Top 10 pieces of wearable technology

Companies are taking their gadgets out of pockets and incorporating them into clothing instead

Skateboarder wearing portable speaker

The days of carrying your gadgets and gizmos in your pockets are quickly coming to a close. On the horizon – technology that you can wear. There are already some gadgets, like our Bluetooth portable speakers, which have long been established as wearable tech, but there are other companies like, say, Apple with their expected iWatch, that are just now throwing their hats into the ring for this hot new market.

Here are 10 wearable pieces of technology that are either already on the market or are scheduled to soon hit the shelves that you should definitely know about.

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Headphones play music depending on wearer’s mood

New audio technology unveiled at SXSW

Interesting concept by Neurowear — the company has unveiled new headphones called “Mico” which play music based on the wearer’s mood.

Mico headphones

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Inflatable earbuds make for a better fit

Simple solution to annoying problem

Asius earbuds

Try this on for size — inflatable earbuds that are guaranteed not to pop out.

Inflatable earbud

Asius Technologies presented this solution at the just-concluded International CES show in Las Vegas (which was also the site of some shenanigans being pulled by the makers of the world’s best portable speaker — but I digress). While they might look like mini airbags, what they lack for in style they make up for in the form of some pretty-damn-cool technology. You see, the strong yet flexible Gore-Tex earpieces are able to inflate time and again in accordance with the sound pressure created by one’s listening device.

This means the buds themselves possess the ability to shift their shape as one’s ear canal changes—this could be during a yawn, while chewing, or naturally, as an individual grows. They’re essentially moldable earbuds that fit more easily and effectively than anything Apple or the Beats by Dre clan has put out in the last few years.

How inflatable earbuds work

The result is not only a better grip in your ears, it also makes for better sound by eliminating outside noise that would otherwise creep in through the crevices created by an unnatural fitting earbud.

Durability’s not an issue either — the prototype the group created has already lasted two years with constant inflating / deflating.

Also, beyond listening to music, the earbuds can be used for hearing aids and for performance artists at concerts or shows, where they’re a bit more physically engaged in moving around the stage.

From one group of audiophiles to another, nice work Asius!

Phone attachment eliminates need for all other portable gaming consoles

Gamepad can be used by itself or be attached to phone directly

PhoneJoy Play gamepad

GENIUS ALERT!

You’re looking at PhoneJoy Play—a compact gamepad that gets attached to one’s phone, connects via Bluetooth, and instantly turns the device into a portable gaming console.

PhoneJoy closed

PhoneJoy open

PhoneJoy with phone

The controls copy traditional gaming controllers and are able to work with iPhones, iPads, Android, and PC products, giving you the option to either clamp the device to your smartphone for instant gaming wherever you are, or otherwise be clamped together and instead used as a standalone controller with your tablet or computer (Bluetooth 3.0 extends 30 feet).

Kid playing with PhoneJoy

The folks behind PhoneJoy believe that touch controls hurt — not help — a lot of games nowadays. That’s what inspired them to create this device. It’s small, measuring 102mm x 87mm x 37mm closed and 255mm x 87mm x 37mm open, and it’s lightweight, too, at just 250g, so it’s not a bother to carry around.

PhoneJoy fits into pocket

PhoneJoy Play has a long lasting battery (20 hours) and is also fairly inexpensive: listed on Kickstarter — like a certain popular portable speaker I know of — those who pledge $60 get their very own PhoneJoy Play. Not bad when compared to the astronomical prices of some of the other portable game consoles out there.

How to drive your cat around the house

Designer comes up with innovative way to entertain feline companion

Cat driving a car

Sam Brenner is a cat owner and also a pretty smart dude. For his final ITP project at school, he came up with the novel concept “Cat Car.” Basically, it allows owners to “drive” their cat around the house using a steering wheel.

Cat Car by Sam Brenner

When the user turns the wheel, they are controlling a laser pointer that the cat follows.

I know, not exactly groundbreaking, but some pretty funny / cool stuff here.

The pointer gets attached to a harness worn by the cat, so it’s comfortable. This was a major focus of the project: “The safety and well-being of the cats involved was my top priority in testing this project,” Brenner said.

The way it works is fairly simple and involves three main components: an Arduino, gyroscope / accelerometer, and an XBee for wireless communications. Steering wheel movements control a servo on the back of the cat which, in turn, moves the aforementioned laser pointer around and encourages the cat to follow its path.

Cat car with laser pointer

Brenner said that he intends for the device to be, more or less, an exercise toy for his cat. Regardless of purpose, it’s entertaining.

Enjoy video of the cat car below: