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wearable tech

NailO – The new nail art sticker from the MIT

How cool it is when you have to give a post the category of “Beauty” and “Tech” at the same time. Today is the turn of NailO, a wearable input device in the form of a commercialized nail art sticker. It works as a miniaturized trackpad the size and thickness of a fingernail that can connect to your mobile devices; it also enables wearers to customize the device to fit the wearer’s personal style.

NailO allows wearers to perform different functions on a phone or PC with different gestures, and the wearer can easily alter its appearance with a nail art design layer, creating a combination of functionality and aesthetics.

From the fashion-conscious, to techies, and anyone in between, NailO can make a style, art, or a design statement; but in its more neutral, natural-looking example it can be worn and used only for its functionality. As a nail art sticker, NailO is small, discreet, and removable. Interactions through NailO can be private and subtle, for example attracting minimal attention when you are in a meeting but need to reply to an urgent text message. Mimicking the form of a cosmetic extension, NailO blends into and decorates one’s body when attached, yet remains removable at the wearer’s discretion, giving the wearer power and control over the level of intimacy of the device to one’s body.

The device has multiple applications and to me is a good preview of a future where beauty products have multiple functions. We talked here about this back in 2013 with this fake eyelashes. The relationship between our body and technology will be increasingly close, so no wonder we will need solutions that fit well with what we wear.

The project is still in development, but we look forward to see a more streamlined product.

 

100% Charged: Clothing and accessories that charge your batteries

How many times have you needed to charge your cell phone and wasn’t able to? While the complexity of devices evolves, their batteries seems to last less and less. Aware of this situation, the fashion industry has joined the technology sector to create garments capable of generating energy.

Here’s eight brands and projects that are developing clothes that will never let stranded with an empty battery.

apple-watch

Apple Watch

It´s finally here, and in today’s presentation it was confirmed that the #AppleWatch will come with wireless charging. There are plenty of cool features and you can check out the full specifications of the watch here.

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Vivienne Tam x Zeuzé

Last Sunday Vivienne Tam presented a self-charging iPhone case at New York Fashion Week, a collaboration with wireless specialist Zeusé.  With this collaboration Tam turns three of the designer’s runway bags into to wireless phone chargers.
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Microsoft Pants by Adrian Sauvage

The fashion designer Adrian Sauvage collaborated with Microsoft to create pants equipped with wireless charging plates in its pockets. Currently, only Nokia Lumia phones are shareable with the garment, which will be available in the coming months.

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Wearable Solar

Created by Dutch designer Pauline Van Dougen, Wearable Solar is an experimental project focused on creating clothes capable of generating energy, thanks to several solar panels installed on the surface of the garments. A coat and a dress were already produced with this technology.

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Voltaic Systems

This company from New York creates handbags and backpacks with integrated solar panels, which generate electricity capable of charging not only cell phones, but also laptops, cameras and other bigger devices.


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Sole Power

Whenever we walk, we generate energy. Considering this fact, this start-up created insoles capable of storing energy and transferring it to mobile devices. The project has raised more than $ 60,000 through the Kickstarter platform, and it is possible to pre order the insoles here.

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Empowered & Mighty Purse

These two companies have fairly similar projects: producing pretty and feminine purses that store energy to charge cell phones. The operation is quite simple: the bags come with an USB and are charged by the user, storing enough energy to then charge the mobile. The energy stored in the bag allows the user to charge a smartphone twice over before the purse will need to be recharged.

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Q Bracelet by Q Designs

A minimalist and discreet bracelet hides a great attribute: to generate energy. The accessory, which weighs between 40 and 50 grams, works just like a portable charger, connected to the phone by an USB. On the webpage it is possible to choose from 3 colors (black, silver and gold) and three sizes.

Among these many interesting ideas, it is also worth mentioning the Solar Fiber project, created in 2012 by four Dutch designers. Together, they are looking to develop a flexible photovoltaic fiber that converts solar energy into electrical energy. If they succeed, clothing made with this yarn will be able to produce electricity – a revolution for the fashion and technology sector.

