One slight problem with wearables at the moment, is there’s a lot of “me too!” developers out there, who see something popular like a fitness band or a smartwatch and just decide to do something similar in a hope of cashing in on that device’s popularity. It’s not a bad strategy, but it means that apathy from consumers can set in pretty quickly when someone announces a “new wearable.” However at the Wearables + Things conference, some truly innovative wearables were announced and they have us far more excited.
The first wearable is a pair of slippers called Dorothy, which connects to your phone via bluetooth and can allow for a hands free interaction with your smartphone. Designed and constructed by a partnership between DJ Saul and Taylor Guidon from iStrategyLabs, the slippers are currently considered a prototype, but it’s an interesting proof of concept in an industry that – at least when it comes to the big boys – feels a little stagnant.
Another, more traditional wearable but one that still innovates is the Atlas wearable fitness band. Unlike other offerings which are designed for running, swimming or walking, this one works with a variety of different movements, tracking whether you’re doing star jumps, press ups or any other number of exercises.
“What if a device could actually recognize specific motions you’re doing, down to a granular level?” asked Atlas CEO Peter Li. As DigitalTrends explains, he then bust out a load of press-ups and other various exercises, showing that the watch could track all of it correctly.
When made available, the Atlas Watch will be able to track 50-100 different exercises and will give you tips and ideas for the best exercises for whatever your goals happen to be.
What will be interesting to see when released, is if the Atlas can handle weighted forms of those exercises, as the watch may be a little redundant if you’re using a weight vest. Its calculations would be all off, though perhaps you could simply compensate by adding the additional weight to the tracker’s stats?
The Wearables + Things conference also looked at how the market had grown and would continue to do so in the next few years. Steve Hegenderfer, head of developer programs at the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, said that back in the early 00s they had around 200,000 registered bluetooth compatible devices. Today, they’re seeing as many as eight million new ones come online every single day.
While those won’t all be wearables, that wrist mounted for factor is certainly contributing and innovating, if this conference was anything to go by.