Misfit Shine, available at the Apple store

This week, the Misfit Shine will join at least three other wearable products on Apple Store shelves, including the Jawbone Up, the Nike+ FuelBand and various versions of the Fitbit. Like the Fitbit Flex, the Shine will retail for $100. What makes it a successful design? Simple, classic design and materials that make it feel timeless and a really simple UX that adds meaning and value to our daily lives. Misfit's design constraint came down to power management. The circular shape wraps around a coin cell battery that they spent significant investment trying to get the device to last for a year. According to Misfit, it will last 4-6 months on one battery. Not a bad start!

I've been wearing my Misfit Shine for the past couple weeks and I must say, Sonny Vu and team have done a tremendous job making the device actually wearable. It's classic form and metal finish goes with just about anything, which makes it really easy to wear all day with any outfit, while sleeping, and even in the shower. Heck, I even wore it in the pool while taking my 8 month-old daughter swimming for the first time.

Read more about the Shine at the Apple store on All Things D.

Feel the rhythm of your music

Launching on Kickstarter, iMusic BodyRhythm is a wearable device that turns music rhythms into a physical experience. It works with an iPhone app and directly links to the playlists on your iPhone. You can feel the auto-sync beat of the music from your iPhone app, be your own drummer, and you can even shake your phone to feel the "air-drum" beat. When you're done, you can share your playlist with friends. Is this even a good idea? 

Engadget stopped by their booth at CES in Las Vegas this week to see for themselves. "There's a tinge of the As Seen on TVs about the iMusic, where a novel idea falls down in its execution. Naturally it's an early model, but the App doesn't do a good enough job picking out the beats of the song, syncopated and out of time with what you'd expect. On all but the highest setting, it's a little hard to feel the impact -- but maxing it out makes it feel less like a massage and more like randomized physical violence. Still, if you'd like to make a judgement for yourself, we've got the video for you, too." (Engadget)

What do you think about this product idea?

More info on Kickstarter, Engadget Image via Engadget


Goggles Measure Your Radness

Smith isn't the only company Recon is teaming up with this season. In fact, the HUD innovator has also packed its tech into goggles from the likes of Briko, Scott, Uvex and Alpina. But I got especially excited about Recon's newest collaboration with Oakley, one of the premier optics companies on the planet.

Just like the competition, the new Oakley Airwaves ($600) track your top speed, control your music, work with your Bluetooth-enabled Contour camera and measure your hang time while jumping. Also similar is the remote, a wristband with buttons large enough for puffy-gloved hands. The Airwave's tiny display sits below the main field of vision of your right eye, so the information is there without being obtrusive — important when you're flying down the mountain at 50 mph. If you have one or more Airwave-wearing friends on the slopes with you, tracking them is easy with a built-in buddy location system. Plus, when you plug in the goggles at the end of the day, all your stats are available on the Recon's Engage website.

Continue reading on wired Images from liquidiamgeco.com


An elegant, wireless activity tracker

New wearable tech kid-on-the-block, Misfits Wearables, has just launched a very promising new wearable device called Misfit Shine and they have already raised over $500K on funding site indiegogo. The small and beautiful device strikes the balance between usefulness, elegance and price (you can pre-order one for under a hundred bucks). According to the Misfit team "We aim to pioneer the emerging world of wearables, by making products and services in the consumer health and fitness space to inspire people be more active and develop healthy habits." (source)  This functional fashion statement does just that in a way that is elegantly integrated into your lifestyle. The device styling is a small rounded "pebble" that is meant to beautifully blend into your fashion statements. Couple it with an accessory to clip it anywhere on your body or wear it as a wristband in a way that is convenient and flexible to how you want to wear it.

The device interface is simple. Just tap it to get a summary of your activity displayed through a series of tiny led lights that gently illuminate the matte surface. Magical. And how do you make synching effortless? Simply touch it to your phone. No bluetooth, battery-consuming wi-fi, or bulky wires. Brilliant.

From an industrial design and device perspective, I  have yet to see a health and fitness device that is as elegant and wearable as this one (sorry Jawbone Up!). On the software side, the app covers basic fitness tracking, but what about motivational features that "get me going", "keep me going", and inspire me to keep coming back? I'd love to see concepts that, for example, rely on friends to keep you going (social networking integration similar to what nikeplus does), goal tracking, or clever game mechanics to keep me coming back. Hopefully, we'll see concepts like this added to the next version. Fingers crossed!

