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Thursday, September 25, 2008

15 of The Hottest Wearable Gadgets [Pics and Video]

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Okay, we’ll admit it. We have an unnatural love for gadgets and all things computer-related. If this makes us geeks, than so be it! Of course, for better or for worse, there are some of us who like to wear their pride on their sleeve (literally) and proudly display their inner geek for all to see. In this post we bring you all the best wearable gadgets of the past, present, and future! Some are cool, some are freaky, but all are guaranteed to make you stand out from the rest of the low-tech populous.

  1. Power Generating Knee Brace
    A sign of things to come for sure, the Power Generating Knee Brace harvests excess energy from the kinetic energy in the knee joints in the same way that brakes reclaim energy from tires on certain hybrid cars. The energy production itself has been proven efficient. The real problem facing the device is the bulk; something that will surely be solved in time. Expect to see both domestic and military applications of the device in the future, with implementations in other areas of the body to help those with, say, a pacemaker or similar medical devices.
  2. Nail Watch from Timex - The TX54
    This one comes at us from the Core77 Year 2154 Design Competition. Apparently, no one in the future will want to wear watches and thus, these guys will take over. I think this is a fun and cool idea. Clicking the edge of the nail turns on and off the glow feature.
  3. Momenta Next-Gen PC
    Part of the Next-Gen PC Design Competition, this concept device is actually a full-fledged PC that is worn about the neck. A small projector displays the interface on the nearby wall and gestural commands allow the user to interact with the machine minus an actual physical interface. Another cool feature is the heart rate dependent video capture. What that means is if your heart rate goes up, the PC starts recording automatically. Granted, this is only a concept, but you can’t help but wonder how far off we are from something like this.
  4. The Impact Jacket

    Sometimes simple innovations are the best. The video explains how the jacket works above, but essentially a rip cord is attached to the motorcycle (or horse, or occasional segway) and should the rider fall from the vehicle, a CO2 cartridge fills the jacket with compressed gas and acts like an airbag. It’s currently popular with Law Enforcement Agencies and has already saved lives!
  5. VitalJacket

    Forget complex medical rigging and long hospital stays. The VitalJacket is innovative because it allows the user to simply slip on the shirt, which immediately begins monitoring vital health stats such as a person’s ECG, heart rate, respiration, and temperature, among other things. All data is stored on a built in SD card and simultaneously transferred via bluetooth to a PDA for further analysis and tracking. Prices reportedly start around $635.
  6. Digital Escape Mask

    A dystopian future, at this point, is all but guaranteed. How will you handle the inevitable soul-crushing destruction of humanity when it finally comes around? Why not simply ignore it with the Digital Escape Mask? The concept device augments reality by re-skinning it with something more pleasurable. Polluted air is replaced with fresh air. Sounds, smells and visuals are pleasurable. This is escapism taken to the ultimate level. The mask also projects an emoticon-like version of your actual expression to display your mood to those who are not wearing the masks.As cool as it all sounds, let’s hope there is never an actual need for such a product.
  7. Mark of Fitness Exercise Monitor
    One thing that separates this particular fitness monitor from others is that it is entirely self contained; there is no chest belt attachment. The semi-glove design is small, convenient, and does not interfere with your activities. The device itself is capable of accurately monitoring your heart rate and keeps accurate estimations of calories burned as well as your target heart rate.
  8. Speedo LZR Racer

    While I realize this is technically not a gadget, per se, given the recent Beijing Olympics/Michael Phelps hubbub, it felt appropriate to place this on the list. Not only that, but this suit is probably more advanced (and more expensive) than you’d expect. This suit is the first of it’s kind, created from a three-piece 3D pattern, which is then ultrasonically bonded together to create streamlined seams that reduce drag. The Olympic stars currently have it, but you can grab this high-tech swimsuit when it comes out in October for $550.
  9. Honda’s Walking Assist Device
    Research on this device began in 1999 as part of Honda’s comprehensive study on human walking, research which was then used to help create ASIMO. The device is functional, and works by using hip angle sensors and brushless motors. The inspiration for the device comes from wanting to help elderly and people with poor muscle ability achieve mobility. My guess would be that the only reason you’re not seeing this on the market just yet is because of battery life; the achilles’ heel of so many devices.
  10. ActiveTalk Walkie Talkie Watches

