Creating Successful Voice Interactions With Connected Products
Voice is increasingly becoming a necessary and very powerful input especially for the wearable and IoT categories which often have devices with small screens or no screens at all. When building a product that uses voice, it’s essential that the first interactions with a user are positive and successful, or you risk losing them completely. To help guide designers and developers in creating this first great experience, Tanya Kraljic, a principal interaction and dialog designer at Nuance Communications, imparted some tips at this week’s Designers of Things conference.
[[MORE]]
Before you add voice to your product, its important to answer a couple of essential questions about what you are creating. These questions are the same whether you are building a talking toaster, a smart thermostat or interactions within a connected car: what will it do, what will it understand, what will it know about and how will it sound. 
With this in mind, Kraljic recommends starting off any voice interacxtion with an introduction. This doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out tutorial but it does need to be effective and simple enough so that it establishes a successful interaction. To continue this positive experience, Kraljic suggests that voice systems use language that comes naturally to the user by anticipating basic commands that mimic natural behaviors. Most users will often start with simple phrases, so figuring out what these phrases are in context to overall user experience will go a long way in creating successful voice interactions.
But just as important as recognizing, interpreting and responding to what the user is saying is assuring the user that the system is listening and is still there. Kraljic stressed the importance of conversational feedback in a voice system which can be achieved by using visual or audible cues. Pulsing circles, waving lines or even just the use of the word “Listening” are all great ways to incorporate cues into the experience that reassures them that the system is still there when they are talking.
Using on-screen visuals to encourage users to speak about a specific topic is another way to create a successful voice experience. Kraljic pointed out that users will often speak about what they see on screen and suggested that displaying relevant and/or coaching information on the screen during the voice interaction is a proactive way to provide guidance for the user. 
This interplay between voice and other forms of input and feedback such as touch and haptics is also an important one. “Users expect modalities to work together,” she said. She gave the example of a smartwatch which uses voice to initiate a call and then allow the user to select the correct caller from a list on the screen in which they would tap from. 
Despite doing your best to set up a successful voice experience for users, there will be times when things don’t work as planned. But that’s to be expected says Kraljic. “Human communication doesn’t always succeed either,” she said. “It’s ok to have an error in a voice system as long as users know how to fix it”. Letting users know that the command they gave was incorrect and guiding them to use the right one is an opportunity to turn it all around.  

Creating Successful Voice Interactions With Connected Products

Voice is increasingly becoming a necessary and very powerful input especially for the wearable and IoT categories which often have devices with small screens or no screens at all. When building a product that uses voice, it’s essential that the first interactions with a user are positive and successful, or you risk losing them completely. To help guide designers and developers in creating this first great experience, Tanya Kraljic, a principal interaction and dialog designer at Nuance Communications, imparted some tips at this week’s Designers of Things conference.

