By: Jenifer Wetterau
Wearable technology is all the rage, but the craze goes beyond connected eyewear such as Google Glass and smart watches like Apple’s upcoming iWatch. Our smartphones have become fashion accessories in their own right, as we dress them up to reflect our personality just like we dress up our outfits with jewelry. Now we have the merger of fashion and function.
Wearables are no longer just plastic fitness trackers; they have evolved into more fashion forward accessories that people will enjoy being seen wearing outside of the gym. In fact, designers are creating more female-targeted devices that look like real jewelry and offer features that can do everything from alerting you to important calls, measuring sun exposure, purifying the air, even sending a security alert if you feel you may be in danger.
On the forefront of this trend is Cuff, a line of accessories that each come with a hidden wireless device that connects directly to your smartphone. Products include bracelets, necklaces and a key chain, all accompanied by the CuffLinc device. Each piece of Cuff jewelry has a button you can press in case of emergency. Once pressed, a group of pre-configured contacts are alerted that you need help. The Cuff app could be used for seamless security such as alerting police during an assault or those with health problems alerting family members when in need, like the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” Life Alert.
But what about your fingers? Shouldn’t they get in on this futuristic fashionwear? That’s where Ringly, a connected smart ring comes in. You set your preferences on the accompanying iPhone or Android app and it alerts you via customized notifications with a vibration and flashing light whenever you receive a text, call, or email from specific people. So even if you have your hands full carrying your purse, gym bag and Starbucks for the office you will know that your car’s here, your meeting is in ten minutes, your boyfriend texted, without having to dig around for your phone.
Emergencies and messages aren’t the only uses smart jewelry is employing. Netamo’s JUNE is a connected smart bracelet that measures your sun exposure throughout the day. Cut to resemble a diamond, the facets of JUNE play with the sun’s rays. That data is communicated to your smartphone and, taking into account the current UV levels, JUNE determines the best SPF cream for your skin. It also reminds you in real-time when it’s time to put on your hat and sunglasses or move into the shade. A stylish way to protect yourself from sunburn and premature aging!
A bit less fancy, but still really cool is Fin, a connected thumb ring that converts your whole palm into a gesture interface. It has sensors that recognize each segment of your fingers plus Bluetooth to link to other devices like your smartphone, TV or any wearable device. Basically, you assign different functions to each finger segment and you can perform a function just by touching the relevant segment with your thumb. A simple touch can send an emergency alert, silence your phone, move to the next track on your playlist and pick up a call – all without taking out your phone! Your fingers can be your numeric keypad. You can switch on or off or change the channel on your TV just using your palm, or operate home automation devices. The possibilities for visually impaired people are amazing. Simple taps can dial a number, interact with social media, take notes or control their wheelchair.
Wearable technology has already seen success in the sports and fitness industry. It will be interesting to see if the trend catches on in the fashion industry and translates into other ventures. Are you currently, or do you think you would wear smart jewelry?
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