Aside from some missing feature concepts with the software experience, I am very excited about this new product and can't wait to see what else Misfit has up their sleeves.

Watch Misfit Wearables CEO, Sonny Vu, talk about his new Misfit Shine:

For additional information, read more about Misfit Shine at Gizmodo and Forbes. Images from indiegogo.



Kickstarter wearable technology roundup

From space suits to power laces, there are quite a few wearable technology products that are trying to get off the ground through Kickstarter. Here are some of my favorites that are either currently raising funds or have been successfully funded:

Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android

A Product Design project in Palo Alto, CA by Pebble Technology. There's a race towards the first successful mainstream smartwatch right now with products like WIMM, I'm Watch and a variety of others hitting the market. The Pebble is one of the most elegantly designed (so far) and has a few simple, but useful use cases. It also happened to get over $10 Million in funding after asking for only $100K...a good indicator for market desire. I have high hopes for this product.

Pants Interface: A Wireless Wearable Controller

An Open Hardware project in San Francisco, CA by rachel lyra hospodar. I'm a fan of independent designers and artists who are experimenting with new smart fabrics and eTextiles. The eTextile field is growing, but we still have yet to discover that "killer app" when it comes to technology-embedded clothing. Pants Interface is a nice exploration into the possibilities of different and more natural interactions that are embedded directly into the clothing we wear.

Spatial Computing III: The Home Theater System

An Open Software project in Astoria, NY by phedhex. There are a number of glove interfaces just on Kickstarter alone from gloves that turn your hands into gesture-based musical instruments to HCI-focused gesture-based input devices. With Spatial Computing III, you control your theater home system in a completely new way through the combination of simple hand gestures and 3D manipulation. Just add a pair of GoogleGlasses and, voila, you have Minority Report in your living room.

tōd:Connect Real World Actions to Mobile Devices and the Web

A Technology project in Lehi, UT by Rowdy Robot. tōd is a small wearable device that allows you to connect your mobile device to the world around you in a new ways in an "Internet of Things" sort of way. Attach or place a tōd Smart Beacon onto anything, anywhere you want to extend mobile device or web functionality. Or, you can interact with Smart Beacons placed by others that you are allowed to connect with. The use cases they describe are a little big-brother-ish, but I can imagine people getting pretty creative with the platform.

Remee - The REM enhancing Lucid Dreaming Mask

A Technology project in Brooklyn, NY by Bitbanger Labs. Competing with other sleep masks currently on Kickster, Remee is a nicely designed solution that is aimed to help you find and control your Lucid dreams. Who doesn't want to fly or become invisible? This product is just cool.

Browse for more projects or post your own on Kickstarter.

Google plans to launch augmented reality glasses

Google unveiled one of its secret projects from the Google X laboratory on Wednesday via its Google+ platform, called "Project Glass." Google's idea is this: In the future, we will be able to wear eyeglasses that let us interact with our surroundings in a completely new way. Using pieces of smart glass with a heads-up display (HUD), Google's wearable solution mixes communication technology like social networking, calling and texting, with real world elements like people, places, and things. Continue on International Business Times. According to TechCrunch, Apple and Facebook should be terrified of Google-Tinted glasses. "Google’s augmented reality eyewear is coming to disrupt your face and your business model. If you don’t even have to pull your phone out to take a photo, get directions, or message with friends, why would you need to buy the latest iPhone or spend so much time on Facebook?

It could be a year before Google eyewear reaches stores, but that’s why these and other tech companies need to strategize now. If they wait to see if the device is a hit, the world could be seeing through Google-tinted glasses by the time they adapt. Apple and Facebook’s bet might be to team up…

Despite its lack of hardware experience, Google is the best positioned company to make, or at least provide the software for eyeglass computers. It has Android, Google+, Maps, Gmail, Gcal, Latitude, and more. Glass might go belly up, but if not it could breathe life into some of these sluggish services." Continue reading on Techcrunch

Where's Microsoft in all of this?

From a design perspective, I worry about the aesthetics of both the hardware and the interface and the usefulness of the experience. Nobody sets out to look like a dork. If I am asked to wear it, it has to be beautiful. I have to want to wear it and I'm not convinced that they nailed it with this version of the design. And this concept has been around for decades. Why is this version better and does it really make me want to use it over my phone?

Image from International Business Times