SXSW’s sixth annual accelerator pitch event wrapped up on Sunday with over 500 companies applied, 18 finalists and 6 winners. Taking home the big win in the Wearables category this year was the Google Glass for motorcyclists, the Skully Helmet.
FingerReader is a wearable ring that scans written text and reads it out loud to visually impaired readers.
The prototype is created by MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group. As readers trace lines of text with their finger, the camera determines the words on the page and translates the text to speech to recite each word out loud to the reader. The ring will vibrate if the user’s finger starts to shift off the correct line of text, or if they’ve reached the end of the line.
When moving to a new line, the device compares the words it’s already processed to make sure it doesn’t repeat a piece of text.
While only in the prototype stage, if successful, this piece of wearable tech could render braille books obsolete. What other types of technology have you see that help those with disabilities?
If you can’t make it to the Wearable Expo happening in Tokyo, these are what you can expect to find: smartglasses, fitness trackers, smartwatches, health monitors and even pet communication devices.
Consumer-electronics companies are turning out wearable gadgets that anyone can buy — and increasingly on the cheap. Health and fitness devices are expected to dominate this market in the next few years.
On second thoughts, would you really want to know what your cat thinks?
The development of the first modular smartwatch proceeds apace. In the last newsletter the Blocks team presented a second functional prototype smaller than the first and more powerful. As with Project Ara, the modules can now be customized with interchangeable covers. The Blocks team presented new prototypes of the modules with a new design and new colors. The pre-sale of the first modular smartwatches went very well with 1000 units sold in just two days! The team has also won the People’s Choice Award at Intel’s Make It Wearable finals and there presented the first prototypes to the CEO’s of Intel, Nike and Louis Vuitton. On a side note: Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, is also excited about Blocks!
'Wearable devices—technology that people will want to display on their bodies, for all to see—represent a new threshold in aesthetics. The tech companies that mastered design will now need to conquer the entirely different realm of fashion. And that could require technologists to unlearn a great deal of what they think they know.'
Okay, well, maybe “computer” is a stretch, but this ring abacus is from the Qing Dynasty, which reigned in China from 1644 to 1912. The ring, which is a fully functional counting machine at 1cm x 0.5cm big, is made of seven rods with seven beads that are seamless in their construction, even when viewed under a microscope.
The Pebble Steel is the premium model of the Pebble smartwatch that hit the market in year 2014. This intelligent timepiece is compatible with iOS and Androind and is having a fresh push thanks to distribution deals in the UK, not to mention the hype around wearable tech generated by the Apple Watch
HTC to release wearable device this year, feels ‘positive and optimistic about 2014’
HTC Corp. (2498) said an updated version of the One smartphone, its first wearable device and a renewed focus on marketing will help turn around the company this year after two straight annual declines in revenue.
“We feel positive and optimistic about 2014 when compared to 2013,” Chang Chialin, chief financial officer and head of global sales for the Taoyuan, Taiwan-based company, said in an interview yesterday at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. He declined to provide a forecast ahead of an investor conference call scheduled for Feb. 10.
Once the leading smartphone maker in the U.S., HTC’s sales dropped 30 percent last year as product delays and a shrinking marketing budget caused it to lose share to LG Electronics Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd. A wearable device will be available by this year’s Christmas shopping season after years of development and technical challenges, Chairman Cher Wang said.
SAMSUNG SIMBAND: A MODULAR WEARABLE PLATFORM FOR DEVELOPERS
by Giulio Minotti, Phonebloks
At its 2nd annual developers conference, held in San Francisco, Samsung announced Simband, a new modular smartband. Samsung says that Simband is “capable of integrating the most advanced sensing technologies in the world”. Simband is an open developer platform, consists of a smartwatch unit and a wristband connector that holds custom sensor modules. Developers can modify, build and integrate their own custom modular health sensors.