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Wearable products will invade the consumer and business markets in the coming years, but will take patience from manufacturers and buyers. There is a lot of confusion regarding the current wearable market, as there is a clutter of different products, multiple platforms, and rather uneven marketing efforts from manufacturers.
Integrating faster and more powerful hardware doesn't seem to be a problem for wearables, but manufacturers are now trying to create more visually appealing products. Early generations of consumer wearables were rather bulky and didn't seem to be fashionable at all, though that is beginning to change.
Wearables were quite popular during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), with many new product announcements and public launches. However, analysts still are unsure what to make of the industry, even though they expect it to rapidly grow in the coming years.
GoPro and the NHL have teamed up for a new partnership that will equip players with GoPro cameras, starting with the All-Star Skills Competition and All Star Game this weekend. This is the latest expansion of GoPro's Professional Broadcast Solution, designed to use GoPro HERO4 cameras with professional live sporting events.
"GoPro is the perfect partner for us in our ongoing commitment to bring hockey fans closer to the game," said Bob Chesterman, SVP of programming and production for the NHL. "As the preeminent leader in adaptable cameras, only GoPro has the technology to help us and our media partners showcase the beauty and intensity of hockey in new and deeper ways."
Much like other professional sports, getting this unique angle will provide fans with a new look of the speed and skill of players participating in the NHL All Star Game.
One of the big parts that Apple left out of its Watch unveiling last year was the battery life, something that is shaping up to be more than lackluster. Sources familiar with the device have told 9to5Mac that Watch users can expect just 3.5 hours of battery life with standard use, and just 2.5 hours of heavy use.
Watch will be powered by Apple's S1 processor, which should have the same type of performance as its A5 processor that is powering the current iPod touch. Watch will be running a cut down version of iOS codenamed SkiHill that will be providing content to a Retina-class display that will be pushing content out at 60FPS. If the Watch is being used with its built-in fitness tracking software, users can expect around four hours of battery life.
Mixed use of the Apple Watch has battery life at around 19 hours, and during standby and low-power modes, Watch users can expect around 203 days of use from a single charge. Battery life has been a big problem for Apple, which is reportedly one of the big reasons behind the company delaying Watch from last year, to this year.
During its Windows 10 event yesterday, Microsoft went right out in another direction actually exciting the technology community by announcing HoloLens. HoloLens, if you haven't already read up on it, is a wireless holographic viewing unit, which takes an interesting turn on the world's of VR and AR devices.
HoloLens features spatial sound, which means that you'll hear sounds behind you when wearing the headset, on top of the copious amounts of sensors that constantly pull information into the headset from the real-world around you. The headset features its own CPU and GPU, as well as a third processor, something Microsoft calls a holographic processing unit. Something HoloLens does right straight away is that it is wireless, compared to every Oculus Rift that we've seen so far.
Another tick for Microsoft is that the company has unveiled a release timeframe: with the launch of Windows 10, later this year. Microsoft will be pushing Windows Holographic, which will feature many different applications and pieces of software that will work in the HoloLens headset, such as Skype, Minecraft and hopefully, much more. NASA even had a Mars walking application to demo with Windows 10 and HoloLens, which is simply a tease of what is possible with Microsoft's wearable. The company is also rolling out a service called Holo Studios, which allows HoloLens users to create 3D objects, as well as move and manipulate projected images in space. These creates go a step or ten further, by allowing them to be printed, something that the DIY space is going to expand on, rapidly.
Not exactly revolutionary, this now-collectors item is a watch that was given to Mac customers back in 1995 as a way to help convince them to upgrade their OS. Originally a straight forward give-away, this item now fetches a pretty penny if sold online thanks to its history and now apparent rarity.
Jonathan Morrison from TechFast brought one along to CES and showed it off to various technology media companies, displaying it's beautiful lack of features and interesting design qualities - looking like something possibly made for primary school children.
Don't be surprised if you see this design set as an optional new face for the latest Apple iWatch release.
Researchers in Germany are working on a new type of wearable that will help generate power collected when shoe wearers walk or run. The harvested energy can be used to power electronic sensors and other devices, with a long-term vision of no longer needing to plug in devices to recharge them.
The "shock harvester" generates power based on heel strikes and a "swing harvester" able to produce power when the shoe wearer swings one of their feet. During a recent test on a treadmill, the harvested energy is enough to power a temperature sensor and wireless transmitter responsible for sending data to a smartphone.
"One application we are working on is indoor navigation which means we have sensors within the shoe that measure the acceleration of the foot, the angular velocity - whether you're turning the foot or not - and the magnetic field," said Klevis Ylli, researcher from the HSG-IMIT research facility in Germany, in a statement published by journalists. "From the data from these sensors, you could calculate how far you have traveled and in which direction."
Bryon Mallett has designed something a little different to most current VR applications - he's combined the Razer Hydra sensor an Oculus Rift and some magnetic gloves in unison to help develop a fully-digital music composition device.
Through the utilization of Ableton Live, a popular music production program, Mallett has also fitted his magnetic cloves with bend sensors, meaning every surface displayed in his system is fully digital - enabling him to press buttons and turn nobs to finely tune his works of art.
Named Pensato, this new technology is based around the software's Session View, which is aimed at live performance. Not only can you push and twist as mentioned above, but Mallett has programmed in special gestures, enabling him to complete more complex tasks.
Amidst the hectic week that was everything-CES 2015, the WaratTell rose from the ashes - set as a sensor based on 10 years of "laugh-detecting technology" and designed by Masafumi Matsumura of Osaka Electro-Communication University - this product actually has a real purpose.
Designed for when your oldies are put away in a home, this sensor will allow you to monitor how happy seniors are via an internet connection and an linked application, showing you how often they laugh or even if they've fallen over or are in any other kind of distress. This is thanks to audio-processing software that is linked to the sensor automatically distinguishing between various vocal sounds.
Fully optioned with a microphone, Bluetooth connectivity, Wi-Fi modules and an accelerometer, this device is located within a bright orange casing painted with a smiley face - which is then connected to a lapel or hangs around your neck.
Google has halted sales of its Glass wearable system, but said there is still interest in launching the smart glasses to consumers again in the future. The company has struggled to woo app developers and plans to transition a new department to take over for the Google X division that initially conducted research for Glass.
Despite halting Glass sales, Google pledged to help continue support companies and consumers using the product - including police agencies and other major testers.
The first version of Glass was released in April 2013 to a small number of testers, available through the Explorer program for $1,500. About one year later, Google released Glass to the public, but analysts said sales were small, as price, privacy concerns, and a lack of apps limited interest.
Fitness trackers grabbed headlines throughout 2014, but with 42 percent of owners leaving behind their wearable devices in the first six months, smartwatches have a great opportunity to pick up the slack.
"The best way to engage athletes interested in using wearable technology is to provide them with applications and devices that target their specific, and often sophisticated needs that can be measured and used to improve performance," said Matt Powell, VP of industry analysis of sports and leisure trends at The NPD Group, in a blog post. "For example, a tennis player might want to measure lateral quickness and backhand speed, while a golfer might want to measure posture, stance and hand speed."
As wearable technology continues to evolve, and more consumers become aware of features and functionality, there are unique sales opportunities available. However, it's up to OEMs and app developers to entice owners to continue using their wearable products, otherwise it could end up being a fruitless effort.