Read More

Wearables As An Extension Of Your Body, Developing with Myo
Controlling the digital environment with the wave of a hand has long been a dream of many who have grown up watching Sci-Fi and Action flicks like “Minority Report” and “Iron Man”. Earlier this week at the Designers of Things conference, sixty people got the chance to make this dream come true. Thalmic Labs’ led a hands-on intensive session of its gesture-control armband, Myo, which gave the audience a chance to use the device and develop their first app which would use their hand gestures as inputs.
[[MORE]]
Thalmic Labs’ Developer Evangelist, Chris Goodine, started off the session by breaking down the wearable landscape in a presentation he controlled with the flick of his wrist. Goodine divided the growing wearable space into two categories: input and output devices. Output devices were defined as devices that send data to users usually showing it to users on screens. Some great examples include smartwatches like the Moto 360 or Samsung Gear and heads-up displays like Google Glass. In contrast, input devices are those that collect data from the user and use it in some meaningful manner. In this category we have activity trackers like Fitbit or Jawbone’s UP, brain-sensing devices like Muse and of course the Myo.
The Myo is an armband that uses the kinetic energy and movement of your hand to control any connected thing. The device understands a variety of hand gestures including swiping left and right, making a fist and spreading your fingers wide. Each gesture correlates to an action in an application which would be set by the developer of the software. With the Myo you are able to move through slides in a PowerPoint presentation, change channels on your Smart TV and even turn on your Phillips Hue lights all with a single gesture with your hand. Goodine also walked through some examples of how Myo could be paired with other wearables such as virtual reality headsets and smartglasses to enhance the experience. 
Thalmic provided one Myo for each team of two at the event and we watched as, one-by-one, team members put the Myo on their arm and started to wave their hands through the guided set-up sequence. The Myo currently has a set of six gestures which you need to get familiar with to use the device. The set-up sequence teaches you these gestures by requiring you to use them to both move through the instructional and in exercises Thalmic Labs has included to make sure your first experiences with the device are a positive one.   
Once the teams had a chance to get familiar with the Myo, Goodine walked them through an exercise to build their first app for the device. Using the Myo SDK, teams were tasked with updating the classic arcade game, Tetris, so that it could interpret gestures for gameplay. Teams were asked to code the app so that moving your hand to the right or left would move your Tetris block back and forth and a spread of your fingers would turn the block around so that you can fit it into place.  
The developer community for Thalmic is extremely critical as they will be responsible for creating applications for the device. We have already seen how developers are using the Myo to drive unmanned vehicles, control x-wings in games, and exploring how to use the device to interpret sign language.

Wearables As An Extension Of Your Body, Developing with Myo

Controlling the digital environment with the wave of a hand has long been a dream of many who have grown up watching Sci-Fi and Action flicks like “Minority Report” and “Iron Man”. Earlier this week at the Designers of Things conference, sixty people got the chance to make this dream come true. Thalmic Labs’ led a hands-on intensive session of its gesture-control armband, Myo, which gave the audience a chance to use the device and develop their first app which would use their hand gestures as inputs.

Read More

The Challenge of Designing A Biometric Wearable for the Body
The Nymi is a connected wristband that uses your heart beat to prove who you are to other connected things. The wristband offers persistent identity at a time when we are constantly having to provide proof of who we are online and off using cards from our wallet, pins and passwords. CEO and Co-founder Karl Martin took to the stage yesterday at the end of Day 1 at the Designers of Things conference to talk to the crowd about the design journey for the Nymi and the challenges they worked through in designing for the human body.
[[MORE]]
Martin candidly pulled back the curtain on the making of the Nymi yesterday at the conference in an effort to help those that are thinking about making a body-worn biometric wearable. His presentation was filled with images showing the progression of the Nymi design from its shape, to its components and overall aesthetic. It was clear from the presentation that a lot of thinking went into ensuring that the Nymi was something people would want to wear as well as something the company could execute on.  

One of the biggest design challenges was the issue of size and fit. With human wrist sizes differing between and even within genders,  it was critical to come up with a design that would ensure that the wristband sat comfortably on a wide variety of wrists. Martin showed some of the early design concepts they were considering to tackle this challenge including using an “overlap” model which is similar to what Jawbone UP uses. The team settled on a design that was simple and would only need to be adjusted once out of the box.
Martin made it clear that Bionym was careful not to make the Nymi watch-like in its design as they didn’t want to introduce its complexity. But they did include additional sensors like a motion sensor to help clarify intent of the user for things like wanting to open the back door of a car versus the trunk.
Of course, being a connected accessory, it was critical that the device work. The team did some extensive thinking around the electronics and sensor components in the Nymi and went as far as cutting out components and putting them on the skin to see how they would interact with the body. Martin indicated that designing for ECG (electrocardiography) which is the main sensor posed a whole suite of design challenges including the choice of material, water resistance and even where to put the electrodes.
Outside of the hardware, Bionym is also designing and creating the ecosystem necessary for the Nymi to succeed. Martin told the audience that the team is busy working on partnerships and pilots in the payment, hotel, travel and hospitality. And indicated that new entrants into the wearable payment space, like Apple with its recent Apple Watch announcement, would only help to accelerate these types of opportunities in the market. 

