There were a lot of wearables at the Consumer Electronics Show last week beyond just Apple Watches and Fitbits. Here are a few of our favorites.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) couldn’t be held in a better place, since it’s somewhat of a microcosm of Las Vegas. It’s huge, overwhelming, easy to get lost in, and full of sensory overload.
To give you an idea of just how many consumer electronics we’re talking about here, the CES directory is 442 pages long. It would have been impossible to really check everything out, but I did my best to see as much as I could. In addition to virtual reality (VR) and smart home technology, wearables was another big theme of this year’s show.
Here are eight of the coolest. Are any of these going to blow up and become the next Apple Watch? Probably not, but we mostly define cool as being innovative and different. Fitbits are so mainstream now that your mom probably has one. But it’s probably around her wrist and not, say, her waist.
Samsung’s Welt, a portmanteau of “wellness” and “belt,” is something of a fitness tracker in disguise. It looks like any other stylish leather belt, but its buckle is full of sensors. The Welt tracks users’ waist sizes, eating habits and steps, as well as how much time per day they spend sitting down. The Welt works with an app that creates a customized health and weight loss plan based on your own data. It was created in Samsung’s Creative Lab but given how well-received it was at CES, it may become a consumer product down the line.
Scottevest doesn’t make wearable tech so much as it makes wearables designed to carry tech. The genesis of a company is often based on solving a problem and Scottevest tackles the one where you’re constantly looking through your overstuffed pockets. The Idaho clothier makes jackets, shorts and shirts have multiple (up to 40) pockets specifically designed for certain gadgets, like smartphones. For $20, there’s even a hat that allows you to zip your wallet into its brim.
3. Cashmere faux fur Bluetooth earmuffs
Inspired by Tory Burch’s disastrous foray into fitness trackers, New Jersey tech company MixBin’s product line was designed with both fashion and function in mind. The practically-named cashmere faux fur Bluetooth earmuffs let users stay warm while listening to music and taking calls – without looking like they’re actually doing either of those things. The earmuffs are available at retailers such as Amazon and Nordstrom Hautelook.
4. Computer glasses
According to research by the Vision Council, 90 percent of Americans spend at least two hours looking at digital devices each day (that’s it?!) and 76 percent look at their smartphones within an hour of going to sleep (again: that’s it?!). These practices result in symptoms like headaches, strained eyes, dry eyes and blurred vision. As a result, the Vision Council pioneered pairs of protective eyeglasses that have filtered lenses customized to reduce blurriness, pixellation, brightness and glare, and block blue light.
With cyclists in mind, Visijax has launched a collection of jackets, gilets (you know, those vests that crossing guards wear) and backpack covers all of which are outfitted in high-intensity LED lights. The cool part is how they’re motion-sensitive. The jackets are covered in regular white lights, but when a cyclist raises his or her arm, the light has more of an amber color to mimic that of a turn signal.
Like the Welt, Digitsole’s products are another twist on fitness trackers. These are built into shoes, which can monitor steps taken and calories burned. The company makes everyday-looking sneakers and pumps that users can heat up with their smartphones. There’s also the Smartshoe01, which looks like something out of Back to the Future‘s vision of 2015, does all that, plus automatic tightening and shock absorption measurement.
Gymwatch is yet another fitness tracker, but it’s more of a digital fitness coach. The German company’s eponymous armband precisely measures the full range of motion and strength expended in more than 900 different exercises. It then provides real-time verbal feedback to ensure you’re doing them correctly. Gymwatch also has an app that comes complete with workout templates.
In what may be the most unorthodox piece of technology on this list, TempTraq is the only wearable device I saw for babies. It’s a soft, disposable patch that sticks onto a sick baby’s torso, right below the underarm, and allows parents to monitor his or her temperature for 24 hours at a time. Sticking a thermometer in a baby’s mouth can be difficult and it’s not like they can tell you if they’re feeling better.
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