Wearable Electronics

Carl Zeiss Takes on Smart Glasses

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Carl Zeiss Takes on Smart Glasses

Customers interested in the possibilities of smart eyewear, yet refuse to look slightly too dorky? Carl Zeiss might have a solution at CES 2016 as it presents a "Smart Optics" system looking like, well, regular glasses.

The system packs the components making the glasses smart (such as battery and processor) in the arms of the frame. Meanwhile a tiny OLED display projects images on a "fresnel structure" attached to the glass lenses via polycarbonate/mirror "light path" acting as a prism.

The result, as the company puts it, has wearers view augmented reality and app projections as a "flying screen" in front of their eyes, not as a projection into the eye. The data field position can be customised by both customer and application in question, and the technology can fit a variety of lens styles and sizes.

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Better Fitness Tracking With Mio Slice

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Better Fitness Tracking With Mio Slice

Mio Global promises a better kind of fitness tracker at CES 2016-- the Slice, a wearable using a new metric for physical activity called the Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI) index.

Based on the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (aka the HUNT Study, a long-term study involving 60000 people), the PAI index drops the "10000 daily steps" rule taken in favour of a personalised score based on age, gender, resting heart rate and maximum heart rate. The actual hardware tracks steps, heartrate, distances, calories burned and sleep like other fitness trackers, before working out a supposedly more customised health score.

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Apple Watch Force Controls Flying Drone

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Apple Watch Force Controls Flying Drone

Taiwanese researchers at PVD+ turn the Apple Watch into a remote control, giving users Force-like powers allowing them to pilot drones and switch lights on/off via hand gestures.

A video shows the simple hand gestures one needs to use to control a Parrot AR Drone 3.0, with the Apple Watch converting hand gestures into control signals.

"Previously we've needed complicated controls to fly drones, but now we can use a wearable device, and through human behavior and gestures directly interact with them-- using a hand to control and fly drones directly," PVD+ lead researcher Mark Ven tells Reuters.

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GoPro Cameras Get Watch Control

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GoPro Cameras Get Watch Control

The iOS GoPro app gets an update complete with wrist-based camera control via the Apple Watch, as well as enhanced image capturing and sharing on the rest of the iDevice portfolio.

Watch users can preview GoPro camera shots, toggle between capture modes, start/stop recording and add HiLight Tags to videos. More advanced functionality remains reserviced for the iPhone and iPad, and the company says "nearly everything" should be viewable on iOS, including high-FPS video previews.

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IDC: Q3 2015 Apple Watch Shipments Total 3.9m

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IDC: Q3 2015 Apple Watch Shipments Total 3.9m

According to IDC Q3 2015 global wearable device shipments total 21 million units, a 197.6% increase from the 7.1m units shipped in Q3 2014 thanks to strong Apple and Xiaomi performance.

Apple comes 2nd in the Q3 2015 wearable vendor top 5, with shipments reaching 3.9m units and 18.6% market share. China's Xiaomi follows closely behind with shipments reaching 3.7m units, while Fitbit remains on top as it ships 4.7m devices to grab 22.2% market share.

In 3rd and 4th place are Garmin and China-exclusive vendor XTC.

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Swatch Partners With Visa in Wearable NFC Payments

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Swatch Partners With Visa in Wearable NFC Payments

Swatch partners with Visa in mobile payments, as Visa-owning customers in the US, Switzerland and Brazil can tap and pay via "pay-by-the-wrist" watch, the Swatch Bellamy.

First announced for the Chinese market back in October, the Swatch Bellamy does not actually qualify as a smartwatch-- the only "smart" component inside the wristwatch is the NFC chip handling contactless payments, otherwise it looks and performs like any regular Swatch watch.

That said, the Bellamy does confirm with the Swatch plan for more not-so-smart wearables. As CEO Nick Hayek put it back in February 2015, “we are not going to transform and put the mobile phone on the wrist. Let the others do it. Samsung did it, Sony did it, everybody does it.”

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HP, Movado Team Up in Analogue Smartwatch

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HP, Movado Team Up in Analogue Smartwatch

Swiss watchmaker Movado enlists HP to create a smartwatch-- the Bold Motion, a round-faced analogue-style timepiece packing hidden HP-built connected guts.

The Bold Motion connects to smartphones via Bluetooth, and alerts users to emails, texts, phone calls, social media updates and calendar appointments through a combination of subtle vibrations and glowing LEDs. Thus users cannot cannot check, never mind answer, messages through the watch, avoiding the need to deal with a shrunken-down wrist-mounted touchscreen.

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Sony Crowdfunds ePaper FES Watch

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Sony Crowdfunds ePaper FES Watch

Sony releases the first fruit of its First Flight crowdfunding program-- the "FES Watch," an wristwatch featuring ePaper technology in the band as well as the face.

Developed by Sony subsidiary Fashion Entertainments the FES Watch is, strictly speaking, a regular timepiece, meaning it only tells the time. However the ePaper construction allows for a variety of custom wristband patterns (24 in total) users can change via wrist  gestures.

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TAG Heuer Presents Connected Smartwatch

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TAG Heuer Presents Connected Smartwatch

The TAG Heuer-Google-Intel partnership presents first fruit-- the Connected (yep, that's the name) smartwatch, a device modeled after classic Carrera wristwatches, only with smarter innards.

The Connected is fairly large, with a face 46.2mm in diameter and 12.8mm across. The case and bezel are in titanium while the rubber strap is in vulcanised rubber, and the device is IP67 rated.

The innards come courtesy of Intel (specifically an Atom Z34XX processor) meaning the devices loses the "Swiss made" status of other TAG Heuer offerings. It also has a 360x360 resolution LCD touchscreen, 410mAh battery promising 25 hours of use and 4GB of storage. The OS of choice is Android Wear, as tricked out with special watchfaces and a golf tracking app.

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Canalys: Apple Watch Shipments Total 7 Million

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Canalys: Apple Watch Shipments Total 7 Million

Apple Watch shipments total "nearly" 7 million units since launch, Canalys reports-- making Apple the smartwatch market champion, since the figure exceeds the combined shipments from all other vendors over the previous 5 quarters.

Apple is also the only company to ship over 300000 units in Q3 2015. The quarter saw the launch of the Pebble Time Steel, a device helping Pebble ship over 200000 smartwatches, while Samsung Gear shipments declined ahead of the Q4 2015 Gear S2 launch. Still, Canalys describes the smartwatch market as vendors trying to catch up with Apple, even with the likes of Fossil and Tag Heuer setting to reveal the first of such devices before 2015 ends.

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The Rufus Cuff "Wrist Communicator"

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The Rufus Cuff

The Rufus Cuff might look like an oversized smartwatch, but don't call it that in front of Rufus Labs-- not when it prefers to call the device as nothing less than a "wrist communicator."

Designed to make (supposedly) better use of wrist real estate, the Rufus Cuff features a 3.2-inch display, TI Cortex A9 processor, 16/32/64GB storage, GPS, wifi and a 1175mAh battery. It runs on Android Kit Kat and offers fitness tracking features similar to other such devices through accelerometer, gyroscope and compass, as well as any number of smartphone apps and features.

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