Fashion gets techie

By Katherine Balestreri

Health, technology, and fashion are increasingly intertwined. No longer are cool “wearable” gadgets only for early adopters, James Bond and Batman. Earlier this summer, the Wearable Tech Conference brought together innovators in the world of fashion. One notable presenter was Joseph A. Paradiso, who is leading the wearable technology movement by inventing embedded sensing systems, sensor networks, and wearable body sensors.

And the conference’s huge success is driving more and more attention to high-tech products worn on the body. We still haven’t reached the status of “Jetson futuristic” clothing, but wearable technology certainly has come a long way since the time of Levi’s iPod jeans.
So much so that it’s surpassed clunky and chunky in favor of stylish and fashionable. Check some of the most notable wearable technologies:

    • Hövding Helmet– Two brilliant women, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, designed the innovative helmet while studying the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University in Sweden. From their own distaste for “bulky and impractical to carry around when you’re not on your bicycle” helmets, they worked for 7 years building the invisible helmet. Based on falling patterns of cyclists, sensors deploy an airbag that surrounds your head when abnormal movements are detected in the case of an accident. Not only are these helmets compliant with safety regulations, the women say, “They are subtle and blend in with what you are wearing. It’s got a great-looking yet subtle design, and it will save your life.”

    • UP by Jawbone– UP tracks your sleeping patterns, tracks your meals, and tracks your activity to inspire it’s wearer to live a healthier lifestyle. Using MotionX®, this durable, easy to wear, motion-sensing band combines fashion with technology in a very sleek design. It’s as trendy as the jewlrey and accessories one can find on the fall runways at fashion week.

    • Adidas Micoach bra– This jog bra combines tasteful, sporty comfort with sensor technology. The sensors in the bra monitor heart rate and calories burned during physical activity. Then the bra conveniently relays it to your Micoach app so you can track and monitor your progress all in style.

    • Google’s Project Glass– This revolutionary new eyewear, unveiled on June 27th, allows for a plethora of possibilities—taking pictures and streaming live video are just a few. These “glasses” include an Android-powered display, a Webcam, a GPS locator and an Internet connection node. Their design features clean lines and a modern feel. The next hope for Project Glass is that one day it can relay health information and even be used in medical practices. Some hope the device could be used in situations like surgery, where the doctor could communicate with other devices while in the OR.

According to Business Wire, the market for wearable devices will reach more than 100 million units annually by 2016 as a range of factors combine over the next five years to drive consumer and healthcare adoption.

And why not wear these devices in style? Right now most wearable health technology is in its beginning stages of development. But who knows what we have in store for the future— lets hope that blending fashion and technology is a match made in Style Heaven.