Cityvisitor blog

Wearable technology

Once upon a time wearable technology was pure Hollywood fiction… 

…a la Dick Tracey, James Bond or Star Trek.  But as with smart phones, computers and tablets, it looks like it’s here to stay.  Most notably there is the much-anticipated launch of Google Glass, which is causing a stir in the computer world. Glass is a wearable computer integrated into a pair of normal spectacles, designed to feed information to the consumer via a display directly in front of one eye.

Then there are various types of smart bands and watches, which act as an extension to smart phones via Bluetooth technology. Most recently there has been a ring – the Nod – which can recognise the user’s gestures and aims to be a universal remote control for home appliances, computers, TVs, tablets and even smoke alarms.

However, despite all the exciting possibilities wearable tech creates, it’s rather uninspiring in the looks departments. They all seem to be designed for techy types, who more often than not are men. Google Glass may have graced the runway at a recent Diane von Furstenberg fashion show, but that doesn’t make them any more attractive, especially to women.

All is not lost. There are more and more companies who have discovered a niche for useful technology, which is wearable in both senses of the word – figuratively and literally.

Ringly makes fashionable rings that help wearers keep up-to-date with their phone calls, texts, e-mails, social media alerts and other notifications. The rings feature semi-precious stones, such as onyx, emerald, sapphire and moonstone, in a 18-carat gold-plated setting, underneath which hides Bluetooth technology and a tiny LED light, which will vibrate and flash depending on the type of alert.

Also new to the market is CuffLinc, which is marketed as so called security jewellery. Predominantly aimed at women, the range consists of 18 beautifully designed pieces, such as bracelets, pendants or keychains, which come with an interchangeable component. This component allows the wearer to connect to their smart phone via Bluetooth and receive alerts and notifications. However, the main aim of the device is safety. Controlled by an app, CuffLinc also acts as a personal alarm letting family and friends know if the wearer is in any kind of trouble, be it a flat tyre or an allergic reaction. Pressing the device will send a SOS message, including the user’s exact location.

So it seems that as wearable technology enters the mainstream market, it turns out technology can be beautiful. After all, very few people would want to wear a piece of technology if it makes them look stupid.


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