Being alive in 2016 means that we have access to an insane amount of technology; too much, really, but also not nearly enough. Like science, the field of technology is based on forming new content that makes past content obsolete. A formula like that leaves great possibility for exponential growth, and we’re starting to see the upward curve of that wave with a host of new and quite frankly insane wearable products.
These days, the inanimate objects that we’ve used and taken for granted for so long are coming to life, and they’re processing data that our puny protein-based minds could never keep track of. It hurts our pride some, knowing that a helmet or pair of shoes could be smarter than us in more ways than one. We’ll let it slide without getting into any fights, since we’re all about human progress.
Where we’re at now is only the beginning, as it always has been and always will be. Our minds would crack right in half if we were to be given a glimpse of the world’s technology ten thousand years from now, or even a hundred. Still, we’ve done pretty well for ourselves so far. Check out some of this tech below, and let yourself be inspired by how much our little monkey race has accomplished. We’ve sure come a long way from the sundial.
15. Ringly Dive Bar
The Ringly Dive Bar, featuring a gem stone made of tourmalinated quartz, is a real testament to the power of human accomplishment. We are now harnessing the power of million-year old mountains and wearing them on our fingers as a device that lets us know when we’re receiving important calls, e-mails, or text messages. That’s essentially the purpose of the Ringly Dive Bar. It uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone, and lets you receive personalized notifications via vibrations and an incognito light on the side of the ring. The gem stone itself is said to come with powers far more ancient than technology, with its black tourmaline lines that energetically bring its wearer a sense of power, security, and daring. Ringly also features a variety of other smart tech ring options in their Libra collection, such as Black Onyx, Daybreak, and Wanderlust, each with different gem stones that carry their own unique energetic properties.
14. OMSignal OMbra
We all know about smart phones, smart watches, and smart cars. Now, with technology spreading and evolving in all wacky directions, we’re seeing the advent of the smart bra. Based in Montreal, OMSignal is a company specialized in making complex technologies simple and easy to use by implementing it in things we use every day. OMSignal released a collection of smart shirts for men back in 2014, which was received with great success. Now, the ladies get to partake in the futuristic fun with the OMbra. With precisely embedded sensors designed to capture strong, specific body signals, the OMBra monitors and captures real-time running, breathing, and heart rates, as well as detailed body movement metrics. This bra from the future also delivers running zones customized to its wearer’s unique physiology, breathing pattern analysis for optimized running efficiency, and of course, calories, pace, distance, and cadence. Those morning jogs will never be the same.
13. HTC Vive
As time goes on, people are becoming increasingly aware of how deeply and significantly virtual reality will affect us in the future. With Pokémon Go, we’ve already seen how a theoretically simple form of virtual reality can seriously impact entire cultures all around the world. People are walking around various locations, pointing their phone at invisible pockets of air in which creatures from a parallel virtual dimension reside. This suggests, in a very visceral way, that there is an entire virtual universe all around us, all the time, waiting for us to develop the technology to visit it. So, in come the virtual headsets. The VR headsets now are the beta technologies of the perfected VR devices that have yet to come, but they still provide a truly bizarre and ethereal experience to whoever wears them. With its utilization of “room scale” technology that essentially allows the headset to turn a room into a 3D space, allowing the wearer to navigate the virtual sphere naturally, the HTC Vive is one of the leading products in the industry, having been honoured with over 22 awards in CES 2016.
12. Kokoon Sleep Sensing Headphones
These headphones are a real yawn, but we mean that in the coolest possible way. Sleep problems are a prevalent thing in our world, especially in this day and age, when everything’s moving so fast in so many directions, and there’s a persistent, underlying hum that we can’t quite seem to escape. It’s a conglomerate hum comprised of global business vibes, and it tends to keep us up at night. 40 million people suffer from chronic sleep disorders in the United States alone, and an additional 20 million people experience minor, sporadic sleeping issues. This is why Kokoon produced their Sleep Sensing Headphones; to help ease the troubles of sleeplessness in a wide awake world. These headphones are made specifically to improve the quality of sleep and aid in relaxation. With their patented FlexMould comfort technology, they stay a comfortable, cool temperature all throughout the night. Aside from their comfort and functionality, the headphones are sleek and cool to look at. They even come with a built-in intelligent alarm, because we all have to wake up eventually.
