5/11/2013, Javier Pastor
Google Glass is the typical example of what wearable computing technologies can achieve. By this we mean the integration of small technological components—cameras, sensors, connectivity chips—into normal clothes and daily fashion accessories. The development of the Mountain View company is remarkable for its ambition and possibilities, but there are other alternatives equally remarkable.
In this article you are about to discover some of them: ideas trying to take their chance—by raising funds in crowdfunding services, for instance—in an especially competitive market where many people explore new possibilities. These go beyond traditional smart bracelets or watches, and adapt various supports to give new meanings to this technology.
We are almost used to the release of bracelets by giants of the likes of Nike with its Fuelband or FitBit—with its latest development, Force. These bracelets are essentially designed to track your daily physical activity, and the audience segment that may be interested in them is especially sporty.
Angel works from this concept on, but can offer other capabilities too. It is able for instance to become a comprehensive monitoring sensor combining physical activity with health care. If while running or making other fitness or sport activities we are doing a particularly intense effort, the bracelet will send an alert to our mobile device. This principle extends to other scenarios and for example we can use Angel to receive alerts of any kind when a problem is detected on the health of a family member.
BluFit is a ‘smart’ water bottle connected to your mobile device. The connection to the mobile application allows setting parameters such as your weight, age, or the temperature and humidity of your environment to enable this bottle to suggest you how much water you have to consume, and when.
The bottle assesses all these parameters and also detects what you have drunk so as to keep you informed of the best time to drink and keep you hydrated. You can configure sound and visual alarms in the bottle—with different color lights— as well as notifications that are sent to your mobile phone to keep that track in detail.
Diet is another field in which these devices can be very useful, as shown by the scanner TellSpec, a small device that ‘studies’ your food and allows you to know its components or the calories contained in every 100 grams (0.220 pounds) of any food. Moreover, it points out the possible elements that could provoke you allergies.
The device is part of a three-part system with the aforementioned scanner, an algorithm available in the server of its developers and an application connected to this algorithm. The scanner uses a spectrometer to send information that is analyzed in the cloud and you get a report that allows you at any time knowing whether the dish you are willing to take is adequate for you or not.
The monitoring of fitness activity goes a step further with QuASP, a device in the shape of a sensor integrated in your clothes that evaluates various aspects of your physical activity such as acceleration or deceleration patterns, reaction times when changing direction and, of course, distances, speeds, and even high jumps.
There is also a Pro version of the device that can monitor the behavior of an entire team of athletes, which allows a better understanding of the quality of their performances, and if, for instance, players from that team are moving at the speed required to the right place at all times. As usual, all this information is transmitted to mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones, but also PCs, where you can analyze it.
Another segment in which the technology integrated into the clothing and accessories has special interest is video games. Systems like Oculus Rift prove it, but there are alternatives like Ringbow, a ring that allows you to interact with touch devices specifically aimed at mobile games.
This unique ring replaces the mouse or the keyboard when you interact with a mobile device with touch screen. The idea is reminiscent of the pointers that let you draw on tablets or graphic tablets, but with Ringbow this physical contact with the screen is not necessary. The device got enough funding to become a reality, and its combination of remote control functions, touch control and games show some directions likely to be taken in the near future in this unique field.
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