Wearables are still in their infancy, but whilst that means there’s plenty of room for growth, there are a lot of mistakes just waiting to be made too. We’re worried.
You might remember the Ring from 2014; a wearable that promised so much, but in reality turned out to be an abysmal failure of a product that left many of its Kickstarter backers frustrated and angry. What if Logbar’s poorly conceived finger-wear was just the start? We’ve found a few other concepts and cooked up a couple of our own that we really hope don’t get made, but probably will.
Depending on your age you were either a child or a parent of a child who owned a pair of L.A. Lights; shoes with flashing LEDs built into the soles that would occasionally fire out a seizure-inducing light show with every step taken. To bring the concept up to date for 2015, a company called Tincfun Products is trying to bring Smilerz into the world, although we wish they wouldn’t.
According to the promotional Kickstarter video, “Kids, parents and grandparents all love Smilerz.” Whilst we’re dubious of such claims the light up faces are lifted from the emoji keyboards you’d more readily find on your smartphones, but in physical form they look, well, just plain lame.
The four options under development are named Love, Happy, Cool and Dizzy (who pulls faces reminiscent of the aftermath of a heavy night out on the town) and the concept calls for kids to strap them to their shoes as some sort of strange light-up foot jewellery. The price for these light-up feet emoticons: $25,000 (to fund the project you understand, not each) and between nine backers they’ve already amassed nearly $1500.
For decades we’ve held some strange fascination with blending technology and footwear, particularly with regards to creating new methods of transportation. From the motorised skates in the 1960s to the Acton RocketSkates that showed face at CES this year, we’re looking for reasons to strap wheels to our feet it seems.
Step forward Marcus Mark Henry Ganeous. Aside from having a truly impressive name, Marcus is hoping to get his motorised footwear – Apparocycs off the ground using Kickstarter. Whilst we can’t fault the man’s ambition, the need for his particular brand of locomotion seems less obvious.
In essence Apparocycs are tiny motorcycles strapped to each foot, complete with polycarbonate bodywork headlights and brake lights too. In place of wheels however, Apparocycs use continuous tracks that might be better on varied terrain, but paint images of sticks getting caught between gears and sending riders flying.
The current prototypes are gas powered, but Ganeous wants to keep things relevant and turn the production versions into hybrids, which he says could be suitable for military operations alongside recreation use. Control presently takes place with hand-mounted controls, but akin to the aforementioned Acton skates, shifting the users body weight and leg position is all that should be required in the final version, which is he hits his goal could make it to market as early as this summer.
We’re hoping he doesn’t give up on his dreams, but we’re not sure about funding this particular endeavour.
We can only imagine what it’d be like for our next of kin to have to notify friends and family of our demise, but BeatTweeter aims to take some of the awkwardness out of death, by informing your loyal Twitter followers the moment your heart stops beating via means of a handy tweet.
We’re glad that BeatTweeter isn’t on any crowd-funding site as we feel like it’s offering what amounts to the ultimate overshare. The device itself is actually a ring that constantly checks your pulse and relays it to a smartphone app. Aside from the battery drain you also have to prepare what essentially amounts to an epitaph within 160 characters (including the automated #FinalFarewell hashtag), which seems like a pretty limiting medium if you want to say a proper goodbye.
Thankfully it’s the creation of the team at Rehab Studio as part of the Internet of Useless things lineup, which also includes…
Stress balls are so 90s, as such like so many other technology which work perfectly fine as they are Stress Buster is a 21st century solution that hopes to soothe your troubled mind through a smartwatch, rather than squidgy foam.
As most of the current smartwatch crop pack heart rate monitors it appears that Stress Buster is a wearable app, rather than a device itself. It’ll detect when the user is suffering from elevated stress levels and then repeatedly call out at you to calm down until you do just that.
Past experience tells us that anybody telling us to calm down when we’re stressed is about as helpful as a chocolate teapot, so we’re sceptical as to the effectiveness of Stress Buster, as the rest of the world no doubt is too. Will stick to squeezing our miniature foam smiley face, thanks.
Intel Spider Dress
In a sense this wearable already exists, but we’re just hoping it doesn’t make it passed the concept phase. Intel’s spider dress is another example of fashion and technology crossing paths and whilst it’s a rather awesome creation, it’s also immeasurably creepy.
The dress is hewn from 3D-printed polymer pieces that take on a form reminiscent of human remains and spiders web mixed together, but it not just the structure that’s unsettling, this thing moves. Whilst the bodice features spider-like ‘eyes’ that stare into your soul (and house proximity sensors), the shoulders feature motorised legs that actually react to their surroundings akin to an actual spider.
Powered by Intel’s Edison unit, should someone approach the dress too quickly, the legs will rise up into an attack position, approach calmly and they’ll try and entice you with ‘smooth, suggestive gestures’. Whichever way you look at it, this dress makes our skin crawl and rekindles childhood fears of Arachnophobia. No thank you.