The Future of Wearable Tech is Random, Random Stuff

By Spencer Hart on at

So it seems like wearables are going to be a big thing – apparently Apple announced one on Monday, there's a whole bunch of Android Wear devices, and our Darrell has a Moto 360, if you didn't know.

So with that in mind, and fully jumping on the bandwagon, we headed down to the London ExCel Centre this week, where for the past two days giants like Samsung and starts-ups still in the prototype phase were displaying the next generation of strap-on gadgetry at The Wearable Tech Show 2015.

Here are some of our favourites from the show – and some of the weirdest:

1.) Horrific but Hyper-Accurate Body Tracking

Bainisha has developed an ultra-thin and stretchable sensor system to be worn like a 'second skin' on the body as if you're frickin' Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs. In this case, though, it provides hyper-accurate body motion capture and medical quality data – who knows, maybe one day this smart-tattoo will replace a Fitbit.

2.) The Ultimate in Pregnancy Surround Sound 

Are you a pregnant tech-fan? Well, Nuvo Healthcare has you covered with the Ritmo Surround and Ritmo Beats. The Surround is an all-in-one surround sound system for your unborn child, which links to an app allowing you to play music from your own library, from Mozart to Metallica. The Beats, meanwhile, allows you to listen and record both foetus and mother's heartbeat to provide piece of mind during pregnancy. How have mothers coped without this until now?

3.) Intelligent Heated Gloves are Go

There's nothing like slipping on a pair of sensible gloves to warm yourself in the winter. And while heated gloves aren't exactly new, this system that's being developed by Made With Glove is attempting to improve on the concept. If your hands become cold it requires a lot of energy to warm them up, so this attempts to maintain a warm temperature, to improve efficiency and battery life.

4.) The Google Glass Dream Lives On in Headphones

I was personally a fan of Google Glass, but development was always an uphill struggle – it is a real challenge to fit that much tech into thin spectacle frames. The Optinvent ORA-X headphones reckons it's a solution to that problem, consisting of a pair of on-ear headphones with an augmented reality unit built in. Why has no-one thought of this sooner? Maybe because they like that monstrosity above.

5.) The Wearable Airbag

Falling over hurts, especially if you're elderly, on a bike, or on a Paddington cobbled mews (no comment). Enter Iphope with its automatic airbag bumbag, which rather than keeping parents' passport and loose change safe instead inflates on the impact of a fall. Ah, bumbags. Can you smell the '90s nostalgia?

6.) A Smarter Sports Tracker

The Atlas Wristband is an advanced wearable that uses its sensors to detect what activity you're doing automatically and then records it. Our demonstrator lifted a dumbbell weight in two different ways (don't ask me which) and the tracker counted the different repetitions entirely separately. Witchcraft!

7.) The Ring That Feels Your Pain

V1bes (ouch) will tell if you're stressed by measuring your heart-rate (ECG), brainwave (EEG) and surrounding electric field (SEF? We're making guessing there). It does all of this from a (rather large) ring, which is 3D printed of course, and sends the info to a smartphone app. Have smart rings finally arrived?

8.) The Brainwave Sensing Headband

OK, so maybe your V1bes Ring has told you that you're stressed, so how do you calm down? With the Muse InteraXon, of course. The headband uses seven sensors to detect and measure your brain activity, which is then displayed in an app. This creates a guided session using audio and visual feedback to improve your mind's concentration and calmness.

9.) Sleep Tracking that Doesn't Require a Wearable

Sleep tracking is great and all, but simply wearing a Fitbit on your wrist is irritating and ultimately inaccurate. The Beddit takes a different approach, monitoring heart-rate, respiration and motion during your sleep with a thin strip that is placed underneath the bed sheet. If all goes to plan, the information will be ready to browse from your smartphone in the morning.

10.) The Charging Leather Jacket

The Teiimo may look like a normal leather jacket that Shirley from EastEnders would wear, but it actually has an integrated battery and Bluetooth, letting you charge your devices from inside its styling. What more functionality could you ask for? Oh, yeah, it's also heated.