 20-sound-byte track.
The Jawbone Up wristband puts a sleep-cycle tracker, a meal tracker, a pedometer, an activity tracker, and a vibrating alarm clock in one neat little iPhone-connected bracelet. The Up even vibrates when you've been sitting still too long. Sweatproof and and water-resistant, the Up looks pretty cool on your wrist, too. It costs $99, and comes in blue, black, white, and red.
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