* this post was updated

Cool Tech Shoes

Wearable Tech was once considered something of science fiction. Not anymore. Today is a palpable and thriving reality. Fashion and technology are more and more connected and interested in providing innovative solutions to consumers. The recent hires of Apple confirm this trend: over the past few months the company has added to its team executives from major fashion brands, such as Angela Ahrendts (former Burberry CEO), Paul Deneve (former  YSL CEO), Catherine Monier (former president of  YSL Europe), Musa Tariq (former Social Media Senior Director of  Nike), or Patrick Pruniaux from Tag Heuer (something that confirmed the suspicions that Apple is working on some kind of cool digital wristwatch).

To show how this “partnership” is transforming everyday items, we made a selection of 6 shoes that have the technology as a differential.

United-Nude

Float by United Nude

United Nude, famous for its modern style founded by architect Rem Koolhaas, has embraced the potential of technology developing bold creation: shoes that are printed entirely by a 3D printer. Launched in partnership with 3D Systems company, they can be made at home with the Cube 3D printer.

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Lechal Footwear

In order to help visually impaired people or people who need support to locate, the Lechal shoes have intelligent insoles enable with GPS tracking that vibrate to indicate the way you should go. As a bonus, the shoes also has a monitor of physical activity.

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Adidas Micropacer OG

Adidas launched the Micropacer in 1984, the first running shoe in the world to incorporate technological elements, able to calculate distance, speed and calories lost. To celebrate 30 years of this invention, the brand has relaunched this month its innovative shoes, keeping the same colors and features, but incorporating technical improvements to give more comfort to the runners.

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Sneaker II by Recreus

Shoes that besides being made ​​by a 3D printer, fit in your pocket. Today this is a reality thanks to the company Recreus, known to produce an exclusive filament to 3D printers, capable of bending without losing its original format. The model of the shoe, designed by Ignacio Garcia, is available for free download at the website of the company.

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Lauren Tree Sandal by Continuum

Continuum has been a pioneer in linking fashion and 3D printing. Among the many shoes created by the brand with this technology, one in particular stands out: the Lauren sandal, whose inspiration comes from the organic forms of nature. A proof that innovation does not always need a futuristic aesthetic.

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The Ninja

A shoe that at first glance seems simple, but that hides a lot of technology: The Ninja weighs less than 130 grams, repels water and is extremely comfortable. The shoes were born as a project of The UT.LAB and were funded by a crowd funding campaign – where they raised 10 times more than necessary for funding.

Interview with Kate Unsworth – Kovert Designs – Wearable Tech

From Google glass to apparel with built-in sensory devices, the fashion world is experiencing a transformation towards wearable technology.

Kovert Designs is a fashion conscious company focusing on Wearable Technology by uniting aesthetics and technology. They create ‘Smart accessories’ through the combination of electronic sensors and wireless connections. Formed by Kate Unsworth, Dan Möller, and Fabio Pania, this start-up is based in London (Shoreditch).

This summer they are launching the first 500 units of the “ring”, a wearable and connected device in the form of a piece of jewelry. At first the product will be available only to a select group of influencers in the industry, but a collection of rings, bracelets and necklaces will be available to the general public for the Christmas season and will be on sale at the Kovert website and on Net-a-Porter.

By Spring 2015 Kovert will add additional selling points in all mayor cities and are also planing collaborations with contemporary designers and brands such us ACNE and Rick Owens.

Kate Unsworth, Founder and CEO, took some time to answer our questions and explain her vision to us.

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El Fashionista: Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did to kick-start this project.

Kate: The idea was born in February 2013 when I was working as a technology consultant. I used to write gadget review newsletters on a weekly basis, and about a six months prior, I had begun reviewing wearables products. There were a number of reasons why I felt Silicon Valley was getting it all wrong, both from an aesthetic design perspective and a mass market usability perspective. They were still in the innovation phase, and hadn’t yet begun to think about interesting use cases or commercialization. I knew from day one that this was the product I wanted to build, I just needed to validate that there was actually a market for it.

I spent five months or so doing market research and focus groups, as well as making sure I really had a handle on the technology required to build a wearables product. What I learnt was that there are a number of people who like me, instead of wanting to add more gadgets to their life (such as the new wearable tech products that were coming to market), actually wanted to find a way of managing their existing gadgets so they were less invasive. In fact, they found their technology somewhat annoying and constraining. They wanted to remain connected, but without being distracted from real life interactions. I had found my market.

