Emotional Prosthetics, Modular Smarbands and Sixth Sense Necklaces Make Up Finalists for Intel’s Make It Wearable Challenge
Earlier this year, Intel launched its Make It Wearable challenge which asked Developers to submit a proposal and a pitch video of innovative and creative concepts. This week they announced the ten finalists who will be judged in November in San Francisco for a chance to win $500,000. The finalists represented the vast landscape of wearable tech from emotional prosthetics, to flyable and wearable cameras and smart baby wear. 
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One of the finalists from the UK, Blocks, is taking a modular approach to wearable tech in building a snapable platform. Taking cue at current modularity projects on the go like Google’s Project Ara, the team behind blocks believes that being able to swap things out is even more important for a wearable device. Blocks will let users replace or upgrade capabilities of its smartband for things like sensors, displays, processors and batteries.
  

Another team from the UK have developed the Vumble, a sports and activity necklace which tracks information from the body using vibrations and allows the user to interact with it via touch. The team describes Vumbl as being a kind of sixth sense. It’s haptic feedback can guide a user to where they need to be without a screen or can be used to enhance a game by letting the player feel the action. Vumbl’s voice control feature also acts as a Bluetooth headset to make a call or control your smartphone.

Some of the other ideas include a First V1sion - gaming system which shows the players point of view; Nixie - a wearable camera that can also fly and Snowcookie - a fitness coach for skiing. Intel has featured all ten of its finalists on the Make It Wearable challenge page. 
These teams have already won $50,000 and intensive mentoring and coaching from industry leaders such as Guy Kawasaki and author Steve Blank to help refine the projects and get them off the ground. In November, they will all compete for the grand prize of $500,000. 

Emotional Prosthetics, Modular Smarbands and Sixth Sense Necklaces Make Up Finalists for Intel’s Make It Wearable Challenge

Earlier this year, Intel launched its Make It Wearable challenge which asked Developers to submit a proposal and a pitch video of innovative and creative concepts. This week they announced the ten finalists who will be judged in November in San Francisco for a chance to win $500,000. The finalists represented the vast landscape of wearable tech from emotional prosthetics, to flyable and wearable cameras and smart baby wear. 

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Samsung & LG Announce New Smartwatches Ahead of IFA
Samsung and LG had both been teasing new smartwatches to be announced at next month’s IFA in Berlin but it looks like they have both let the cat out of the bag early! Lucky us! Specs and photos for the new Samsung Gear S and round-faced LG G Watch R were released yesterday showing off the latest wearable offerings from two companies that already have devices on people’s wrists.
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Samsung Gear S
The Samsung Gear S is a first for the manufacturer who has already released several watches and wearable bands to the market. Gear S has 3G connectivity which means that it can still perform things like make calls and receive messages even when not connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth or near a WiFi connection. 
“Samsung is leading this exciting and rapidly developing wearable category through progressive innovation,” said JK Shin, CEO and head of IT & mobile communication at Samsung Electronics. “The Samsung Gear S redefines the idea of the smart wearable and the culture of mobile communication. It will let consumers live a truly connected life anywhere, anytime.
The Gear S features a similar curved AMOLED screen featured on the Gear Fit but this one is larger measuring 2-inches making it much easier to read messages on the watch. Gear S runs Samsung’s own operating system, Tizen, which is the same OS used for Gear 2 and the Gear Neo. Samsung has featured Nokia’s HERE as included in this release to give users pedestrian turn-by-turn directions and the inclusion of Spritz technology to make content easier to read on the device.

LG G Watch R 
LG recently debuted it’s first smartwatch, LG G Watch which runs Android Wear, at Google I/O. The company is jumping on the round watch bandwagon made uber popular by Motorola’s upcoming 360 in announcing the release of the G Watch R. LG states that this will be the “world’s first watch-style wearable device to feature a circular Plastic OLED (P-OLED) display and utilizes 100 percent of its watch face”.
The LG G Watch R features a 1.3 inch full circle P-OLED screen. P-OLED allow the screen to be clear from any angle and makes it easier to read in the sun, a great feature for something you will be looking at out and about. The design of the watch is very much like, well, a watch. Its classic round face and retro finishings will win over those looking to have a smartwatch on their wrist that doesn’t look like others on the market today.
“What we’ve noticed in the year of the wearable is that this is a category that can’t be compared to smartphones and tablets,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “Wearables are also accessories and consumers will want more than one to choose from. So we wanted to complement the modern design of the original G Watch with the classic look of the G Watch R. Customers can’t go wrong with either device.”
Like the LG G Watch before it, the G Watch R will run Google’s Android Wear. It also works with LG’s suite of health apps which work with the embedded photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor. 
Both the Samsung Gear S and the LG G Watch R are expected to be on people’s wrists later this year. Samsung states that their roll-out will begin in October while LG says to expect the G Watch R in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Samsung & LG Announce New Smartwatches Ahead of IFA

Samsung and LG had both been teasing new smartwatches to be announced at next month’s IFA in Berlin but it looks like they have both let the cat out of the bag early! Lucky us! Specs and photos for the new Samsung Gear S and round-faced LG G Watch R were released yesterday showing off the latest wearable offerings from two companies that already have devices on people’s wrists.

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Robots to Use Internet as a Shared “Robo Brain”
We all rely heavily on the Internet. It tells us the weather, how to get to work and even does our math. But we aren’t the only ones who will benefit from this growing, intelligent brain. Robots are expected to leverage the power of the web as a resource to help them become more effective in the near-future world.
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Developed by researchers at Cornell University, the new system called “Robo Brain” will take data from public Internet sites for use by robots in future interactions. Photographs, YouTube videos and how-to documents are used by the system to store this information in robots, from household robots to self-driving cars, for when it needs it.
The team at Cornell are using crowdsourcing methods to fill in any gaps by showing what the robots know already and asking users to add new information or to correct existing data. 
The researchers presented the project at the 2014 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference in Berkeley in July. Here a video of the presentation: 

Robots to Use Internet as a Shared “Robo Brain”

We all rely heavily on the Internet. It tells us the weather, how to get to work and even does our math. But we aren’t the only ones who will benefit from this growing, intelligent brain. Robots are expected to leverage the power of the web as a resource to help them become more effective in the near-future world.

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The US Open Just Got Smarter with the Ralph Lauren and OMSignal Smart Shirt Collaboration
Tennis is about to get a whole lot smarter this US Open as Ralph Lauren, the official outfitter of the sporting event, has teamed up with biometric clothing company OMSignal to create The Ralph Lauren Polo Tech Shirt. The debut of these sensor-based shirts will be the first time a global sporting event is being used to launch a collection of wearable products. 
[[MORE]]The shirt was developed with proprietary technology from OMSignal, a Canadian-based company who recently opened pre-orders for its collection of smart clothing that measures heart rate, breathing and activity to help you improve your fitness and live a better life. Like the OMSignal clothing, the smart Polo features sensors knitted into the shirt which is then collected in a “black box” attached to the shirt. This data is then transmitted from the box to a smartphone via Bluetooth.  
The smart shirt will be worn by Marcus Giron during practice to track his biometrics and make adjustments needed before playing in his first Grand Slam in Flushing. Ball Boys will also be outfitted with the Polo Tech Shirt during select matches at the Billie Jean National Tennis Center at the event.
 David Brewer, US Open Tournament Director, said there are features in the Polo Tech shirt that can “revolutionize how players train and compete.” “The fact that Ralph Lauren chose the US Open as the venue to unveil its Polo Tech shirt enhances our tradition as a showcase for innovation,” said Brewer.

The US Open Just Got Smarter with the Ralph Lauren and OMSignal Smart Shirt Collaboration

Tennis is about to get a whole lot smarter this US Open as Ralph Lauren, the official outfitter of the sporting event, has teamed up with biometric clothing company OMSignal to create The Ralph Lauren Polo Tech Shirt. The debut of these sensor-based shirts will be the first time a global sporting event is being used to launch a collection of wearable products. 

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Smartwatches and Activity Trackers See YOY Growth of 684%
Independent analyst company, Canalys, released a report last week illustrating the tremendous growth smartwatches and other smart bands have seen so far this year. According to the report, “wearable bands”, the term they use for both smartwatches and activity trackers, grew 684% worldwide in the first half of 2014 compared to the same time last year. 
[[MORE]]”Basic wearable bands”, better known as activity trackers, made up the majority of the shipments reported by Canalys this period, with Fitbit and Jawbone taking first and second place respectively. Nike’s FuelBand sat at third place but saw significant market share loss. It is currently being chased by Garmin’s new entrant vivofit which launched earlier this year.
For “Smart Bands”, or smartwatches, Samsung was the clear leader. Samsung’s plethora of smartwatch options from the Galaxy Gear, to the Gear 2, Gear Neo, Gear Fit and the latest, Gear Live powered by Android Wear, gave the Korean manufacturer an advantage in this category. Pebble and Sony SmartWatch rounded out the top three, with Pebble’s Steel assisting the independent Kickstarter darling in holding strong with its market share. 
Canalys states that these numbers do not yet include Android Wear shipments which started in Q3 of this year and will be reflected in a report they are working on for this period. This could suggest that we will see an even larger YOY number when this number is included. The Android Wear platform is seeing some successful uptake by the market and it is expected to continue with upcoming launches of round watches from Motorola and a new rumored watch from LG.
Of course, the wearable band market may spike even further if Apple’s long awaited “iWatch” hits the market before the end of this year. 

Smartwatches and Activity Trackers See YOY Growth of 684%

Independent analyst company, Canalys, released a report last week illustrating the tremendous growth smartwatches and other smart bands have seen so far this year. According to the report, “wearable bands”, the term they use for both smartwatches and activity trackers, grew 684% worldwide in the first half of 2014 compared to the same time last year. 

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Wearable Tech Hits the Runway at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week
Wearables lit up the runway in Toronto this past Thursday as brain-sensing headbands and LED clothing walked the catwalk in a wearable tech fashion show at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week.
[[MORE]]The fashion show, curated by We Are Wearables, was presented at Toronto’s first Men’s Fashion Week and highlighted the fashionable side of wearable tech by pairing wearables with designer clothing by David C. Wigley and Sons of Odin.
Wearables included the brain-sensing headband, Muse, which acts as a brain-fitness tool to help you be more calm and focused as well as LED panels by MeU which showed off some custom animations for the fashion event include pulsing hearts on the front and scrolling TOM* at the back which was the fashion week’s logo.

Many of the wearables used LEDs to give greater visibility especially in bike safety. These included UTOPE’s Sporty Supaheroe Jacket, Vega’s Bomber Jacket and Vega Edge clips which use magnets to attach blinking or stable LEDs to any piece of clothing or accessory.

The show also included a Tech Tie which had individual LED panels light up in patterns and an avant guard LED helmet made of paper linen.
All photos credited to Billy Lee / @MakingSenses

Wearable Tech Hits the Runway at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week

Wearables lit up the runway in Toronto this past Thursday as brain-sensing headbands and LED clothing walked the catwalk in a wearable tech fashion show at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week.

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Reducing the Digital Distraction with Haptics: Featured Speaker Jack Lindsay
Haptics refers to tactile technology that recreates the sense of touch. Perhaps the most common example of haptics is your smartphone vibrating when you receive a notification. But vibrating phones are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this more natural interaction. 
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Imagine a device that you squeeze when you want to know if you have an email or a text. Or to be able to practice CPR on a dummy outfitted with silicon material that mimics the feel of skin. Technology is moving beyond the click of a mouse or the tap on a screen to provide more natural, tactile, haptic feedback. 
Designers of Things speaker Jack Lindsay is an expert on haptics. We caught up with him to talk about the haptics space and how this new interaction with technology will change our relationship with tech and each other. 
Lindsay sees some promising haptic advancements being used in the medical space where he sees the greatest value. Exoskeletons, where the motors restrict or support the muscle movement in order to assist the user in walking, is just one example. He also sees wearable body suits, currently used for VR games, as having the potential to use haptics as a form of physiotherapy to teach users how to move again. This same suit could even potentially be used to coach a user to play a whole new sport, like snowboarding. 

For Linsday, haptics go way beyond a new way to interact with technology. He sees it as a key design change which will shift the paradigm to minimize distractions rather than exasperate them as our current screen-based technology does.
Jack Lindsay will be speaking about impedence matching, a method for designing a haptic-feedback system at the Designers of Things conference in San Francisco this September.
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This article is part of our featured speaker series for Designers of Things Conference which takes place September 23-24, 2014 at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, California. Get your VIP and Tech passes by clicking here.

