BreakingModern — New York is the so-called Fashion Capital of the World, and early summer is prime time for consumer electronics events in the Big Apple, including the Consumer Electronics Association’s CE Week and Pepcom’s Digital Experience! Each year, these factors converge to produce a new crop of fashionable but functional technology wearables. Here are sneak peeks at six upcoming products from the 2015 season which you can’t buy in stores or online just yet.
Ditto — Leave Your Phone Behind
Previewed at the Pepcom show, Simple Matters’ Ditto is one of those wearables that can be worn by either gender at any time. You can slip it into your jeans pocket or clip it on to just about anything. Simple Matters plans to ship Ditto with a wristband, if you need it. Much more importantly, though, what does this shiny little oblong object do? Essentially, Ditto lets you leave your phone behind, alerting you by vibrating whenever a call, email or text comes in from one of your selected contacts.
Supposedly, you can even wear Ditto in the swimming pool or at the gym, because the device is waterproof. Simple Matters didn’t say so, but I suppose you might also use it a movie theater, traffic court session, company meeting or anywhere else where turned-on cellphones are frowned upon. (You might need to stash the phone somewhere else, though, while keeping it on to get your alerts.) The only catch is that Ditto runs on Bluetooth LE, which only has a range of about 100 feet. On the upside, however, Ditto will send you a message if you (or your phone) has moved out of range.
Simple Matters is currently creating apps for Android and iOS for “filtering what’s important by setting up favorites and customizing memorable vibration patterns.” You can also use Ditto as a silent alarm clock or event reminder system. Delivery is expected as soon as software development wraps up in August. Offered in white, black or clear, Ditto will be priced at $39.99, according to a company rep at the Pepcom booth.
HearNotes (HN) — Hear Hi-Fi Music Without Any Wires
Innovative new earphone designs always catch the eyes and ears of CES attendees, and next year’s show in Las Vegas will be no exception. San Francisco-based HearNotes, an exhibitor at New York City’s CE Week, claims that its new earphones are the first “completely wireless” ones ever made. With the HN buds, there’s no bothersome strap.
Beyond all that, though, HN is foregoing Bluetooth — for commonly used wireless technology for sending music from a smartphone to earphones — in favor of Cleer’s wireless technology for “high fidelity” sound. By that, Cleer means “uncompressed, 16-bit 44.1 KHz sampled stereo audio” with lossless sound quality. HN recently closed a Kickstarter crowd-sourcing campaign, and manufacturing is expected to start soon. Let’s hear it for better sound!
Adlens — Improve Your Sight
In the form of a pair of eyeglasses, vision technology specialist Adlens made it to the center of the CE Week stage in the show’s increasingly prestigious annual FashionWare Show, Adlens eyewear is intended to solve the problems faced by the many people — particularly Boomers — who need different prescriptions for distance and near vision. Unless resorting to contact lenses, these folks commonly wear glasses with progressive lenses, a tactic that can lead to contorted movements of the head and body.
If you’re viewing a computer screen, for example, you might need to tilt your head in a number of ways before finding the right focal point. If you’re trying to watch TV in bed, you might have to prop up your body on a big pillow to avoid gazing at the tube through the reading lens on the bottom of the glasses.
According to Adlens staffers at the company’s CE Week booth, the current design prototype of its emerging technology provides a preliminary solution by letting users select a lens strength through a manual dial on the inner corner of the eyewear. However, Adlens has now started teaming with 60 eye doctors throughout the U.S. to create a final product. Within the next two years, the vision specialist plans to add embedded electronics that will automatically adjust the strength of the lens, with no need for the wearer to touch a dial. Users will still need to make some head movements to get the eyeware to work properly, but these will amount to only minute gestures.
Kiroco Pendant — Dazzle ’Em With Digital Storage
It’s unlikely that you’ll find a more beautiful digital storage device anywhere. Another piece worn on the FashionWare runway, Kiroco’s gold-colored pendant, embellished with Swarovski crystals, will be usable as a conventional locket, except that it will hold digital instead of old-fashioned paper photos.
Alternatively, you might want to keep “secrets” like your password list inside the locket. Ultimately, you’ll use a smartphone app to upload your precious digital files to the pendant. As we all know, though, beauty doesn’t always come cheap. Target price for the locket is around $200. For the more budget-conscious, however, Kiroco will offer less costly jewelry pieces, such as bracelets priced at $50 or less, a company spokesperson said.
MiPosaur Toy — If You Don’t Walk a Dog, “Wear” a Robot
Ordinarily, a robot wouldn’t make it on to a list of wearables. Yet during CE Week’s FashionWare show, a model “walked” one of WowWee’s forthcoming MiPosaur down the runway, using the robotic toy’s accompanying trackball as the leash. So for our purposes, we’ll consider the MiPosaur to be a wearable. If you’ve hung out in Manhattan much, you know that denizens of some fancy New York City condos “wear” their poodles and other pedigreed pooches as status symbols when making the rounds of the hood.
In a more typical use case scenario, MiPosaur users will simply roll the trackball across a table or floor and watch the dinosaur-inspired robot respond to the BeaconSense infrared rays emanating from the ball. The MiPosaur will chase the ball, guard it or play with it. WowWee plans to release an iOS and Android smartphone app that will let you play games with one or more MiPosaur. The trackball also includes GestureSense technology for controlling the toy with swipes of your hand. So why not impress your friends by walking your dino around the block, no matter where you live? MiPosaur is slated to ship in the third quarter of 2015 for an MSRP of $119.99.
Oura Ring — Sleep Well
Although not as pretty as the Kiroco pendant, this unisex ring from Finnish-based Oura is a nice-looking piece of jewelry. More to the point, as you sleep, the ring measures your sleep quality, sleep disruptions and activity levels. What if something seems to be amiss with your sleep? “Then you should see a doctor,” quipped a spokesperson at the Oura booth.
First shown at CES 2015, The Bluetooth-enabled sleep ring is scheduled for U.S. availability in September for about $250. Oura also expects to release apps for the sleep ring, starting with iOS and then following on with a version for Android in the second half of next year.
By the way, sleep improvement seems like it might turn into a trend of its own at CES 2016. At least two companies, Sleepace and Beddit, were also on hand at CE Week with new app-enabled NON-wearable devices, which you place on your bed to measure the quality of your sleep. Pleasant dreams!
All Screenshots: Jacqueline Emigh