Wearable Tech World Feature Article
January 07, 2014

Wonder Woman, Xena and the Next Generation of Wearable Tech

The next category of wearable technology will be based upon the accessory form factors for female action heroes.  It sounds crazy, but we should see new products that look – and maybe feel – like Wonder Woman’s golden bracelets and Xena’s gauntlets.

Take a good look at the current crop of smartwatches in circulation.  Many of them could practically pass for bracelets with fat wristbands, incorporating battery and camera to supplement the large touchscreen display. An adjustable wristband seems more of an afterthought than a true solution.

Fixing a smart device into a solid bracelet offers a number of advantages.   Better protection and the potential for incorporating a seamless lithium polymer battery are two that come to mind. If you get bracelets about the size of Wonder Woman’s gold ones, there’s a lot of room for electronics and power.

But there’s also the appeal to fashion.  Wearable tech generation one is about figuring out how much and what type of functionality to cram into the most convenient form factor.  Future generations will focus as much on aesthetics – maybe this is what is taking Apple so long before it decides to play in the smartwatch arena.  Just yesterday, Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich said his company was working with Barneys New York on wearable tech. It won’t be too long before Samsung and other manufacturers team up with jewelry designers with products appearing beside wedding rings, charm bracelets and regular watches.

The desire for bigger wearable screens is already leading to the gauntlet form factor. Interestingly, Samsung and others are already moving in that direction with curved display technology – nobody wants to wear a big flat slab on the wrist.  A longer gauntlet form factor provides a big screen for web surfing, along with the extra battery power for the screen and high speed connectivity.  Smart gauntlets may serve a s a phone replacement, rather than a Bluetooth accessory akin to current smartwatch designs.  

When not in active use for web surfing or video (either the latest Netflix drama or a two way real-time chat), the display can either put up a simple background to “blend in” with the rest of the gauntlet or go into a flashy artistic mode designed to impress onlookers.    

Finally, there’s also some interesting territory with the power of two.  A pair of bracelets or gauntlets (or a mix for the true fashionista) would provide enough data points for two-handed, multi-gesture interface technology.   Put the wrists together to start an action without using voice commands – or to start voice commands – and tap them together again to close the action.   In combination with other software and platforms, bracelets and gauntlets could enable any number of applications cooked up by creative minds.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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