Reducing the Digital Distraction with Haptics: Featured Speaker Jack Lindsay

Haptics refers to tactile technology that recreates the sense of touch. Perhaps the most common example of haptics is your smartphone vibrating when you receive a notification. But vibrating phones are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this more natural interaction. 

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Creating A Balance Between Physical and Digital Life (Video)
Nothing makes us more excited here on the Designers of Things blog then to see a new video in the Creators Project “Make It Wearable” series. In this latest spot, Vice + Intel have chosen to highlight how wearables can help us step away from our notification addiction and start to live a more balanced life. 
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The video features Kate Unsworth, Founder and CEO of Kovert Designs, a design house creating smart jewellery to “inspire and liberate the modern consumer”. She talks about how current wearable tech, like smartwatches and smartglasses, are what she calls “enablers” or devices that deepen our addiction to our smartphones by focusing on notifications. Her design house aims to move the technology into the background and only present itself when its absolutely necessary so that it doesn’t get in the way of social interactions or interrupt you when you really need to concentrate. 
"I’m all for living a digitally connected lifestyle, provided I am given the option to turn down my level of connectedness at certain points of the day", Unsworth tells Creators Project on the video. "That means giving my self breaks from my smartphone or computer screen when I am trying to be creative or when I need to de-stress or when I really want to concentrate on the person or the task at hand". 
The smart jewellery Kovert Designs expects to have ready for Christmas of this year will allow its users to configure options in an app to control the types of notifications they will feel via haptic feedback. If you only want your ring to tell you when your Mom or kids are calling, Kovert’s jewellery will facilitate this. In addition to notifications, Kovert is also working on gesture functionality that would allow you to turn your music up or down or your lights off and on with the wave of your hand. 
The use of haptic feedback and gestures, such as those that Kovert is using, begins to shift us away from our need to always be looking and interacting with screens. Instead it creates a world where we interact with the digital space in a more natural and less distractive manner, putting us more in control of the moment. 

Creating A Balance Between Physical and Digital Life (Video)

Nothing makes us more excited here on the Designers of Things blog then to see a new video in the Creators Project “Make It Wearable” series. In this latest spot, Vice + Intel have chosen to highlight how wearables can help us step away from our notification addiction and start to live a more balanced life. 

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The Padlock Gets Disrupted with Noke
I currently have three padlocks in a drawer all without keys. That’s pretty much the story with most padlocks. They do the trick but you often risk locking the item you are protecting away for good because the keys are just so tiny and are easy to lose. And we all know that combination locks aren’t any better. That’s why I am pretty excited about Noke, the first bluetooth padlock which is crowdfunding on Kickstarter.
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Noke (pronounced No + Key) uses Bluetooth technology to connect to a smartphone to check if the authentication key is available. Once there is a match, the lock opens up. There are no keys. No combinations. And better yet, you don’t even need to take your phone out of your pocket. You simply push the shackle on the lock and as long as your phone is in range (10 feet), the lock will open and you are on your way.
Noke also lets you easily share access to a lock by sending time-based invites to your friends via the Noke smartphone app. The app keeps a history of when the lock is used which adds an extra level of visibility you obviously wouldn’t get with a traditional dumb lock.
But what if your phone dies? Well, the FUZ Designs, the company behind the product, has a patent-pending solution called Quick-Click technology. This allows you to set a code which you input on the lock by pressing the shackle. Key in the code and the lock will release.
Backers can grab a Noke right now at $59 which is $30 off retail. At the time of this article, FUZ Designs has raised over $230,000 from its campaign which had an original goal of $100,000 with 27 days to go. I’ve already started to empty my drawers in anticipation.  

The Padlock Gets Disrupted with Noke

I currently have three padlocks in a drawer all without keys. That’s pretty much the story with most padlocks. They do the trick but you often risk locking the item you are protecting away for good because the keys are just so tiny and are easy to lose. And we all know that combination locks aren’t any better. That’s why I am pretty excited about Noke, the first bluetooth padlock which is crowdfunding on Kickstarter.

