Over the last several years, technology has evolved from smart TVs, cars, and appliances to more personal products such as smartwatches, activity trackers, sensors and apparel. We told you about a developer that's working on an NBA smart jersey that lets fans change player names and numbers. So, we put together a list of wearable technology that has us intrigued.
No, we are not talking a James Bond level of gadgetry just yet, but today, there are plenty of options when it comes to wearable tech that will change your life.
From our hands and smart watches to our feet and self-lacing shoes (you have to see these), here's a quick look at wearable technology.
Insurance, wearable technology and health care
Atop the list of wearables is the highly popular Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa Watch. With their focus on fitness and a person’s well-being, both products offer an array of health, exercise and smart features including calorie counters, activity tracking and cellular capabilities.
With the devices’ proficiency to track one’s daily activities, even during sleep, insurance companies are starting to take notice. Most recently, Aetna signed up with Apple to offer a discount to participants in the insurance company’s Attain program. Other companies that see health benefits of smart gadgets offer discounts.
Puma's self-lacing shoes
When you hear "self-lacing shoes," do you do what we did and think, "How lazy are we that we need shoes that lace themselves?"
Puma recently announced their wirelessly connected sneakers, aptly named "Fi" for "fitness intelligence," that are self-lacing. Swiping the module on top of each shoe tongue will allow the sneaker to adapt to your foot. OK, we get it. It's all about collecting data so we can run better.
Curious as to how this self-lacing works? A micromotor pulls on a pair of cables embedded throughout each shoe, essentially "tying" the sneaker. The wearer can adjust the tightness through a smartphone app or an Apple Watch, or by simply touching the shoe. Charging them is simple via a Qi wireless charging pad (included) and will last around five days.
Although these performers are not yet available, Puma is searching for beta testers, providing you the opportunity to hit the ground running (pun intended) before other consumers. Use an iOS or Android mobile device to download Puma’s Pumatrac training app to receive notifications of when registration begins.
Smart socks that can count your miles
Would you pay $199 for a pair of socks? Whether you are a distance runner or an average walker, Sensoria Core is a high tech wearable that you have to see. These smart socks are manufactured using a running-friendly fabric infused with textile sensors that will track your steps, speed and calories burned. In addition, they monitor stride rate and foot landing, generating an impact score while you walk and run.
Connected to a mobile app, Sensoria may help detect injury-prone running styles and coach the runner with audio cues. There are additional features to these tech socks including analysis data and a virtual shoe closet that can notify you when it might be time to purchase a new pair of shoes.
We saw mixed reviews of Sensoria's smart socks, so we recommend doing your homework before buying. A review we read on CNet said the socks were a good idea, but a little uncomfortable.
A device to correct poor posture
Let’s be honest, if you sit at a desk all day, you probably slouch. We know the health issues that can result from poor posture such as neck and back pain. The Upright GO wireless posture trainer and corrector will have you sitting up straight in no time. Once applied to your upper back using the included sticky pad, the device will deliver a vibration reminder to sit up straight if it detects incorrect posture.
Other features include a personalized training plan, and tracking mode via the Upright app, which is available for both iOS and Android. The device is rechargeable using a USB charging cable. And, according to Upright, 80% of users report a 92% improvement in posture with less than two weeks of use.
Using high tech to track UV rays
My Skin Track, a wearable UV sensor and its companion app from La Roche-Posay, help track and measure a variety of environmental elements that can damage your skin. Via its app, the sensor will detect and provide information on your personal UV exposure and the levels of pollen, humidity and pollution according to your geographical location.
Using that data, the app will provide skincare recommendations and personalized tips all in the effort of improving a healthy skin routine. My Skin Track is waterproof and can be clipped onto sunglasses, clothing or watchband. It does not require a battery or charging. Note: some features need internet access.
Smart pajamas make bedtime fun
Talk about a game-changer when it comes to the nightly ritual of putting the kids to bed. No more fussing or fighting the routine with these pajamas. Named the Smart PJs, they are decked out with clustered dots,each of which contains embedded QR codes.
Scanning a group of the dots using the storybook app on an iOS or Android device will open an eBook designated to that specific cluster. There are a total of 90 clusters on a pair of pajamas linking to 90 different stories, including classic bedtimes tales and nursery rhymes. Each set is made from machine-washable 100% cotton and is available in sizes from 1 to 9.
Introducing smarter pet care
Not to leave out our furry friends, Whistle, a company located in San Francisco, offers Whistle 3, their latest GPS locator and activity monitor for pets. Just attach the device to your pet’s collar and download the free Whistle app available for both iOS and Android to begin monitoring your pet’s activity or rest.
An added benefit to the Whistle is the device’s tracking service. While offered as a subscription through the app, it can give you peace of mind by tracking your pet’s location anywhere in the U.S. The subscription starts at $6.95 and is provided by AT&T.
Related: Can self-lacing shoes be 'bricked'?
In this episode of Tech News Today, we talk about a concern some tech experts have with smart shoes and wearable technology.