The rise of wearable tech
By Charlotte Kertrestel, 3 Jul 2013
If you read any tech-related article you'll know that this year is tipped to be the year of wearable tech. You might have thought that we've seen the best that mobile phones have to offer, but, with the likes of Google Glass and the alleged iWatch on its way, it seems that we haven't seen anything yet.
So what exactly does wearable tech consist of, and what can we expect to see?
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The smartwatch is the main talking point when it comes to wearable tech, with news of Apple allegedly making the iWatch hitting the headlines only this week. Smartwatches essentially work alongside your smartphone, and allow users to make calls, texts and use apps via a device worn on your wrist.
Although rumours suggest that major manufacturers such as Samsung and Motorola are also looking into building a smartwatch, lesser-known companies have already released similar devices, previewed at this year's CES and MWC events.
The Pebble Watch is a smart device aimed primarily at sports-enthusiasts. The watch is linked to your smartphone via a Bluetooth connection, and allows users to track workouts, heart rate and calorie intake, as well as allowing you to take calls and read messages.
Other similar devices include the I'm Watch, which makes it easy for users to read text messages, make phone calls, and even access a range of custom-built apps from the I'm Market.
Perfect for athletes, trend-setters or just mobile phone geeks, the smartwatch trend looks like it's one that's sure to catch on in the coming months.
As you'll probably be aware, Google's Glass is the latest weird and wonderful contraption to come out of the American web giant.
Essentially a pair of spectacles, Google Glass lets you read all of your messages, emails and social notifications, as well as make calls, take photos and record videos, all without having to so much as touch your smartphone.
Google Glass has, however, received a considerable amount of criticism over concerns about the device's potential threat to security and personal privacy. Despite this, Google claims that its Glass revolutionises the way that we use smartphone technology, opening up new realms of possibility when it comes to technological innovations.
A slightly more obscure take on wearable tech is Motorola's solution to issues of computer-based security. The company best known for innovation has revealed its plans to introduce temporary tattoos which act as passwords for users to access their computer and smartphone devices.
The tattoo can last on the skin for up to a week and uses a series of sensors and antennae to unlock your devices. Who knew skin-art could be so useful?
Following on from Motorola's password-enabling tattoo, a company in China has introduced the Geak Ring- a wearable ring that uses an in-built NFC chip to unlock your smartphone or computer.
Simply tap your device with the ring and you will be able to access all of your phone or computer's applications. Not quite as secure as the tattoo concept, perhaps, but an interesting take on increasing cyber-security: just don't take it off!
Heapsylon, a US-based company has revealed its next invention in wearable technology in the form of electronic socks.
The footwear, which looks just like any ordinary pair of socks, allows users to track their walking and running style, and has been designed particularly with athletes in mind.
The electronic socks are linked to a band worn around the ankle; all of the data about your walking habits is then transferred from the sock to the band, which, in turn, can be accessed via your smartphone.
You can monitor how far you might have walked or run, as well as tracking whether you over or under-pronate, making it easier to avoid sports injuries.
About the author
Charlotte Kertrestel is a mobile phone expert and enthusiast about all things tech. She writes for Mobilephones.com, a mobile phone comparison website that brings you the best mobile phone deals, news and reviews.
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