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By Carl Weiss
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The Paris Fashion show has nothing on Google and Amazon when it comes to offering wearable technology.  The two titans of tech have recently weighed in with major advancements in wearables.  Amazon has just opened a Wearable Technology Store in the UK that offers more than 100 different wearable devices, including activity trackers, smart watches, smart glasses and wearable cameras.  Google last month rolled out their Android Wear operating system for smart watch developers.  This says nothing of the hundreds of companies that have also leapt into the rapidly expanding wearable's market. This week's radio show will cover this topic, so if you want additional information, don't forget to listen live or download the podcast.

What, Why and Wear?

People are certainly talking about wearables.  The reported in a recent blog that “Twitter dominated as the main location of wearables with 75 percent of all mentions, with news sites a distant second at 10%. Year-on-year the conversation around wearables has increased an impressive 190 per cent when comparing the first quarter of 2013 (973,300 mentions) to that of 2014 (2,816,814 mentions).”  They also reported that the conversation seems to be relegated mainly to the United States, the rest of the globe seeming to take a wait and see attitude.   

"Amazon has just opened a Wearable Technology Store in the UK that offers more than 100 different wearable devices ..."

What’s to see on 

iWatch (Photo credit: Brett Jordan)
If you are into smart watches and bracelets you will have your hands full since the site carries hundreds of offerings.  This in itself is impressive when you consider that the smart watch as we know it really only got its start about three years ago with the first rumors of the Apple iWatch.   While hundreds of imitators have thrown their hats into the smart watch ring, the iWatch is still not available for sale and rumors about its description and launch date are as elusive as that of a unicorn.  This is curious in and of itself since Samsung reported to Reuters that it had sold more than 800,000 of its Galaxy Gear smart watches in two months.

Priced at around $300, the Gear works as an accessory to its market-leading Galaxy smartphone, with a small OLED screen offering basic functions like photos, hands-free calls and message notifications.  Samsung has poured marketing resources into the Gear with heavy advertisements and collaborations with fashion shows to seize leadership in the wearable computer market after the device got off to a rocky start after being critically panned by reviewers.

As for the vaunted iWatch, rumor has it that it will hit the market in September.  That’s if you can trust the pundits.

More Smart Wearable Tech on the Shelves

Of course, smart watches are hardly the only wearable tech currently on the shelf.  If you are one of those leading an active lifestyle, there are a number of wearables that are designed to track everything from the amount of distance you travel afoot to the total calories burned, to time spent idling and/or sleeping.  One of the more intriguing of these is a device called the Jawbone UP24, whic,h strangely enough is worn, on one’s wrist. 

 According to the company’s literature, The UP® system is like a coach that gets to know you, then guides you to make simple decisions that lead to a more active life. With precise step tracking, workout logging and Insight Reports, UP is way more than a pedometer. Use Idle Alert to remind you to move throughout the day. And whether you want to shed a few pounds or just eat healthier, tracking food is now even easier. New features include frequent meals, an enhanced calorie counter, and an expanded library of restaurant menus. There's even a Food Score, so you can quickly see how healthy your food choices are. It's all designed to help you make great choices about what to eat and when.   The UP® system gives you an in-depth picture of your sleep. Sleep graphs let you see the good, the bad and the rapidly improving. Use bedtime reminders, Power Nap and Smart Alarm® to get to sleep and wake up at optimal times. UP intelligently analyses your sleep, diet and exercise, then suggest simple adjustments that lead to more rest and happier days.”

If tracking your every step, bite and REM sleep isn’t enough, there is now an entire armada of wearable cameras and mounts designed to record your every move in HD video.  So whether you prefer to walk, run, drive, bike, hang glide, spelunk, scuba dive or jump out of a perfectly good airplane, there is a camera and mount designed to allow you to capture the moment. Should you wish to capture those selfies with a camera mounted on your wrist, head, foot or chest, rest assured that someone somewhere has created the perfect camera rig. 

Move Over Google Glass - Here Comes Google Contacts

The lab known for self-driving cars is making 
a contact lens to measure glucose in tears.
CreditGoogle, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
As if Google Glass was not enough, the company has partnered with Swiss drug company, Novartis, to develop a type of smart contact lens that contains non-invasive sensors, microchips and other embedded miniature electronics that can be designed to either monitor the glucose levels in the tears of diabetics, or that can restore 20/20 vision to people who require reading glasses.  (I am not making this up.)  While the prototype was unveiled in January, the smart contacts are not expected to reach the market for several years, by which time wearers will probably be able to use them to take picturessince Google recently filed a patent for Embedded Microscopic Cameras.  This will come as a relief to many so-called "Glassholes" who have experienced everything from intimidation to forceable ejection from movie theaters, restaurants and other public places for wearing Google Glass.

You Say You Have Nothing to Wear?

If you think that smart watches, bracelets and helmets are outré, then you may want to look into some of the latest developments in wearables.

Active wear Smart Clothing
A Taiwanese company, AIQ Smart Clothing contains everything from built-in lighting and/or heating, to their Bioman shirts, which are machine washable and contain embedded electrodes that are designed to connect wirelessly to any tablet or smartphone in order to provide the wearer with real time biometric data.

In the meantime, expect the rush to computerize other forms of apparel in the not too distant future.    

Already I have seen everything from bionic bras designed to produce electrical power, to an emotion-sensing dress that changes color to suit your mood.  (Boy could we men get behind this invention!)
Mood reflective clothing.
Speaking of women, in years to come as wearable technology becomes ever more ubiquitous, will the lament of spouses transform into one of, “I can’t go out tonight.  I have nothing to wear that reflects my mood changes.”
In this article, I have provided a glimpse at where the smart tech wearable's industry is headed. I've  explored how Google, Amazon and other distributors and manufactures are hurrying to release new and exciting products that will allow us to understand human activity, help us make mood-revealing fashion statements and record the world around us.  

If you found this article to be useful, share it with friends, family, co-workers and associates. To learn more about this subject read- "Next Tech - The Future is Now“ and  "Are Google Glasses the Great Game Changer or a Passing Fad?" located on our blog. You can also search this blog by keying in "Wearables" in the search box. If you have something to add or a difference of opinion, place that in the comments section.  I hope this information helps you find a company that does not use cyber babble.

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When he doesn’t show his lack of fashion sense, Carl Weiss is the leader of the crew of innovators at the digital marketing agency Working the Web to Win in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Blog Talk Radio show of the same name that can be heard every Tuesday at 4 pm Eastern.

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