The Wearable Technology Show 2015 has the prestigious honour of being the world’s largest conference catering for those with a deep-rooted interest in wearing lots of wires about their person.
Where Mobile World Congress focused on phones and more outlandish products such as electric bicycles and miniature projectors, WTS focuses on everything from smartwatches and fitness bands to GPS sports performance trackers and a mind-reading headset. Basically, it gives a good indication of how intimate our relationship with tech has become.
Here’s our pick of what was on show.
1 | The Headset That Will Scan Your Brainwaves To Improve Your Zen
Ok, so Muse’s claim that their new headband is a 'heart rate monitor for your mind' is obviously impossible, but semantics aside, it's an interesting piece of tech. As the video above explains, the headband is worn across the forehead and used in conjunction with the Muse app in order to focus your zen for a few minutes each day.
The app asks you to participate in a number of brief activities while the band scans your brainwave frequencies to monitor how easily you get distracted. If all’s going well you’ll hear a gentle sea breeze. Should your mind wander to what you’re having for dinner however, the breeze will pick up and a thunderstorm will brew in your headphones. Designed with a view to gradually increasing your concentrate, it’s also a great insight into how our minds function. If you try hard enough, it may even stop you checking Twitter every few minutes at work.
From £238, choosemuse.com
2 | Your Slightly Cooler Alternative To Google Glass
If you’re a fan of augmented reality headsets (as opposed to virtual reality headsets such as Occulus Rift) the Epson Moverio BT-200 is worth a look.
Featuring a built-in camera, a gyroscope and GPS to track your movements, the headset is controlled by a pocket-sized unit allowing you to access apps or watch HD and 3D content on a perceived 320-inch screen on the go. It’s also got great connectivity options, via Bluetooth 3.0 and WiFi, meaning you can enjoy The Walking Dead when you're on the bus, should you wise to picture yourself in the middle of the zombie apocalypse.
3 | The Activity Tracker You'll Actually Want To Wear
We’re still trying to digest the seemingly endless array of tasks the Apple Watch can perform (rumours suggest it can write your novel, teach you Mandarin over night and produce a full length movie directly from your thoughts) but wearable tech is everywhere at present.
Withings have taken a refreshingly stripped back approach to wrist-based tech with their new Pulse O2, an activity monitor that will record your daily steps, elevation, running and calorie count as well as monitoring your sleep quality. What makes the Pulse stand out (in addition to it’s simple, bright design) is the fact that it can get technical by measuring your blood oxygen level along with your heart rate. The 8 gram, USB chargeable screen with two week battery life is also removable, meaning you can carry it in your pocket and still get the benefit, should you be reluctant to join in the fitness band trend.
4 | The GPS Gadget To Improve Your Game
GPS trackers have been used by professional sportsmen for years (even England’s Tom Wood is a fan) but for the most part, this tech has been unaffordable for the average amateur sportsman. Australian tech company Sports Performance Tracking have taken the first step towards making this tech available to the masses.
Developed by rugby players (they’re Australian, remember?) the new gadget – named ‘Game Traka’ – can be worn anywhere on your body and is as knock-resistant as you’d hope. The idea is that after a training match you can compare your performance to your team mates – in a range of tables and graphs – to see who’s really putting in the most effort. Great news, unless you’re a fan of hanging back, letting others do the hard work, then swooping in at the last minute to take all the glory.
From £152, sportsperformancetracking.com
5 | The Other Watch You Can Control With Your Voice
It’s not all about Apple in the smartwatch department, regardless what the company’s announcement this week would have you believe. Californian-based tech developers Martian Watches have been producing smart, sophisticated watches for a few years now, with their Notifier a particularly strong model.
The brand’s new model, the Guess Connect, was devleoped in collaboration with the clothing brand and debuted at the WTS, promising the ability to send and receive texts and calls, check your Facebook notifications and take pictures with the built-in camera. Compatible with iOS and Android, you’ll also be able to use Siri and Android voice commands. Perfect if you can’t afford to shell out £13,500 for a gold Apple Watch.
Price and release date TBC, martianwatches.com
Which do you want?