Was it Confucius who said that a bracelet can be so much more than just a bracelet? Possibly not. But who cares? It couldn't be more true. Here's the thing: we're living in a wearables world, and it's time to embrace what's out there. And believe us - we've gone well beyond fitness trackers.
For all the wannabe “self-facilitating media nodes” out there, here’s a cheeky summary of the some of the best put-it-on-your-body-instead-of-holding-it tech (i.e. wearable tech) that’s been released recently.
Remember how Google tried to make us all wear those frames that were set to offer the bad-ass capabilities of a commuting Terminator, but in reality just made everyone look like they’d borrowed their weird uncle’s reading glasses?
Well, Snapchat — which is now just called Snap, FYI — is attempting another kind of optical accessory. Less sci-fi and more fun-focused, these “Spectacles” look a lot like your standard brightly coloured festival wayfarers, but with the addition of a little disco-cam in the left-hand corner to easily capture that moment when your mate tries to dance like your aforementioned weird uncle. With up to 24-hours of charge, 30-seconds of video recording, a relatively cheap price tag (approx. $130) and a trendy design, expect to be dodging these lenses left, right and centre at parties to come.
Jim Beam’s Apple watch
The Jim Beam Apple watch may not be able to tell you when someone has liked your lunch Instagram or pay for your soy latte, but it can get you drunk. Making booze as easy to consume as possible is the key USP of this fetching faux-time piece. No microchip, no clock. Just a folding shot glass. There is a knob on the side, but it does nothing. Drinking a perfect measure is literally all this watch enables you to do. And it couldn’t be more desirable. So much so, that it sold out within three hours of being available to buy.
Michael Kors’ Access Smartwatch
For all the fashion lovers out there, Michael Kors has given the world the Access Smartwatch, which allows impossibly chic gals such as Zendaya and Martha Hunt to tell each other how many calories they’ve burnt boxercising, as well as receive Instagram notifications, all with the lift of a wrist. Coming in a variety of jazzy colours, as well as having the option to bling up the interface with digital diamond screen savers — which are much more affordable than the real thing — this accessory barely looks like tech at all. #chic
Garmin’s Vivofit Jr bands
Prising kids away from their laptop screens is a tough ask, but Garmin seem to have a pretty solid solution: swapping one bit of tech for another. The Vivofit Jr bands are basically mini-me versions of adult Fitbit-style straps, which monitor movement. However, for the kids, there’s a perk, obvs. For each hour of activity completed, little tykes are rewarded with various treats, such as unlocking fun facts and coins that can be redeemed against pre-approved apps. Now, if only the grown-ups had that kind of motivation…
As most ladies who lunge are aware, a decent sports bra is a life-changing thing indeed. And they don’t come much more revolutionary than the OMbra, which uses all kinds of tech wizardry (and probably some science) to monitor things such as breathing, heart rate, metabolic burn and all other sorts of performance-improving and ab-firming stats. Hailing itself as a “mindful” running companion, it certainly offers more than the usual super-bounce support, enabling you to make the most of your workout.
Nuzzle’s GPS Collar for dogs
Ever wondered what your furry little friend is up to when you’re at work and they’re at home? Well, Nuzzle’s new GPS collar for dogs is on hand to reveal all. With its inbuilt activity and thermometer monitors, you can ensure they’re safe, sound and calm. There is also GPS tracking and geofencing, to ensure they don’t wander too far from home, which is a welcome bit of spyware for obsessive pet parents. Gone are the days when you Facetime them just to let them know you care. Of course, we’ve never done that either… ahem.
Intel and Hussein Chalayan stress-monitoring accessories
To many, the prospect of literally seeing their stress levels rising visibly on the wall in front of them would be somewhat traumatising. But not to fashion designer and technical wunderkind Hussein Chalayan, oh no. To him, it’s a great way to assess how you’re feeling, and then do something about it, which although ripping the plaster off somewhat, is also logical. By teaming up with the clever clogs at Intel, Chalayan has created a series of accessories — glasses and belts — which picked up biometric data from the brain, and then projected it onto the nearest surface. While these products are very much in the study stages, once they inevitably do hit the market, avoid wearing on first dates, public transport or family gatherings.
WiseWear bracelets are self-billed as inspiring confidence in the wearer. No, they don’t help you give eyes to that fittie on the bus or get a promotion effortlessly, but they do offer a bit of peace of mind should you find yourself out on a dodgy Tinder date. Without sounding too dramatic, these bracelets have an in-built panic button, which is activated by tapping a specific part of the jewellery. This then sends a pre-saved “help text” to emergency contacts you have stored, as well as your location. Hopefully, this element will never be needed though, and you can just make the most of WiseWear’s activity monitor and Bluetooth phone link-up, which enables it to vibrate when your phone is ringing or receiving notifications.
Sony’s Playstation VR
When Jamiroquai (remember them?!) were banging on about “Virtual Insanity” none of us actually thought that Virtual Reality would become a “thing.” But lo and behold, people are strapping their faces into tech masks, and Sony have just nailed yet another way to do it. The Playstation VR is one of the most affordable, actually-pretty-good offers on the rapidly filling market right now. With set-up and plug-in taking a reported 10 minutes at a push, you too can enter the Matrix in your own home with ease.
Levi’s Commuter X Jacquard by Google Trucker Jacket
Techno-fash, a loose term, has been a bit rubbish really, hasn’t it? It’s all well and good to want your clothes to do things other than stop you being naked and stuff, but we all still care primarily what they look like. This is why this invention from Levi’s and Google is so good. In short, it just looks like a denim jacket, which is pretty chill. However, in the sleeve is this nifty bit of genius, a trackpad which allows the wearer — namely cyclists — to scroll through their music, answer calls and access voice directions simply by tapping, swiping and holding their sleeve. The name is the most awkward thing about this bit of kit – everything else is pretty amazing.
Chances are, if you own a Montblanc piece of arm candy, you appreciate the finer things in life. And as such, would rather your watch looked like… well, a watch, as opposed to the dial of a microwave. With that in mind, the brand has come up with a sneaky way to incorporate tech into its timeless designs, via a very subtle e-Strap which sits on the underside of your wrist. With fitness tracking, notification delivery and handy bits of Montblanc wearer info — such as flight updates — this is more Mr. Gentleman than Inspector Gadget.
Main pic via: hellonuzzle