Socks that tracks your steps and speed are among the new options for wearable computers.
A recent survey showed 79 percent of cellphone users reported having their device handy for all but two of their waking hours.
Wearable technology looks to extend that dependence around the clock. Companies are developing devices that fit around the wrist, the neck and even on the face to track fitness, messages and location.
“Wearable tech is still very new, but we really think it’s going to take off,” said Consumer Reports Carol Mangis. “A lot of big companies are jumping in the game.”
(Triangle-based Valencell recently raised $7 million and is emerging as one of the wearable startup sector trend leaders.)
Smart watches are one of the fastest growing categories of wearable technology. Users of the Pebble can get email, texts and alerts about a call without ever pulling their phone from their pocket.
“It allows me to, at a glance, tell if something is important enough to stop and take care of now or forget until later, or not pay attention to at all,” said Pebble watch owner Matt Safford.
Consumer Reports has started testing wearable devices that track activity like steps and calories to help users meet their weight goals.
So far, the highest-rated tracker is the $100 Fitbit One. Consumer Reports found that it is accurate and allows users see their progress in real-time, without connecting to a computer.
“The first devices we saw were kind of clunky, but that’s changing,” Mangis said. “For example, this Misfit Shine activity tracker, you can wear it around your neck, your wrist, or even your ankle.”
Designers are even getting in the mix
Tory Burch makes accessories to hold a Fitbit, and Diane von Furstenberg designed frames for Google Glass.
The jury is still out on Google Glass. It does a number of things, including make phone calls and take photos or videos.
But with a starting price of $1,500, Glass may prove more of a novelty than a must-have.
Consumers can expect to see a lot more wearable tech in the run up to the holidays, including some products that are truly cutting edge.
Already in the works are high-tech socks that track steps, speed, altitude and even a runner’s technique. The Sensoria Fitness socks cost $200 a pair!
Another idea is the Nod, a ring that can make a phone call or change TV channels and so much more with the wave of a hand. The Nod Gesture costs $150.