E: We have all heard a lot of talk about wearable technology but we do not have a very clear idea of what it is apart from Google glass. Please explain to us a little about this concept.

K: The concept of wearable technology is not a new one – it’s been around for 10+ years in some form or another. The difference is that now, battery duration and processing power have vastly improved, allowing us to produce much more useful applications (rather than simply inserting LED lights into clothing). Broadly speaking, at this point in time, wearable tech can be divided into two categories – garments or accessories.  In the accessories space, the majority of players are focusing on health and fitness, and this is likely the direction Apple will also go in with their “iWatch”. The products tend to be worn on the wrist or embedded into clothing and worn near the chest/back, and they monitor everything from heart rate to stress levels and blood glucose levels. At Kovert Designs, we’re taking the concept in a different direction altogether, we want to build social features, that essentially enable you to live a better life.

E: What is the idea behind the Kovert ring?

K: We want to empower people to be able to take a step away from their mobile phone, so that they can stop being distracted, concentrate on real life and live in the moment. Our consumers are sick to death of being overly connected, and want to snap out of autopilot and engage with their technology only as and when they really need to. It’s about making the conscious decision to incorporate your smartphone into your life, rather than letting it force its way in and dominate it. The Kovert jewelry collection (rings, bracelets, necklaces) connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. It connects to the Kovert app, which allows you to set different profiles for you to activate, e.g.: “Meeting Profile” or “Dinner Profile”. Within each of these profiles, you can choose the notifications for which you want your Kovert jewelry to vibrate and alert you. The idea is that you only choose the most important notifications to filter through, then put your phone in your handbag and go about your day.

E: What is the ring made of and how does it work? 

K: Different precious metals (depending on the collection) and a bespoke ‘tech pack’ with electronics inside (which includes a PCB, battery, bluetooth and a vibration motor).

E: When are you launching the ring and is it going to be available to the general public?,  When and where can we buy it?

K: We launch this summer. The first batch will be sold to select individuals only. Those interested can apply to VIP@kovertdesigns.com and state their reasons for being considered.

E: Are you working in collaboration with other brands or designers?

K: Yes – we are currently in discussions.

E: Looking ahead 3 to 5 years, where do you see Kovert Designs?

K: Collaborating with a number of big designers to produce a vast array of beautiful connected devices that inspire people to live a more fulfilling life.


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Wearable Tech – 4 cool brands

The success of Google Glass is still uncertain, but there’s no doubt this device opened the door for a new generation of clothing and accessories. We’re talking about the “smart clothes/ jewelry”, garments that use technology and connectivity to go beyond their original function.

The main (and difficult) challenge of wearable tech is to create products with a nice esthetic – as well as functional. We selected some items that surpassed that mission and implemented this trend – considered, some time ago, as futuristic or improbable.

ringly

Ringly

Created to the female audience, Ringly is a beautiful ring that vibrates and emits a small LED whenever the iphone of the user receives a call or a message. With it is possible to leave the phone inside the bag with no worries, since no notification will be lost. The tones of light and the type of vibration depend on the alert received.

The ring is made of 18K gold and can be customized by the client, who has the option to choose the stones black onyx, pink sapphire, rainbow moonstone and emerald.

bloom

Bloom Necklace

To understand the usefulness of Bloom necklace is necessary to present “Shine”, a small and discreet activity tracker launched by the company Misfit Wearables, that could be coupled in the shoe or clothes. The great revolution brought by this necklace is the possibility of using the device Shine like a jewelry, since Bloom was made as an accessory to carry the monitor. A great option for those who like to use fitness accessories but keep the elegance.

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Cuff

The start-up Cuff works on the creation of smart accessories to protect the user. The company sells bracelets, necklaces and key chains capable of sending messages to family in case of emergency, by pressing a discreet button. Besides being an accessory for your safety, its esthetic is quite appealing.

OM

 

OMSignal Smartwear

The OMSignal collection is a good example of partnership between fashion and fitness technology. Made by polyester and lycra, the clothes contain a number of sensors able to measure the user’s vital signs and send them to a smartphone. The garments are also able to warn other people about the status of the person who is wearing it.

 

Two other interesting examples but not yet released are the collaboration between Tory Burch and Fitbit and the Wearable Solar project, which aims to create clothes able to absorb solar energy and use it to charge devices.