Three Mind-Blowing Wonders of Wearable Tech

Smart watch on male hand with new unread message

Wearable technology is touted as the future of electronics, fashion, fitness, and business. As the industry expands, wearable tech devices will increasingly target specific aspects of work and lifestyle, with products designed for managing finances and schedules, or enjoying sports and music. In this sense, wearable tech reflects the functionality of the now mundane smartphone or tablet.

Of course, it’s not so much what wearable tech does that fascinates us, but how it does it, or rather, how we manipulate its function. Whereas interacting with electronic and digital devices used to just mean pushing buttons, it’s rapidly becoming far more personal. Technology that lives on your body, operates in conjunction with it even, entices us in an almost romantic fashion, conjuring images of spy movies and science fiction.

By now, you’re more than familiar with Google Glass, Pebble watches, and fitness tracking wristbands. What about the truly mind-blowing wearable tech? Better yet, what devices are designed to address real life challenges, without requiring you to drastically alter your look? We’ve gathered a few wearable tech wonders you might find yourself sporting in the next few months, or perhaps in the coming decades.

Interactive Rings with Gesture Recognition

Interactive rings are worn on the hand and synch up with other smart devices, such as phones and home appliances. They respond to the gestures you make with your fingers and palm to control these devices, while allowing you to switch between your phone, television, lighting system, and more. Interactive rings and gesture recognition receive attention not only for their convenience, but for their accessibility while driving or in a case of visual impairment. A couple of interactive, gesture driven rings come to the forefront of this field.

Fin is worn on the thumb, and turns your fingers into an interface. TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield 2014 has named it one of the world’s Top 15 Startups. With a sleek and subtle design, Fin is effectively used in a work presentation, on a run, while relaxing in front of the television, or in taking self portraits. All you need to do is tap your fingers. It is a Bluetooth-enabled device, and easily linked to your music player, car, T.V., gaming system, camera, or phone. Further, Fin works will with head-mounted devices. In the company’s own words, “Fin puts the world at your fingertips.”

Logbar’s Ring essentially turns your finger into a magic wand. Like Fin, it is Bluetooth enabled, but uses only one finger at a time, rather than all of them at once. Link Ring to your T.V., phone, watch, home appliances, computer, or head-mounted device, slide it on your finger, and simply tap its side to begin gesturing. Using Ring Font and designated shapes, create text or access applications by drawing in the air. You can also edit the gestures for quick customization. Vibrations and light emitting diodes (LED) light alert you to notifications. The Advanced Payment Solution Gateway, used with a Global Positioning System (GPS) or iBeacon, lets you make immediate payments with little more than a drawn check mark.

Nymi Identity Authenticating Wristband

The Nymi wristband is designed to offer the utmost in security and control. Like the interactive rings described above, it connects to all of your smart devices, but with an invaluable added feature. Nymi uses your heartbeat to authenticate your identity, freeing you from password entry and making it impossible for anyone else to access your linked devices.

As soon as you put the Nymi around your wrist, it turns on. Placing your finger on a topside sensor while your wrist touches the bottom sensor completes an electrical circuit, and the Nymi detects your heartbeat as a form of identification. Any linked smart devices will recognize you until you remove the Nymi wristband.

The capabilities of Nymi go well beyond simple identification. Open your vehicle doors or trunk with a single motion, thanks to the integrated motion sensor. Continuous authentication lets you log in to your computer by merely sitting in front of it. Make purchases with a flip of your wrist, and open locked doors with proximity based activation. You can also control smart appliances in your home or office. Log off of everything when you remove the Nymi from your wrist.

One of the most highly anticipated features of Nymi is its facilitation of secure payments. Since the wristband ensures only you are controlling your devices and accounts, you benefit from an additional line of security. Further, Bionym, the creator of Nymi, plans to launch a Bitcoin wallet application.

Smart Hearing Aids

Both gesture-controlled rings and cardiac rhythm-recognizing wristband come with plenty of practical applications, and even some solutions for everyday challenges. Yet, neither is specifically designed to address a common disadvantage. Smart hearing aids, on the other hand, are something for which even your great grandparents could envision a practical use.

Wearable technology can connect you to a multitude of devices, and smart hearing aids are no different. Apple is leading the way in this field with LiNX, the product of its partnership with Danish hearing aid creator GN ReSound. Users have the option to use the LiNX like a traditional hearing aid, or stream audio from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. One of the great things here is that users may adjust settings on their smart device, rather than fiddle with the aid itself. In addition, linkage with Apple products helps locate misplaced hearing aids, and provides a GPS to tap settings for frequented locations.

Less well known is the Phonak Audéo SMART. Wireless technology allows two worn aids to communicate with each other, as well as with a Bluetooth cell phone or even a television. According to Phonak, the Audéo SMART is the smallest hearing aid with full wireless functionality.

If Talk of Wearables Gets Under Your Skin…

We feel confident in speculating that the demand for wearables will grow in the coming years, and that technology will improve to satisfy it. Still, a few are already taking the next step, and discussing the concept of “embeddables.” According to some, technology placed within our own bodies will one day dominate the world of personal computing, and improve the quality, and length, of life.

Are you ready to embrace wearable tech as a part of your daily routine? Would you consider an implant or other embeddable enhancement? Let us know in the comments!

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