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The Internet of Things: The Internet of Wearable Things
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The Internet of Things: The Internet of Wearable Things - Executive Leadership Articles

The Internet of Things: The Internet of Wearable Things

Executive Leadership Articles

The Internet of Things: The Internet of Wearable Things

It turns out that fitness tracking and smart watches were only the beginning. A wave of wearable smart technology is about to wash upon us in creative and interesting (sometimes strange) ways.

A couple of years ago, a bank in Australia introduced a simple, semi-stylish ring embedded with the same near-field communication chip many credit cards feature. Instead of waving a card over a credit card sensor, a customer wearing the ring simply fist-bumps the sensor, and his or her account is charged accordingly. The implications are clear: a fist-bump is a lot more convenient than opening a wallet, and both are easier than unlocking a phone and opening an app.

For fitness tracking, some of the original wild concepts imagined a few years ago are available now: workout gear with hidden sensors to track heart rate, motion, and even UV levels. The old days of a sensor awkwardly and conspicuously strapped to a chest could be gone, now that these multiple functions are invisible in tight-fitting sports bras, bikinis, socks, and tanks.

Last fall, Levi’s released a Google-powered version of its great-looking commuter jacket, a denim jacket with conductive threads woven into the left cuff allowing for touch sensitivity. With a small slot for a Bluetooth communicator, gestures on the cuff, such as brushing the right hand across the fabric, the wearer can control music and receive pings for Google Maps navigation. The much-reviewed clothing seems to have achieved a primary objective for the market: it’s comfortable and it looks great. And while reviewers agree that it does what it promises, at least one reviewer wonders if the functionality is something anyone needs.

Useful doesn’t have to exclude fun, as evidenced by a tight-fitting smart shirt set to be released to consumers this year. Xenoma’s E-Skin turns your body into a video game controller, ostensibly for use in front of a monitor or perhaps with virtual reality gear strapped to one’s face. It sounds like a nice combination of fun and exercise, but combined with augmented reality and perhaps a pair of smart eyeglasses, it could change everything. Games like Ingress or Pokemon Go, for example, played without having to stare down at a phone, would change the way we interact with the actual world around us. Imagine running-around video games like Mario World, or even rudimentary side-scrolling games from our youth such as Super Mario Brothers, superimposed on the actual real world around us. Why don’t we have this yet?

As of early 2018, the state of clothing in the IoT seems pretty clear: for fitness tracking, all kinds of useful developments paired with good-looking, comfortable clothing puts that section of the market ahead of the rest. For real-world, everyday functionality, smart clothing leaves a lot to be desired, as if the real need has yet to be discovered. For the always innovative gaming market, we may see some pretty neat ideas, especially in VR. Wherever we’re going with this concept, it’s clear we aren’t there yet.

Reference Links:
The Verge’s review of Levi’s Commuter Jacket: https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/6/16428338/google-atap-levis-project-jacquard-denim-smart-jacket-review


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The Internet of Things: The Internet of Wearable Things - Executive Leadership Articles

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