11. Daqri Smart Helmet
We’ve always been told by those looking out for us to wear a helmet when doing anything dangerous, for our own safety. Well, now we actually want to wear a helmet, for reasons that go far beyond safety. Daqri’s Smart Helmet provides augmented reality features that give workers a window into the unseen virtual dimension in their work environment. Daqri’s Smart Helmet features a high-speed wide angle tracking camera, three sensors that include a stereo infrared camera, an infrared light projector, and an integrated RGB camera, all processed through a central unit powered by Intel Core m7-6Y75. It comes with a multitude of possibilities in the workplace, such as allowing supervisors to see exactly what their workers are seeing, and guide them through the job process accordingly. Those yellow hard hats, though iconic and beloved in their own right, will in all likeliness be a thing of the past.
10. Gemio Band
Set to ship sometime in November 2016 and available for pre-order now on Kickstarter, the Gemio Band is an ultra-modernized version of the classic friendship bracelet. The Gemio Band is built to respond to its wearer’s mood, and it changes based on the environment and the different sounds it picks up. Using an impressive LED light panel that generates millions of colours and patterns, the Gemio Band connects to smart phones through the MyGemio app, allowing users to control the band’s dazzling options. The various light, colour, and vibrational signals the band emits can be sent out to your friends, letting them know that you’re around and that you’re thinking about them. Further options allow you to link to your favourite musicians, sport teams, charities, and so on, so you’ll be alerted whenever a significant action occurs with the person or group you follow. This cool little piece of tech brings new elements of style, technology, and community to the traditional form of jewelry.
9. Fitbit Charge HR
With the huge surge of wearable tech available these days, it’s easy to get consumer sweats at the thought of choosing between them. In case you’re overwhelmed by the sheer volume of wireless heart rate and activity monitoring wrist bands available on the market, perhaps we can help simplify things for you. The FitBit Charge HR does everything that a smart wrist band is expected to do, and more. To list a few of its functions: the FitBit Charge HR tracks distance traveled, floors climbed, steps taken, heart rate, calories burned, and length and quality of sleep; it features a clock as well as a silent alarm; can be worn as a watch with multiple options of visual display; is entirely sweat, rain, and splash proof (though it should not be worn in the pool or shower); and it even notifies you of phone calls when your device is within 20 feet.
Far from being your average piece of tech, Thync is the first wearable technology on the market that actively and actually alters the way you feel. If that sounds a lot like a drug to you, it’s because Thync is essentially a technological drug, changing your brain waves by smoothly stimulating nerve centers on your neck and head via low level electrical pulses. It comes with a variety of different modes and functions for a wide range of moods and settings, each of them categorized as either providing you with more energy, or helping you relax. Safety concern is one of the first things that come to mind when thinking about Thync, so the device has been clinically tested over 1,000 times and was developed by a team of neuroscientists from MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. Sounds legit enough to us. Look into the product yourself to learn about what it does and how it works. Personally, we think we might give Thync a try.
7. Hexoskin Smart Shirt
You know that we’re living in the future when our clothing starts to seem smarter than we are. Granted, the Hexoskin Smart Shirt probably can’t beat us in a game of chess or Super Smash Bros., but we certainly can’t keep track of the exact numbers of calories we burn in a work out (that is, if we actually did work out, which we actually don’t), or the exact active rate of our heartbeats. The Hexoskin Smart Shirt can do all that and more. This comfortable, convenient piece of technology is sold in a bundle which includes a small pack containing the battery and Bluetooth sensors, a charging cable, and of course the sensor-laced shirt. The main drawback of the Hexoskin Smart Shirt is its whopping price tag of $400, but we suppose that’s what comes with being one of the first companies in the industry to make this kind of shirt available to the public.
6. Bragi Dash
We love a good pair of bulky, nice-sounding headphones to listen to our favourite music on, but sometimes we can’t help but crave something small and wireless that we can cram into our ears, so we can feel like we’re listening to music without wearing anything at all. That’s where the Bragi Dash comes in. The Bragi Dash has no wires, and with that comes no boundaries. The simple, minimalistic control system features buttons on the side of the buds that allow you to accept phone calls, switch between songs, and deliver voice commands. It connects to all Bluetooth devices, delivering super clear sound as well as hands free communication. No more worrying about getting caught talking on the phone while driving! Sure, people will probably think that you’re talking to yourself, but people tend to think a bunch of things without you being in control of any of them. You go ahead and do your thing, and let everyone else do theirs.
