Wearable devices have come a long way since the first wristwatch was made for the Queen of Naples back in 1812. In fact, you don’t even need to travel too far into the past to understand how far wearable device functionality has come. Ever since Google Glass paved the path for wearables into the mainstream about two years ago, we have witnessed countless other devices follow suit, and dare I say, attempt to surpass the almighty Glass.
We are currently in the midst of the most rapid evolution of wearable devices that the world has ever seen - and we’re doing our best here at Vandrico to keep up. With that in mind, we thought it would be valuable to offer insight into some of the devices we feel are most interesting and necessary to know about at this moment in time. In terms of functionality, versatility, and utility, we feel that the five devices listed below truly highlight the magnitude of possibilities that wearable devices hold.
PRICE: $298.00 USD
CONSUMER RELEASE: EST. JUNE 2014
Athos are hi-tech apparel garments that are worn on the body either as a shirt or pair of shorts. Each Athos garment contains a detachable hardware core which measures fitness data such as muscle effort, heart rate, balance and reps. Compared to an activity band that measures similar fitness data, Athos’ data is substantially more accurate and can collect much more information considering the proximity of it’s sensors on the body versus a simple wristband. Here’s an impressive feature: Athos can measure the activity of 14 different muscles, including biceps, triceps, trapezius, deltoids, glutes, and more. The sheer volume of data that can be collected is a feat of it’s own, and the best part is that it all syncs to your phone with actionable insights.
Besides the obvious fitness and athletic appeal, we think that Athos garments could prove to ber very useful for many branches of the medical industry. Perhaps even organizations like NASA may find utility in it…
PRICE: $499.00 USD
CONSUMER RELEASE: EST. DECEMBER 2014
Unlike other head mounted displays that require additional headphones to be worn, the Avegant Glyph is an all-in-one device equipped with integrated headphones. At first glance, the Glyph looks like a pair of headphones ready to be worn by the world’s best DJ, however, the magic actually hides in it’s arched frame. Turn the Glyph 90 degrees down so the arch covers your eyes, and you are instantly submerged into another world. Visuals are projected directly onto the user’s retina, courtesy of two built-in projectors situated inside the arch. Quality of the visuals are not a concern, as the Glyph has been created in a way that eliminates the “screendoor effect” - which make pixels look like window panes from such a close distance. Additionally, style cautious users need not worry as the Glyph’s stylish design offers a swagger that is unparalleled by most other head mounted devices. The fact that the Glyph reached it’s $250,000 crowdfunding goal in it’s first 4 hours on Kickstarter definitely highlights the user sentiment for this device.
It is quite clear that the Glyph is aiming it’s efforts to enter the Entertainment and Music industries. However, we also see the Glyph’s virtual reality capabilities as potentially useful for workplace training purposes.
PRICE: $599.00 USD
CONSUMER RELEASE: EST. Q2 2014
The Jet by Recon Instruments is definitely one of the sleeker looking head mounted devices out there - something that scores it more points against it’s main rival, Google Glass. Essentially, the Jet is equipped with a heads-up display that presents the user with a raft of relevant information in real-time. In terms of functionality, it comes loaded with two additional sensors than Glass, including both a barometer and a thermometer. These sensors are used for measuring atmospheric pressure to forecast the weather or determine altitude and measuring temperature, respectively. With the overall user experience in mind, the Jet’s overall weight is much more balanced than Glass (which sometimes feels quite lopsided.) Furthermore, the optical sensor included in the Jet allow for users to interact with it in any condition, even if they are wearing gloves.
Overall, we see the Jet as a well thought out device (as clearly shown on our database) that can prove itself useful in many different situations. While Recon Instruments have mainly marketed the Jet to outdoor sports enthusiasts, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it make it’s way to the workplace in the near future.
PRICE: $149.00 USD
CONSUMER RELEASE: PREORDER ONLY
The Instabeat is a waterproof heart rate monitor that provides real-time visual feedback via its headsup display. Attached to a user’s swimming goggles, the Instabeat measures the heart rate from the temporal artery. For swimmers, this is an extremely useful device. Due to the Instabeat’s headsup display, swimmers can maintain focus as their vision is not impaired by the visual feedback. Considering the high level of competition of professional athletes, wearable technology is increasingly being used to measure and optimize performace. However, wearable technology for swimming is slightly more challenging, as besides having to be waterproof and precise, the the design of the device must not slow down the swimmer’s movement. As a former professional swimmer herself, founder and CEO Hind Hobeika has made sure that the Instabeat has been aerodynamically designed well enough to aid the highest level of swimmers.
While the design and utility of the Instabeat is intriguing enough, the unique way it measures a user’s rate from their temporal artery is quite interesting for us. Although this device may not have much potential in the workplace, we think this feature could potentially be very useful when combined with another device.
PRICE: NO ANNOUNCEMENT YET
CONSUMER RELEASE: NO ANNOUNCEMENT YET
The SMI Eye Tracking Glasses are very unique compared to other head mounted devices. This device does not make phone calls or send reminders, rather, it tracks a user’s eye gaze and maps it in real-time. Imagine a market research firm being able to test exactly where customers look when shopping in a department store - so how does it all work? Well, the rim of the glasses are equipped with two cameras that capture the eye movements, map the gaze point, and embed it into the video. Using WiFi, these glasses can then stream directly onto either a mobile phone or computer, in real-time. Understanding how consumers interact with the environments around them is extremely useful data, however, it’s not solely useful for consumers. Athletes, such as soccer players, can use this device to understand the way they react to an opponent trying to steal the ball from them, and then train themselves to react accordingly.
Despite not being a regular head mounted device with a headsup display, the SMI Eye Tracking Glasses proves to be quite useful for collecting other important data. For the workplace environment, we can easily see a potential use for training and safety purposes. However, if this eye gaze mapping capability was to be combined with another heads up display, that would be one hell of a device.
So now that we’ve gone through these 5 devices, it’s fair to say that they each have a lot of individual qualities. While these devices are only a glimpse of what is available on our database, we think that the variety and uniqueness of each of the devices shown truly highlights the diversity of the wearables landscape. With each passing day, technology advances further, and we gain more insight. The possibilities for wearable devices is seemingly endless, and we are really looking forward to seeing how all of these devices evolve. Perhaps we will soon see a master class device that is equipped with every sensor and feature described in this post...regardless, we’ll be the first to let you know about it!