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Wearables Market Expected to Explode by 2018
Some promising numbers for wearables have been published recently by CCS Insight’s global forecast. Smart wearable devices are expected to grow from the 9.7 million sold in 2013 to 135 million by the time we hit 2018. And by end of the year CCS predicts we will see 129% year-over-year growth of wearables to 22 million sold, most of these sold in the upcoming holiday cycle.  
[[MORE]]Like an IDC report published earlier this year, CCS forecasts that the most successful type of wearable within the next five years will be wrist-worn devices, especially those that give users the ability to track things about themselves including their health. In fact, CCS’s research indicates that by 2018 nearly 7% of the developed world will own a quantified self device.
The report further hypothesizes that smartwatches will eventually replace fitness bands within the next five years as the price goes down and their capabilities expand. In the next year, CCS expects that independent wearables that have their own SIM cards will be more readily available but will face some challenges in adoption, especially the need to take on additional data plans.
Also similar to the IDC report, CCS agrees that wearables like Google Glass will have the toughest time in its growth journey, stating aesthetic and privacy concerns as the biggest barriers to adoption.

Wearables Market Expected to Explode by 2018

Some promising numbers for wearables have been published recently by CCS Insight’s global forecast. Smart wearable devices are expected to grow from the 9.7 million sold in 2013 to 135 million by the time we hit 2018. And by end of the year CCS predicts we will see 129% year-over-year growth of wearables to 22 million sold, most of these sold in the upcoming holiday cycle.  

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Linkin Park Gets 3D Printed For Fans 
Linkin Park is the latest music group to leverage the power of 3D printing to market its music. The band has teamed up with German 3D scanning and printing shop, Stramba, to offer realistic figurines of each band member to mark “The Carnivores World Tour 2014”.
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Based in Berlin, Stramba offers 3D printed photo-realistic figures and call themselves “pioneers” in this field. They offer their services to print and handcraft celebrities as well as ordinary people. 
Back in June of 2014 they scanned the entire band of Linkin Park and are now offering fans the chance to buy band members individually or as a group. Limited edition 1:5 scaled versions of Rob Borudon, Mike Shinoda, Chester Bennington and others in the band retail for $499 with only 99 available in the run. While a regular run of figurines scaled 1:10 of the each band member is available for $149. The entire band can be bought as one figure for $295.
All 3d figures are made of polymer clay and are printed and handcrafted in Berlin by Stramba. They take up to two weeks to create on demand and then another 3-4 days to ship. Right now Stramba has “exclusively opened [its] doors for Linkin Park” but its website states that they “will add more celebrities from Music, Sports, Movies and more all the time”.
Linkin Park joins Cut Copy and Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke and W.ill.i.am in using 3D printing to market music either by showcasing this new technology in a music video, like Cut Copy and W.ill.i.am have done in the past, or in the case of Kele Okereke actually use a 3D printer to print LPs of a new track.

Linkin Park Gets 3D Printed For Fans 

Linkin Park is the latest music group to leverage the power of 3D printing to market its music. The band has teamed up with German 3D scanning and printing shop, Stramba, to offer realistic figurines of each band member to mark “The Carnivores World Tour 2014”.

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Protecting 3D Printing Designs: Featured Speaker Patience Jones
As the consumer 3D printer space grows, so too are concerns about pirating of digital files which allow people to 3D print designs without the designers permission or any direct compensation for its use. In a way, the physical world is about to embark on a similar journey the media industry continues to struggle with in managing and monetizing products that have now gone digital. We sat down with Designers of Things speaker, Patience Jones, who graduated from the University of Michigan Law school to get glimpse into this topic which she will be also speaking about at the conference in September.  
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Jones has extensive experience working in the legal field on cases involving Intellectual Property. When it comes to protecting of 3D designs, Jones told us that in theory the same protections of written work apply, namely copyright, trademark and patents. But at this time it remains to be seen how the courts will apply the current structure to this new technology. And it may not be for a couple of years until we see some answers come to light. Jones told us that a critical 3D IT patent case was filed in Minnesota in 2013 and is currently scheduled to be handled by the courts in 2015.  
In the meantime, she did suggest that we could look to what happened in the music space, especially around the time of Napster, where a lot of fines were being thrown around before the fusion in the market took place and new monetization models appeared, including streaming music companies.
Jones did give some advice for those designing in 3D. The first is to understand who their client is and what the client expects. If you are a designer who has been commissioned to design a vase for someone, you need to know who owns the right to that vase. Will you own the rights or is the expectation that those rights will be transferred to the client you are working for. The second is that you have to register the right with the patent office and the bigger and more complex the project is, the more you will want to get an attorney involved. 
Ultimately though, when it comes to designs, there is a lot of room for interpretation, Jones told us. The closest thing she can relate to 3D printable designs are cases where large retailers get sued by designers for supposedly stealing their patterns and making them for cheaper. Despite years of litigation, many of these cases have not ended up very successful for the designers who take action.
Patience Jones will be talking about “3D IP: Intellectual Property Issues for Innovators” at our upcoming conference in San Francisco this September. 
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This article is part of our featured speaker series for Designers of Things Conference which takes place September 23-24, 2014 at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, California. Get your VIP and Tech passes by clicking here.
 
