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Fitness wearables grabbed the most attention in 2014, as prices dropped and consumers became more familiar with the technology. As the transition to medical wearables becomes more common, tracking healthcare on a more frequent basis will give healthcare providers better ability to diagnose potential medical problems.
About one-fourth of the total US population, roughly 80 million people, are Baby Boomers and the first wave will begin turning 70 years old in 2016. Life expectancy continues to climb, so additional collected health data collected by wearables should prove valuable to doctors.
"The wearables market is starting to see technology that produces richer and more precise user data than ever before," said Sonia Sousa, CEO of Kenzen, in a statement to InformationWeek. "The problem we're seeing is that most fitness trackers are offering a flat world of data, without much insight beyond what an accelerometer can capture."
The wearable market is showing signs of maturation as companies look to pack additional hardware into devices that can be paired to smartphones and tablets. Expect a higher demand for high fashion wearable devices, with increased focus on dropping prices in the interest of creating new interest in fashionable products.
The looming release of the Apple Watch later this year is expected to create new interest in wearables, and remains one of the most highly anticipated devices of 2015.
"There will be a greater pull for highly functioning - yet aesthetically beautiful - wearables that enable a deeper connection to ourselves, our environment, and each other," said Ariel Garten, co-founder and CEO of brain sensing headband company InteraXon, in a press statement. "Well-designed brain sensors will markedly disrupt the field of wearable technology by democratizing access to inner workings of the brain and behavior, allowing people to do more with their mind than they ever thought possible."
Ralph Osterhout was responsible for creating underwater vehicles featured in two James Bond films, he's developed smaller and cheaper night vision goggles for the military, he has invented many children's toys throughout the 90's (Yak Bak, TalkBoy and Power Penz) and is now working with his company, Osterhout Design Group. on a Google Glass competitor - the ODC Smart Glasses.
Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chip, these glasses are described as "basically a full Android Tablet you can wear on your head", giving users a transparent heads-up display instead of a touchable surface. The screen is quoted to feel like a 55-inch 3D floating screen floating eight feet in front of your eyes, provided by two 720p micro displays.
Intel has given Vuzix a $24.8 million investment, as the hardware manufacturer wants to help Vuzix possibly create fashion-based wearable glasses. Vuzix will use the Intel cash investment to accelerate fashion-based wearable display products directly to the consumer market, as Google Glass seemingly fell flat.
Intel missed the boat on smartphones and tablets, but is interested in making sure it has a major presence in the wearables market. The Silicon Valley company has already created a partnership with Opening Ceremony to create a wearable smart bracelet, catering to a higher-end market.
Meanwhile, Vuzix has had success in wearable development - and the enterprise market seems most appealing to manufacturers - but with Google Glass unable to appeal to most consumers, Vuzix has a unique opportunity to use Intel's investment to invade the market.
CES 2015 - FitLinxx has taken its AMpStrip fitness wearable for athletes to Indiegogo, trying to raise funds for the wearable device. Financial support on Indiegogo ranges from $25 up to $10,000, with different level of support based on monetary contributions.
The waterproof, sensor-filled device is able to monitor heart rate, respiration, skin temperature and posture around the clock, able to stick to the wearer's torso.
"This is our first foray into direct-to-consumer products and we want to do it right," said Dave Monahan, president and CEO of FitLinxx. "We're excited to share our product on Indiegogo and get feedback from athletes. We know having them as part of our AmpStrip team will make our product that much better."
The Osterhout Design Group (ODG) has unveiled a consumer-oriented version of its Smart Glasses system, providing a lighter and smaller version than its military-grade counterpart. The headset will be unveiled later this year and should have a retail price tag less than $1,000.
However, the headset will still be able to show high-definition video, record video, utilize a 3D graphics overlay, and provide line-of-sight directions for wearers. The headset runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 CPU, Wi-Fi, global navigation satellite system, Bluetooth, and custom-built orientation sensors.
"Our Smart Glasses are proving their worth in some of the world's toughest environments and we look forward to bringing our innovative technology closer to everyday customers," said Ralph Osterhout, Ostherout Design Group founder and CEO, in a press statement. "At ODG, we're working to change the world of computing by changing the way we interact, connect, and explore information, and I am happy to introduce the next step on this journey."
The wearables market should only accelerate in 2015, and is presenting unique opportunities for niche products that help consumers. The idea of so-called "hearables" will be heavily marketed as companies develop new products that otherwise would have been overlooked.
The hearable market is expected to be valued at $5 billion by 2018 - close to the same figure of the 2014 wearables market overall - according to Wifore Consulting.
"There's some interesting information you can capture through the ear," said Craig Stires, associate vice president for bit data, analytics and software for IDC Asia Pacific, in a statement to CNBC. "We've been looking at things like wrist wearables, but the ear can capture things like oxygen levels, electrocardiograms, and body temperature."
The market for wearable police body cameras is rising because of national interest, and investors expect Taser International to benefit from an "outperform" rating - as the company known for nonlethal weapons will benefit from interest in body cameras. Half of the US domestic police force currently use Taser's stun guns, and analysts believe wearable body cameras could outperform that number in the next few years.
"In a time where even the most minute news stories of excessive police force have the ability to instantly go viral, pressure will mount on police departments to provide video evidence that qualifies actions," noted an Oppenheimer report. "TASR shares surged 30 percent following the shooting in August of unarmed teen Michael Brown, and the lack of crime scene documentation."
The company's shares closed at $23.98 on Friday, and are currently trading at $25.96 - closing in on the Oppenheimer target price of $28.
"I've got your back bro" exclaims Virgin Media. If you're prone to falling asleep on the couch or have had a long day at work, Virgin Media has developed a new device that will auto-record your show to a connected TiVo box when you slip off to sleep.
This wristband is named be KipstR and works in conjunction with a TIVo box, designed by 15 year old Ryan Oliver and 14 year old Jonathan Kingsley - two youngsters who were commissioned by Virgin Media to develop this 3D-printed device in their Manchester Creative Studio.
We've seeing more 3D-printed devices hit the market which is awesome to see. The way this hot piece of tech works is to utilize a pulse-oximeter to closely monitor the wearers blood flow and content of oxygen located within. When your heart slows down due to you nodding off, the KipstR will sense this and start recording your session.
We've heard the rumors a few times now, and only just a few days ago we reported that we'd be seeing Microsoft unveil a VR headset for the Xbox One at E3 2015 but now developers have confirmed that they're working on an Xbox One VR head-mounted display (HMD).
VRFocus has spoken with "several studios" that have confirmed they're working on a device, but no specific information was shared. We should see Microsoft competing directly with Sony and its PS4 VR headset "Project Morpheus" as well as the king of the VR hill, Oculus VR and the Rift headset.