The Challenge of Designing A Biometric Wearable for the Body

The Nymi is a connected wristband that uses your heart beat to prove who you are to other connected things. The wristband offers persistent identity at a time when we are constantly having to provide proof of who we are online and off using cards from our wallet, pins and passwords. CEO and Co-founder Karl Martin took to the stage yesterday at the end of Day 1 at the Designers of Things conference to talk to the crowd about the design journey for the Nymi and the challenges they worked through in designing for the human body.

Read More

Three of Tech’s Hottest Trends Collide Tomorrow at Designers of Things
The world is changing. 3D printing is bringing manufacturing to the masses, the Internet is spreading out from our computers to connect all things in the Internet of Things and we are starting to get even more intimate with our technology by wearing it as clothing and accessories with wearable tech. These three shifts all have huge individual impacts on how we live our everyday lives as well as have influence on each other. One of the common threads between 3D printing, IoT and wearable tech is the ability to use this technology to design solutions that solve for real problems in our world which is at the core of tomorrow’s conference in San Francisco, Designers of Things.
[[MORE]]Beginning tomorrow, the Mission Bay Conference Center in downtown San Francisco will be the home to three of the hottest topics in technology today. Designers of Things is bringing together designers, developers and innovators in an event that is jam packed with live demos, technical sessions and networking parties.
We’ve spent the past few months featuring many of the speakers who are voicing their thoughts and experience at the conference these next two days. Most recently was a conversation with Duann Scott from Shapeways who spoke to us about his experience in “making really cool things” with 3D printing when brands like Hasbro open up their IP to the creative community. The Shapeways-Hasbro partnership allowed select designers to collaborate with the uber popular “My Little Pony” franchise in building new creations under this brand and selling it on the Shapeways platform.
Back in July, we caught up with Karl Martin, CEO and Founder of Toronto-based Bionym, a wearable tech company behind the Nymi, a wristband to identify who you are and then relays your identity to any connected thing via Bluetooth. As Martin explained, identity isn’t just about security and passwords but also about preferences and customization opening up opportunities to use the Nymi to do anything from opening smart doors and accessing your email to changing the music station and lighting in an environment you walk into while wearing it. 
“Sensing” environments is something Adam Justice from GridConnect knows well. In a recent featured speaker post, Justice talked to us about ConnectSense, his company’s line of sensors for the home which track anything from motion to light. And we spent considerable time discussing the importance of a great first experience for new technology, which he explained, was striving to make technology “stupid easy” for the end user so that they are not overwhelmed. 
Scott, Martin and Justice all join us beginning tomorrow as we continue these types of conversations live on stage in San Francisco. For those of you who are not able to make it to the conference, we will be live tweeting from the @DoThingsCon Twitter account and posting featured sessions on the blog so be sure to follow-us and check back here soon.

Three of Tech’s Hottest Trends Collide Tomorrow at Designers of Things

The world is changing. 3D printing is bringing manufacturing to the masses, the Internet is spreading out from our computers to connect all things in the Internet of Things and we are starting to get even more intimate with our technology by wearing it as clothing and accessories with wearable tech. These three shifts all have huge individual impacts on how we live our everyday lives as well as have influence on each other. One of the common threads between 3D printing, IoT and wearable tech is the ability to use this technology to design solutions that solve for real problems in our world which is at the core of tomorrow’s conference in San Francisco, Designers of Things.

