Design

Researchers Guide to Wearables

Apps for Ecological Momentary Assessment are rapidly changing the manner in which psychology and behavioral health research is conducted. Close behind this wave of development is the use of wearable technologies in the same fields. This is a guide for researchers wishing to augment self-report EMA data with objective data collected from wearable devices and engage in some form of ambulatory assessment. There are five main health metrics that can be reliably captured by current wearable devices, all of which can…

ScienceTechnology

Wearables go niche and narrow in the search for consumer relevance

Wearables are looking for commitment. Manufacturers know that consumers discard many activity trackers within a year of purchase, and it seems that no advances in actual technology are helping new wristbands stand out. So instead of trying to chase established general-purpose fitness trackers such as those from Jawbone and Fitbit, the manufacturers we saw at CES 2015 were much more focused on niche use-case scenarios, hawking purpose-built wearables for marathon runners, basketball players and even stressed-out cubicle workers. Vendors are clearly hoping that people will…

Technology

Samsung’ phone-free Gear S smartwatch gets U.S. launch details, requires a service plan

Samsung's standalone Gear S smartwatch will launch in the United States starting November 7, but the service won't come cheap. Unlike Samsung's other smartwatches, the Gear S can make calls, send text messages and access the Internet without a paired smartphone. As such, wireless carriers are treating it like any other connected device, with its own service plan. AT&T and Sprint are both charging $10 monthly access fees for Gear S service, though Sprint says it will waive the charge…

Design

HP and Michael Bastian enter wearables discreetly with a stylish, semi-smart watch

HP and Michael Bastian are betting that style trumps substance for their first smartwatch collaboration. The MB Chronowing is a 44mm stainless steel watch for men. It has a monochrome LCD display, but with a metallic ring in one corner that encircles a small clock face. The rest of the screen is dedicated to tidbits of information from a paired iPhone or Android phone, while indicators for battery and connectivity sit just outside the right edge of the screen. The…

Technology

Wednesday night Microsoft confirmed what we all expected

Wednesday night Microsoft confirmed what we all expected—that it too, has a smartwatch that it wants you to wear 24/7, for work and for play, called the Microsoft Band. Looking as much like a hospital bracelet as anything else, the $200 Microsoft Band features a rectangular, 320 x106 TFT display that hovers over your wrist. Sensors—a continuous optical heart monitor, GPS, UV sensor, and more—track your activity while on the move and at rest, and send the data to what…

Science

Peering into the future of displays: Holographic glasses, 3D screens abound at CEATEC

Konica Minolta thinks it has something unique to add to the emerging smart glasses field—holographic know-how. The photocopier maker is showing prototypes of glasses that project holographic images at the Ceatec 2014 tech expo outside Tokyo this week. The glasses feature what the company calls a holographic optical element (HOE), a transparent film that sits on the right lens of the glasses while a bulky, cylindrical electronics module lies on top of it. A relatively large battery unit is connected…

DesignScienceTechnology

Even with Google Glass, texting while driving is still unsafe

Texting while driving with Google Glass might seem safer than typing on a smartphone, but it's actually just as much of a distraction, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Central Florida set up a driving simulation in which test subjects had to slam the brakes to avoid hitting the car in front of them while simultaneously trying to send text messages. The test found no significant difference in reaction time between drivers who dictated messages with Glass and…

DesignTechnology

Sony releases SmartEyeglass developer kit

Sony has launched an SDK (software development kit) for its SmartEyeglass head-mounted display, another step toward challenging Google Glass. The glasses can connect to Android smartphones via Bluetooth and project green monochrome text or basic graphics across a field within the lenses. Sony said it will begin sales of the eyewear to developers by March 31, the end of its fiscal year. They will be sold in Japan, the U.S. and some European countries. The Developer Preview SDK includes an emulator, tutorials,…