Wearable Tech – From Talking Dogs to “The Smart Diaper”

It’s settled, wearable tech is the next big thing.

Designer and professor of fashion technology Dr. Sabine Seymour says, in a recent interview with SmartPlanet, that the future of wearable technology is “all about creating the superhuman”  … and this means a fully augmented experience with tech providing real-time information about your internal functions as well as your environment.

Basically, we’re talking Iron Man style suit-to-wearer interaction … but lighter.

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“Before, we couldn’t grasp the concept … it was a computer geek trying to put something on the body … fashion designers weren’t able to communicate what they wanted. We were at a kindergarten stage, now we’ve graduated from high school and we need to get serious,” Seymour said.

Seymour breaks down the advancement of wearable tech into three phases.  She claims that artist Maggie Orth’s seminal Firefly dress in 1995 started the first wave of true wearables, which led to the second wave — a time in which well-executed concepts were explored but confined to a niche market.   The third wave, she says, is the most amped and productive period to date.   She sees herself (and the rest of us) working on the go, being able to download files while she takes a walk around Central Park — and wearing a garment that can cool her down when it gets too hot, and that can even change color and style to suit her mood … within ten years time.  What will have to happen is greater collabortion between technologists and artists and designers working in the fashion industry.

That doesn’t even sound far fetched when you consider what’s already for sale at a mall near you.   These products are collecting data about the wearers activity and calorie expenditure, sleep habits, and other biometric signals.   Check JawboneFitBit and the athlete centered Under Armour’s Armour 39 that even claims to measure willpower?!  That’s not even mentioning the crop of smart watches and well known Google Glass.

wearable techSome of the more interesting advancements in wearable tech will give us the capacity to communicate with, or understand needs of those that can’t speak for themselves.

FIDO Project – (Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations)

The Acronym is ok, but the technology is crazy.   The FIDO team … created four different sensors that dogs could activate (based on biting, tugging, and nose gestures) and tested them on-body with three assistance-trained dogs. We were able to demonstrate that it is possible to create wearable sensors that dogs can reliably activate on command.” – Clint Zeagler

This tech can be worn by seeing eye dogs or bomb sniffing dogs, where sensors would activate either audio commands that handlers would hear on their earpiece or visual commands that would appear on a head-mounted display.

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Smart Diaper

A New York startup called Pixie Scientific has developed a diaper that can detect possible urinary tract infections, kidney dysfunctions, and dehydration, as well as the more common indicator that the baby has pooped itself.   The New York Times reports on the diaper which features a patch with different colored squares that each represents an interaction with a protein, water content, or bacteria; the patches change color if they detect something out of the ordinary.

The diaper is accompanied by a smartphone app that takes a picture, makes a precise reading, and transmits the information to a physician.  The diaper will soon be tested at children’s hospitals, and the creators are hopeful that it will become a popular consumer product (even though it will cost about 30 percent more than regular diapers).

The big boys in diapers are already looking to undercut this effort … Huggies is selling a device called TweetPee that clips to the diaper and alerts parents’ smartphones when babies need to be changed and when diapers are running low.

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2 thoughts on “Wearable Tech – From Talking Dogs to “The Smart Diaper”

  1. Pingback: Low-Tech Mag Thinks Your Car And Cell-Phone Suck | Good Kid. Maad FX

  2. Pingback: wearable technology | Wearable technology Blog - Wearable technology Blog

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