Calling the shots: 10 women leading the way in wearable tech

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Ayse Ildeniz, VP New Devices Group, Intel

A feature for wearable technology website Wareable on the ladies that are shaping the future:

Here at Wareable, we’ve already argued as to why we need more smartwatches designed for women, so it’s encouraging to see that an increasing number of female CEOs, designers and influencers setting the wearable agenda are female. Obviously it’s not just women that are emerging as the leaders of the wearables pack, but it does appear to be area of tech with a noticeably large number of females calling the shots. This is important, not just in terms of levelling the playing field in the traditionally male-dominated world of tech, but it also ensures that female consumers aren’t fobbed off with ‘unisex’ products that are clearly designed with only men in mind. So without further ado, we list the ladies flying the flag for wearable tech:

Isabelle Olsson Senior Industrial Designer, Google isabelle-olsson-2-1416486435-hKma-column-width-inline

While it has yet to hit the mass market, it’s fair to say that Google Glass is one of the most talked about products in the wearable tech sphere, perhaps the entire tech world. It was Isabelle Olsson who was tasked with the job of the making the original clunky Glass prototype both comfortable and attractive to look at, defining the look of the most recognisable wearable around. Olsson grew up in Sweden where she studied fine art and industrial design and also worked on Samsung TVs and the Nook Color ereader before joining Google.

Liz Bacelar Founder & CEO, Decoded Fashion liz-bacelar-copy-1416486484-AFnT-column-width-inline

Bacelar founded Decoded fashion back in 2011 with the goal of bringing together tech founders and ‘decision-makers’ in fashion beauty and retail through dedicated events. An Emmy-nominated CBS news producer, Bacelar was quick to spot the the natural correlation between fashion and technology and argues that designers need to embrace tech, not just from a design angle but also when it comes to mobile, commercial and social strategies. While not started as a women’s initiative, Decoded has become a popular platform for pitches from female-led tech startups.

Camille Toupet Designer, June camille-toupet-1416486986-wRQ8-column-width-inline

Independent french jewellery designer Camille Toupet was responsible for the look of June – a bracelet with a gem-like stone that incorporates a sensor to monitor sun exposure. The wearable was announced at CES 2014 by Neatatmo, better known for its smart thermostat. The wearable pairs with an iOS app to keep you posted on how much sun you’re getting, what SPF you should be wearing and when to don a hat or sunnies. With Toupet having previously collaborated with luxury fashion brands Louis Vuitton and Harry Winston, she has blazed a trail for high-end designer input into wearable design, something we’re likely to see even more of in 2015…

You can read the rest of the article at Wareable (originally published 20 November 2014).

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Why we need more smartwatches designed for women

1128-4085d82021ac12c8436778dee217bb51While a lot of smartwatches claim to be unisex, most of them are clearly geared towards men – something that becomes obvious when you see how comically large they look when worn by women.

This isn’t a complete surprise, as smartwatch technology is still relatively new and men traditionally make up the bulk of early adopters.

However, according to Ofcom’s 2013 Omnibus Survey, a whopping 48% of smartphone users are female, so if smartwatch makers ignore them then they’re effectively ignoring almost half of their potential buyers.

And with recent Juniper Research data telling us that there will be 100 million smartwatch users worldwide by the end of 2019, brands need to take note.

Russell Feldman, YouGov’s director of technology and telecoms, explained: “Wearables are set to grow markedly over the next 18 months. Presently only early adopters own them but as the range of products expand, more consumers will come on board.

“The market will reach its first critical mass over the next year-or so, moving it from niche to more mainstream. So the next wave of wearable owners will be the key group for device manufacturers, retailers and ecosystem partners.”

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While smartwatches are tipped to take off in a big way in the near future, most of the products we’ve seen so far from major tech brands have been ugly as hell. They’re certainly improving – step forward Moto 360 and LG G Watch R – but there’s still some way to go.

What we need to see is more fashion brands and traditional watch makers like Casio, Swatch and Omega getting on board, with designs that look like watches and not what how tech brands thing they should look (usually, chunky, rectangular and absolutely massive). We’ve already seen a few nods in the smart direction, like Casio’s Bluetooth-enabled G-Shock, but not really any true smartwatches.

Obviously style is an important issue for 21st century gent, just as it is for the ladies, but with most tech products designed for men first, the makers need to address this…

You can read the rest of the article at Wareable (originally published 20 October 2014).

Wearables in space

Space selfie by Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide

Space selfie by Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide

From the famous Mercury Seven astronauts to the spacemen and women on the ISS, what these pioneers wear is absolutely critical when it comes to coping with life at Zero-G.

Much of the technology that Nasa develops for space flight eventually makes it into the products that we all use here on Earth, but what about wearables in space? We’ve pulled together some of the space-aged kit that astronauts wear in space and a few things they might wear in future…

Space watch

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While the first watch to make it into space was a Sturmanskie, worn by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the official watch of the Apollo moon landings was the Omega Speedmaster. But it was the Timex Datalink that was arguably the first smartwatch in space as it was also the very first watch capable of downloading information from a computer.

Made in conjunction with Microsoft, the watch has been approved by Nasa for space travel and has been worn by many astronauts since, but the Speedmaster remains the only watch certified for spacewalks.

Health monitoring

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Wearable health monitors have been a big part of human spaceflight from the start, with all of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts wearing biosensors ranging from a belt-like harness to a full biosuit comprising heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure monitors.

Nasa recently tested out Google Glass and Bluetooth heart rate monitors during simulated space walks on its Neemo (Nasa Extreme Environment Mission Operations) underwater facility for potential use on the ISS in future.

GoPro

Space selfie by Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide

Space selfie by Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide

Action cam specialist GoPro was named ‘official on-board camera of Nasa’ in 2011. Used by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS), and famously by Felix Baumgartner in his epic space jump, the brand’s Hero 3 is compatible with a huge selection of mounts, ideal for keeping the action steady in zero gravity.

This spectacular selfie was above was snapped outside the ISS by Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide…

You can read the rest of the article at Wareable (originally published 28 September 2014).