If we say “wearable tech” to you, what do you immediately think of? For most of us, it’ll be some form of fitness band or, given this week’s unveil of Apple’s smartwatch, complete with jaw-dropping, heart-stopping, are-you-kidding-me?? pricing, some other wrist-based smartphone extension.
And that’s fine, it’s cool, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the current landscape or come close to revealing the potential of this nascent sector. Following the team’s visit to the Wearable Technology Show 2015 this week, here are the top three things that caught our eye:
Imagine being able to track even the most minute of micro-movements within the body – the potential benefits are huge. Professional athletes could improve their performance by the critical milliseconds that divide the medal winners from the also-rans, doctors could help rehab patients recover from injury more effectively and understanding the body’s movement could also lead to even faster, more accurate diagnosis of injury or chronic pain. As more of us suffer from back pain (often due to poor posture rather than an addiction to the gym) such understanding could provide a turning point in our ability to manage or even eradicate such issues.
You only have to read a magazine, look on any health-related website or speak to friends to know that stress is a growing mental health issue across all sections of the population. Mindfulness and meditation have been identified as effective ways for many people to combat stress and even reduce the grip of depression without needing to resort to pharmaceuticals. But it’s hard and lots of us don’t really know if we’re doing it right, and it’s easy to get frustrated and disheartened when we realise our minds have wandered. Enter the Muse, the brain sensing headband launched this week in the UK. Put simply, the headband connects to a smartphone and allows you to exercise your brain with focused attention training – a term coined by the makers of Muse but which basically means guided meditation. The app provides real-time feedback when your mind starts to wander, alerting you with the sounds of gusty wind, which gets louder as your attention drifts, helping you recognise the distraction and refocus your attention faster. Like reps in the gym, this training is aimed at helping people train their brains to become more focused, less stressed and more able to deal with the ever-increasing pace of modern life.
Charging all your techie goodness on the move may not be cool or sexy but until battery technology catches up with our expectations (sometime never!), we will have to continue to live with that gut-twisting, cold-sweat-inducing anxiety which comes with that little battery icon dropping into the red… Aircharge is a UK company that’s making it easier for us to stay juiced on the go with wireless charging that can be built into home furniture (see the gorgeous KONCEPT lighting already available) as well as public spaces. Like free WiFi that’s already seen as almost a basic human right, the future could bring free wireless charging on coffee shop tables, restaurants and other spaces. Where do we sign?