WEARABLES: FROM SMART SHIRTS TO PET TRACKERS
The year where one can probably find a smart tracker in everything.
When it comes to wearables, for now, the hottest piece of real estate is undoubtedly your wrist, but after CES 2015, that might start to change. Among the Innovation Award winners at this year’s CES was a shirt that uses fiber optic cabling to track and model your body’s movement, a heart-rate-monitoring strip that sticks to a user’s torso, and a helmet that can measure and soothe your stress levels. Some exhibitors even debuted wearables for pets.
Smart shirts that can track your activity are nothing new, but shirts made out of a revolutionary new material called XelfleX could completely change smart clothing. The material makes use of fiber optic cabling and advanced data algorithms to track your body’s movement in incredible detail. It works through backscatter data created whenever fiber optic cabling is bent or twisted. This data can then be used to create a real-time, perfect 3D model of what the users arm is doing. The possibilities for fitness or sports coaching are endless, but we might also see XelfleX paired with gear like Oculus Rift to further enhance the VR experience.
One area showing great interest in new wearables is healthcare. Rather than hooking patients up to bulky machines to monitor their vitals, a device such as the AmpStrip, an adhesive patch with a built-in electrocardiogram sensor could be stuck to your chest like a band-aid, and used to monitor your heart-rate and activity, syncing that data in real time directly with the hospital’s computers. CES also saw the debut of the Melomind helmet, which uses electrodes to measure levels of stress via brain activity and then plays appropriately soothing musical tones to put wearers in a more relaxed state. Chronic pain sufferers may also be interested in the Quell band, which uses electrodes to stimulate nerves for pain relief.
Pets are now a target market for wearables too, with the introduction of products like WonderWoof, a Wi-Fi enabled bow-tie with a built-in accelerometer that you can attach to your pet’s collar. The device will track where your pet is, and give feedback about his activity. The app also supports a scheduler which provides users with a ‘doggy diary’ for daily activities. Wonderwoof’s creator, Betsy Fore, created the device after realizing that her dog was fat, and then realizing that she had no idea why her pet was packing
on the pounds.
"SMART SHIRTS THAT CAN TRACK YOUR ACTIVITY ARE NOTHING NEW, BUT SHIRTS MADE OUT OF A REVOLUTIONARY NEW MATERIAL CALLED XELFLEX COULD COMPLETELY CHANGE SMART CLOTHING.”