    Ever since Dick Tracy, we’ve waited expectantly for our communication wrist watches. Now you can finally keep in contact with your relatives, friends, and fellow crime fighters with the ActiveTalk Walkie Talkie watches. Simply choose a channel and press call when you want to speak! These guys are rechargeable and come with a 2 mile range making it perfect for those areas where cell phone coverage is spotty, if present at all, such as when you’re outdoors hiking, skiing, or chasing down your next super-villain. Get your own or find out more here.

  11. USB Bracelet
    Okay, so it’s no Tiffany masterwork, but how many times have you been stuck on the run and found yourself wanting a USB cable? Geek merges with chic to bring you the USB bracelet. The tech itself is shrouded in silky and soft polyurethane material and conforms around your wrist. Expect all the functionality of a regular USB cable.Who knows what’s next? RJ-45 belts? Belkin Router Shoes? The possibilities are endless!
  12. DuoFertility
    This is one for the couples who are trying to concieve (or conversly, avoid conception). The DuoFertility is a small, USB-capable device that continuously measures a woman’s basal temperature to determine when she is ovulating. All the woman has to do is wear a patch underneath her arm and the device works on it’s own. You can view up to 6 days of results on the device itself, as well as download the data to a computer. The company behind the device grew out of Cambridge University, so you know you can expect a lot. In fact, the device is capable of measuring up to 20,000 more temperature readings than other basal temperature monitors. The device is currently in trials (which you can sign up for via their website link in the title above), but expect it to retail for around $1000 when it is finally released.
  13. ThinkGeek’s Wi-Fi Detector Shirt

    isn’t a hobby! It’s a way of life! But in all seriousness, what wearable gadget list would be complete without ThinkGeek’s Wi-Fi Detector T-shirt? The premise is simple; when you’re in the range of a wi-fi- signal, the bars on the shirt light up. The stronger the signal, the more bars, just like on your cell phone. The shirt runs off 3 AAA batteries, which are concealed inside a pocket of the shirt. The signal detector itself is removable for easy washing.
  14. Reactiv

    That’s what UK-based Designer Michael Chen calls his product, which is squarely aimed at bicyclists. Using LED’s embedded into the clothing’s arms and back in conjunction with accelerometers, the lights can go green if the rider is accelerating or red if they are slowing down. Tilt switches turn the lights amber when the rider raises their arm to give the appropriate hand signals. The current model is a working prototype, which earned the designer a hefty sum at the James Dyson design awards. Chen hopes to have Reactiv Jackets on the market by Christmastime, retailing for �100 or approximately $186 at today’s conversion rate.
  15. Skelecycle - The Wearable Motorcycle

    For all the risk that may be involved with this particular vehicle, I can’t help but be attracted to it. 36 pneumatic “muscles” control the cycle in conjunction with the drivers movements. The cycle lays flatter at higher speeds, so that when you are going full speed, you are literally suspended flat out, inches above the ground. And did we mention that it’s environmentally friendly? The sensation must be unreal, as is the product itself for now. But all the numbers are based on the real world, claims the creator of the, uh, “bike.” The basic parts are already being engineered for use in other vehicles, so who knows? Maybe one day soon this might become a reality!
  16. *BONUS!* Sarcos’s Exoskeleton

    We’ve received a number of high tech innovation from military products already. Teflon, microwaves, and even modern computing and the Internet itself all started as Military projects. Will the day come when everyone is wearing Aliens-Style Exosuits? One can only dream…

That’s it for today’s 15 Hottest Wearable Gadgets. Got any more to add to the list that we missed? We’d love to hear from you in the comments! Also be sure to check out some of out other killer features posts here on The Hottest Gadgets.