Read More

Apple Enters The Wearable Category With The Apple Watch
Apple held its expected September event in Cupertino today. Among the announcements was the reveal of the new iPhone 6 including one with a larger 5.5 inch screen called the iPhone 6 Plus.  Apple also entered the mobile payments by including NFC on the latest devices and rolling out a feature called ApplePay. But it was when Tim Cook spoke the magic words “One More Thing” at the tail end of the event when things really got exciting. Cook presented a line of Apple Watches at the event officiating the rumours that the company was joining others in creating products for the wearable tech category.  
[[MORE]]The Apple Watch comes in a variety of styles and colors to offer personalization and options for wearers to fit their sense of style. The watch will be offered in two sizes and feature six different straps made from various materials including leather, silicon and stainless steel. Apple will be selling three three different collections of the watch: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition, the latter  made using 18-karat gold. On top of the hardware options, Apple also featured a variety of watchfaces to choose from including a classic Mickey Mouse watch you may have remembered from the iPod Nano days.
The Apple Watch features some new and familiar inputs to interact with the software on the device. The Digital Crown on the side of the watch lets you navigate within an app and when pressed can take you back to the home screen. The other physical button under it opens up a screen with your favourite contacts for you to interact with. The screen itself is a touch screen which lets you tap and swipe but its outfitted with a new technology Apple calls Force Touch which allows the screen distinguish between a tap and a hard tap acting almost like a right click of a mouse. Finally, Siri is integrated with the watch letting you use voice to access information. 
The Watch presents some interesting way to communicate such as its Digital Touch feature which lets you send doodles and even your heartbeat to another wearer. And responding to text messages is made easy on the device through the use of predictive canned responses and a strong emphasis on the use of animated emojis. The Watch also features calling functionality with the built-in speaker and microphone.
The two immediate killer features for the device were around health and payments. The newly announced ApplePay system which allows users to pay with credit and debit cards kept in Apple’s Passbook will work on the smartwatch. And Apple unveiled two new fitness and health apps for the Watch which make use of the heart rate monitoring and activity tracking functions it comes equipped with.
But payments and health are only the tipping point for the Apple Watch as Apple also announced WatchKit to help developers build apps for the device. Apps have already been created by Starwood Hotels, to open hotel room doors with the watch, Twitter and Facebook and we are sure to see a lot more by the time the watch is ready in 2015.

Apple Enters The Wearable Category With The Apple Watch

Apple held its expected September event in Cupertino today. Among the announcements was the reveal of the new iPhone 6 including one with a larger 5.5 inch screen called the iPhone 6 Plus.  Apple also entered the mobile payments by including NFC on the latest devices and rolling out a feature called ApplePay. But it was when Tim Cook spoke the magic words “One More Thing” at the tail end of the event when things really got exciting. Cook presented a line of Apple Watches at the event officiating the rumours that the company was joining others in creating products for the wearable tech category.  

Read More

Opening Ceremony To Debut Smart Bracelet at New York Fashion Week
Back in January, Intel announced that they were working with Open Ceremony to create fashionable wearable tech that would be available for sale at Barneys. This week we learned that Opening Ceremony will debut this tech as part of its Spring/Summer 2015 Fashion Show at New York Fashion Week.  
[[MORE]]The duo have created MICA, a smart bracelet that is as much fashion first as it is a device with “communications capabilities”. Powered by Intel, MICA, which stands for "My Intelligent Communication Accessory", marries luxurious design elements like semi-precious gems and snakeskin with technology to work with, and not against, a woman’s sense of style. Opening Ceremony has made two styles available for the smartband. One style will feature black watersnake skin, pearls from China, and lapis stones from Madagascar, while the other style will feature white watersnake skin, tiger’s eye from South Africa, and obsidian from Russia. Both boast a curved sapphire glass display. 
On the tech side, MICA offers mainly a host of notification features including the ability to read text messages, get meeting alerts and other general notifications. But Intel did indicate in its press release yesterday that “additional features and functionalities to be revealed at a later date.”
MICA will be available at select Barneys and Opening Ceremony stores by holiday 2014. Pricing was not announced but from the sounds of the premium materials of these accessories, and the choice of store, we can assume the price tag is going to be a higher one.

