What's New in Wearables

By Nicole Garbarino

The Internet of Things is evolving in incredible ways: for instance, the wearables market has grown exponentially within the past couple of years and shows no signs of slowing down. People are now able to push their workouts further with intelligent fitness bands (and other devices), even designers such as Ralph Lauren are getting in on the wearable action and are starting to create connected clothes. From smart bands and watches to intelligent shirts and motorcycle jackets, wearable technologies are just some of the latest additions to IoT.

Timex, for example, seems to be embracing the fitness band market, while still keeping it classic. Its new fitness watch is going to be analog, which is great for those who don’t want to wear a watch along with a band or have a screen. In addition to keeping its look more old school, Timex’s decision to not include a digital screen will help extend the life of its fitness watch and since most people already have a smartphone, there’s no need to have both a digital interface and a phone app. This is similar to Withings’ smart watch, the Activite; however, it is going to be at a much cheaper price. The Activite costs $450 while the Timex watch will be $150 or $125 depending on the material you want.

Ralph Lauren’s fitness shirt is here to get rid of the fitness band all together. There are sensors woven into the fabric that connect with iOS devices including your iWatch, iPod Touch, and iPhone. The user can begin a workout, and based on the shirts readings the application will determine the intensity of the next workout. There are three different types of workouts which include: cardio, strength, and agility. This allows the user to customize the workout to what they would like to do. The smart shirt will be available on Ralph Lauren’s website, their flagship store in New York City, and at its US Open store where there will also be demonstrations of the shirts use. This shirt costs $295 which means you need to either have a fat wallet or be very dedicated to fitness. Ralph Lauren also suggests that you buy the shirt a size smaller so that it fits tightly, which may also deter those who are not comfortable wearing tight clothing.

Did you know that if you ride a motorcycle your odds of dying are 1 in 802? (MedHelp). With those odds, it has become apparent that something needs to be done. In hopes of decreasing motorcyclist deaths Dainese has created a jacket that could potentially save lives. In the past these “smart” jackets were either connected to the bike or had corded tethers. These both left many opportunities for error. The jackets that were wirelessly connected to the motorcycle made it difficult for riders to switch from bike to bike, and the other does not account for every kind of accident. This jacket, the Misano 1000, is designed to account for any accident and allow the rider to switch bikes. It can do this because it works completely independent of the bike, deploying airbags when it detects an accident occurring. The jacket is going to be available in November for $1700, which seems like a lot; however, the rider is likely to believe his or her life is worth more.

Wearables are beginning to turn into devices that we will not be able to live without. Just like how cars are now required to have airbags, someday motorcyclists may be required to wear a jacket with airbags. All analog watches may someday be considered “smart,” and all the true fitness junkies will have a “smart” workout shirt. If you look at how much our society has changed in the last 20 years, these ideas do not seem so far fetched to occur in the next 20 years. The only question that we should be asking now is what’s next?