 

Protecting 3D Printing Designs: Featured Speaker Patience Jones

As the consumer 3D printer space grows, so too are concerns about pirating of digital files which allow people to 3D print designs without the designers permission or any direct compensation for its use. In a way, the physical world is about to embark on a similar journey the media industry continues to struggle with in managing and monetizing products that have now gone digital. We sat down with Designers of Things speaker, Patience Jones, who graduated from the University of Michigan Law school to get glimpse into this topic which she will be also speaking about at the conference in September.  

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Analog Meets Digital with The Martian Notifier Smartwatch
If you love the look and dependability of the classic analog watch but want to gain the benefits of a smartwatch you will want to pay attention to Martian Watches. The company, best known for its Passport smartwatch, just recently launched a new line of round-faced smartwatches called the Martian Notifier. 
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The Notifier is a colorful analog watch with the bells and whistles of a smartwatch. The LED notification light lets you know when you have a message or a call. And the LED display actually lets you read messages when and notifications when they arrive. And it boasts 5-days of battery of the 2.0 features (the analog watch will last as long as a watch battery will take you which sometimes seems like forever - Martian says 2 years).
Check it out in all its glory in this slick vid we have for you below.

Analog Meets Digital with The Martian Notifier Smartwatch

If you love the look and dependability of the classic analog watch but want to gain the benefits of a smartwatch you will want to pay attention to Martian Watches. The company, best known for its Passport smartwatch, just recently launched a new line of round-faced smartwatches called the Martian Notifier. 

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Gartner Hype Cycle Pegs Wearables, Connected Homes & Consumer 3D Printing as 5 to10 Years Out
The Gartner Hype cycle is a fantastic tool for businesses to plan their attack in using emerging tech in their portfolios. This year’s report shows the long road wearables, consumer 3D printing and even the connected home have before they reach success with the mass market. 
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Gartner positions consumer 3D printing and Wearables in the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” phase which represents a time when a hype cycle encounters a lot of publicity with some successes and scores of failures. Both are pegged to reach mainstream adoption (or the “Plateau of Productivity”) in 5 to 10 years.
Enterprise 3D printing on the other hand has been identified as being in the “Slope of Enlightenment” phase, a time when benefits are clear and enterprises start to get behind a hype cycle. Gartner predicts that enterprise 3D printing will reach mainstream adoption in 2 to 5 years.
When it comes to the Connected Home, Gartner sees this hype cycle as having the longest road of those that we have discussed. Connected home is defined here as a potential technology, living in the first phase as a Technology Trigger. 
One interesting hype cycle to note is Gesture Control which has graduated to the Slope of Enlightenment when comparing this year’s report to the 2013 version. Gartner gives Gesture Tech a 2 to 5 year estimate on mainstream adoption.
The Hype Cycle diagram is just one part of a full report by Gartner who is celebrating its 20th year of publishing this type of insight.

Gartner Hype Cycle Pegs Wearables, Connected Homes & Consumer 3D Printing as 5 to10 Years Out

The Gartner Hype cycle is a fantastic tool for businesses to plan their attack in using emerging tech in their portfolios. This year’s report shows the long road wearables, consumer 3D printing and even the connected home have before they reach success with the mass market. 

Read More