Opening Ceremony To Debut Smart Bracelet at New York Fashion Week

Back in January, Intel announced that they were working with Open Ceremony to create fashionable wearable tech that would be available for sale at Barneys. This week we learned that Opening Ceremony will debut this tech as part of its Spring/Summer 2015 Fashion Show at New York Fashion Week.  

Read More

ASUS Latest To Launch Android Wear Watch with ZenWatch
IFA is underway in Berlin and to kick off the announcements ASUS officially unveiled its first wearable device, the Android Wear powered smartwatch, ZenWatch. The ZenWatch is just one of many smartwatches and other wearables expected to be launched at this event.
[[MORE]]
ASUS has chosen to go with a classic timepiece look for its first watch. It features a 2.5D curved glass face and uses a soft genuine stitched-leather strap with quick-release clasp. The watch will come with a selection of interchangeable watchface apps for users to switch things up.
The ZenWatch features a version of the ASUS ZenUI which was specifically designed for the watch. It also features some pretty engaging elements, most not yet found on other Android Wear smartwatches. Users will be able to tap the watch to unlock a device or perform a pre-set function. It also comes equipped with remote camera capabilities and a means to control presentations. Of course it adds even more functionality to owners of ASUS smartphones. 
The ZenWatch is also an activity tracker, using its 9-axis sensor along with the companion ASUS ZenUI Wellness app to monitor activity, heart  rate, exercise intensity and relaxation levels. 

ASUS Latest To Launch Android Wear Watch with ZenWatch

IFA is underway in Berlin and to kick off the announcements ASUS officially unveiled its first wearable device, the Android Wear powered smartwatch, ZenWatch. The ZenWatch is just one of many smartwatches and other wearables expected to be launched at this event.

Read More

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. 
[[MORE]]
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. 

Read More

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.
[[MORE]]
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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.

Read More

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. 
[[MORE]]
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. 

Read More

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.  

Read More

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. 
[[MORE]]
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. 

Read More

Standalone Smartwatch, Neptune Pine, Now Shipping to Backers
Smartwatches are all the rage today but one of the complaints of this wrist-worn wearable is that it relies too much on your smartphone. Neptune Computer’s Pine is here to solve that. Like the Omate watch before it, the Pine is a standalone smartwatch which means that it can function fully without being dependent on a bluetooth connection to a smartphone in your pocket. Neptune smashed its Kickstarter goal back in December of last year and is now starting to ship to backers. 
[[MORE]]Neptune raised over $800,000 for what they are calling the “definitive all-in-one smartwatch”. The watch can do anything from taking voice calls, texting with a full keyboard, use of maps with GPS and even video chatting. It does this all without the need of a smartphone. All it needs is its own micro-SIM card and you are good to go. The watch even has a front facing and 5MP rear-facing camera to boot!
Late in July, Neptune sent an update out to its backers announcing that the first Wave of shipments were being sent. The first batch of Pines will be on the wrists of those in the US who indicated they wanted the device first and didn’t care if it had been treated for water resistance. Neptune indicated that all go-forward Pines outside of Wave 1 will be water resistant.
Late last week, Neptune announced that Wave 2 was on its way to fulfillment centres to send smartwatches to US, Canada and E.U. backers. Backers in this wave are expected to be sent tracking numbers over the next two weeks as they are being processed. 
Neptune is now accepting pre-orders for the Pine on its website for $349. Those who order Pine after January 1, 2014 are expected to receive their unit in October of this year. 

Standalone Smartwatch, Neptune Pine, Now Shipping to Backers

Smartwatches are all the rage today but one of the complaints of this wrist-worn wearable is that it relies too much on your smartphone. Neptune Computer’s Pine is here to solve that. Like the Omate watch before it, the Pine is a standalone smartwatch which means that it can function fully without being dependent on a bluetooth connection to a smartphone in your pocket. Neptune smashed its Kickstarter goal back in December of last year and is now starting to ship to backers. 

Read More