Women’s Personal Tech: 5 Things You Need To Know About Wearables

Monday, March 09, 2015


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The LG Watch

Recent tech headlines are jammed with the latest on wearables, from smartwatches to fitness trackers. But believe it or not, wearables are still not hot sellers. The tough task gadget makers might be facing is melding fashion and functionality. Because, really, how much more “at arms length” do your texts, emails and alerts have to be? A pocket or purse might suffice. Nevertheless, companies are innovating like mad to produce wearables that provide notifications, charge your devices, and give you a clue about your fitness levels. Here’s a list of five categories from the market’s leading brands, including what’s next in the evolution of accessorized technologies.  

1. Smartwatches – Apple, Pebble, LG Urbane and LG Watch Urbane

Before you snap these costly – and what could prove to be faddish – gadgets to your wrists, lets take a look at the most talked-about models. If you’re actually going to purchase a smartwatch, you’ll spend at least $349 on potentially game-changing Apple Watch next month if you’re a Mac person. Pebble Steel, from the Kickstarter darling Pebble, is a definite contender for Apple, with a more professional version of its original plastic model. The newest luxury edition of the LG Watch Urbane, recently unveiled at the Mobile World Congress, offers a conventional timepiece style – round face, silver or gold steel fbody, and both leather or metal straps. The Urbane is the first 4G smartwatch in the world, which means it can actually make calls and send e-mails and texts, without a smartphone in tandem. There’s also a host of Android Wear watches from sporty to sci-fi, like the anticipated Moto 360, a classic design that takes voice commands, accesses your emails and calendars, and notifies you of incoming calls and texts, for $249. But if you’re undecided, sit back and see what others say. If the smartwatch market continues to flat line, they might not say much at all, unless your friends work in the tech industry. 

2. Smart Jewelry

It might be a more image-savvy name for a smartwatch, but here it is: pieces of jewelry that are almost spy-worthy. The MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory) is product from Intel and fashion brand Opening Ceremony that features semi-precious stones, a 18k gold-coated stainless steel band, and a sapphire touch screen, and allows for messaging, calendar synching and email notifications. Designer Rebecca Minkoff partnered with Case-Mate to create the notification bracelet, about $120, which connects with your cell phone via Bluetooth, and the lightning cable bracelet, for around $60, that uses a USB cable to sync and charge your mobile devices. Smart rings and charms that provide notifications have also reached the market. And putting chic aside, there’s the MyID Sleek, a medical ID bracelet that uses QR code technology to store your emergency contacts and medical conditions. It comes in eight colors, for $39.99. 

3. Smart Garments

Some of the world’s top fashion designers are jumping on the wearable wagon to bring smart garments to the market. This means technology can by synthesized with clothing. CuteCircuit, based in London, are a wearable technology fashion house that specializes in interactive fashion. They’ve designed the world’s first Twitter dress. It’s a black chiffon evening gown that lights up with the latest tweets. Other fashion designers and technology companies are weaving LEDs or holographic leathers into fabrics that respond to sound waves. Tommy Hilfiger’s wool and nylon jackets, for women too, are adorned with seven to ten solar panels on the back that charge your mobile devices. Other companies include the start-up Wearable Solar, which also employs solar technology in clothing, and Voltaic Systems has developed a series of device-charging handbags.

4. Smart Sex Gadgets

Just in case you need to keep it closer, now there’s a necklace-vibrator out there, thanks to modern sex toy company, Crave, based in San Francisco. It’s called Vesper, a solid stainless steel pendant which Crave advertises as not only fully functioning, but its sleek aesthetic is also “a subtle addition to your outfit and a standalone statement.” The sex-tech company OhMiBod revamped its blueMotion line of Bluetooth enabled wearable vibrators. It now buzzes in sync to your heartbeat and is controlled through a smartwatch app. 

5. Embeddables and Hearables

Moving beyond the skin, wearables are turning to embeddables and hearables, which function as second-skin devices. Motorola unveiled a digital tattoo that could unlock your smartphone. It’s a nickel-sized, adhesive tattoo – waterproof and resistant to rigorous activities, too – which you can stick to the inside of you wrist, for instance, and swipe your phone across it. Viola, no password required. On the hearable spectrum, Bragi’s Kickstarter-funded The Dash are wireless headphones that not only play music but double as a Bluetooth headset. They also work with the wearer to track movements and measure body vitals. Apple is also working on earbuds that would monitor heart rate, body temperature and more.


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