5. Moov Now
Despite all of the items on this list being super cool, most of them are also super expensive. At $59.95, the Moov Now is a sleek, comfortable wearable that most people looking for affordable tech can actually get their hands on. Moov Now is essentially a virtual coach that you wear on your wrist or ankle. As you work out, it speaks to you, giving you personalized feedback on the multiple forms of exercise it supports. Whether you’re jogging, swimming, cycling, or doing calisthenics at home, the little trainer living inside Moov Now is well-versed on proper form and technique, and they know exactly what to tell you to perfect your training session and push you past your plateau. Even if it ends up sitting in your drawer for months, it won’t be too great of a financial investment to waste. Beware though, as the Moov Now will probably be yelling at you from the drawer, telling you to let it out so you can get some exercise.
4. Under Armour SpeedForm Gemini 2 Record-Equipped
In case you were worried that you wouldn’t be able to smart-ify your entire wardrobe, Under Armour has you covered with their SpeedForm Gemini 2 Record-Equipped pair of shoes. That’s a whole lot of syllables for one title, but thankfully it’ll only be necessary to speak them upon purchase. At $149.99, these high tech kicks are surprisingly affordable compared to other smart gear on the market. Like most of the tech on this list, the Under Armour SpeedForm Gemini 2 Record-Equipped shoes (we spent our whole lunch break typing that) connect to your smart devices with bluetooth, and all of its functions are visible through the app on your screen. Actually, only one of the shoes is equipped with smart technology. This doesn’t make the other shoe stupid, it just makes it a little less special. Anyway, now your shoes can track, process, and save your workout data, analyzing workout duration, cadence, distance, and splits. We live in a world where our shoes are giving us personalized, accurate data. Of this, we are awed and extremely grateful.
While Thync is the mind-altering bit of wearable tech that boosts the areas in the brain that provide energy or relaxation, Muse is the brain sensing headband that focuses specifically on meditation. Muse represents the merging of both the spiritual and technological spheres. This innovative product promises to help you improve your meditation practice with a simple 3-minute commitment per day, at any time or place (though, preferably, some place calm and quiet — don’t go meditating in the metro). Simply sync the headband to your Bluetooth, and follow the meditation instructions on the app. Much like a heart rate monitor keeps tracks of a heartbeat, the sensors in the Muse headband (of which there are 7 — 2 behind the ears, 2 on the forehead, and an additional 3 reference sensors) keep track of your brain activity, allowing the headband to give you constant feedback on your meditation progress through the app.
2. XMetrics Pro
Any hardcore swimmers reading this article should definitely look into the XMetrics pro. An awesomely futuristic swimming accessory, the XMetrics Pro provides detailed feedback on essentially everything that your body goes through when busting out those laps. It’s worn on the back of your head as you swim, which is a quite welcome concept. Other swim gear in the past has used wristband technology to keep track of a swimmer’s progress. As you can imagine, having to check one’s wrist every so often while swimming would go a long way in breaking the flow of a lap. With the XMetrics Pro, no flow is broken, as the swimmer receives real-time audio feedback while they’re swimming. After completing their circuit, the swimmer can check in on the app to verify pretty much all aspects of their swim performance data, which includes the number of strokes per lap, stroke rate, distance per stroke, stroke efficiency, and more.
1. Apple Watch Series 2
No list containing 15 entries of cool wearable tech would be complete without an Apple Watch thrown in there, so we opted to throw one in there. The Apple Watch Series 2 performs all the tasks of a smart watch with Apple’s trademark reliability. To name some of its many features: built-in GPS, heart rate sensor, 50 metre water resistance, and a comprehensive workout application. It improves over the Apple Watch that preceded it by featuring a display that’s two times brighter than the first, as well as a new super fast dual-core processor. Its advanced activity tracker tracks achievement, allows for activity sharing, and features coaching, all cool little digital gizmos to keep you motivated to stay active. The Apple Watch Series 2 helps keep you healthy while looking ultra tech-y and much cooler than everyone else on the street. We want one and we want it right now.