11 Nov Weekly Wearables RoundUp:Emporio Armani Connected, Nanogenerators, Microsoft Band 3, Bitwalking and Misfit

1. Emporio Armani brings out its first wearable smartwatch

Giorgio Armani S.P.A. is an Italian fashion house founded by Giorgio Armani which designs, manufactures, distributes and retails haute couture, ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes, watches, jewelry, accessories, eyewear, cosmetics and home interiors. Stepping out of its clothing line shell and it is making its way into the hottest industry right now, the wearable tech industry, with its newest line of hybrid smartwatch dubbed as “Emporio Armani Connected.

The newest line of Emporio Armani Connected smartwatches is not your usual smartwatch as it lacks a few of the capabilities that you can find with the others in the market right now. However, even with these shortcomings the Armani watches has the most useful and much needed features that consumers are looking for. This smartwatch line is supported by Bluetooth technology which allows the device to pair, sync and integrate with other gadgets. The smartwatch can act as a remote control for your smartphone’s camera as well as your handy control for your music. Aside from altering the way you connect with your smartphone, the Emporio Armani Connected smartwatch also boast sleep pattern monitoring, alarm features, smartphone location finder and a notification system via vibration once the user’s smartphone receive emails or messages.It is also being stated that the smartwatch will give the precise time-telling and can shift between two different time zones.

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The Armani smartwatch will be powered by a quartz battery which will last longer as compared to traditional smartwatches which relies on lithium-ion batteries. However, while the quartz battery means that it will last longer than the lithium-ion battery it also mean that the user will not be able to recharge the battery once the power is drained. Replacing the quartz battery is the only solution once the smartwatch has ran out power. This could spell as a major inconvenience for users even with the reported six months juice life for the quartz battery.

As a fashion brand, Emporio Armani Connected smartwatch packs a punch when it comes to style with fashionable and different color to choose from like black, gunmental, rose gold and still finish. The users can also decide between a leather wrist strap or a three-piece link strap. Stay tuned for more updates and latest news on Emporio Armani Connected smartwatch.

2. Self Powering Wearable Technology

Smart clothes and wearable monitors have the potential to do more than exicting users and their friends; they can monitor health, increase safety, and even turn your pants into a keyboard. Data gathered from health monitors can potentially be pooled and studied, offering new insight into our lifestyles, biology, and health conditions. Through wearable technology we may even find ways to interact with social media that support our face-to-face interactions instead of distract us from them. The possibilities are exciting, but there are technological hurdles that scientists and engineers are busy working to overcome. A big one is limited battery life.

In order to make wearable electronics practical for more applications by eliminating their reliance on batteries, an international team of scientists led by Zhong Lin Wang from the Georgia Institute of Technology designed a lightweight, easy to make, wearable fabric that can power electronics. The prototype fabric captures energy from the Sun and the motion of the person wearing the fabric, converts it into electricity, and then stores the energy.It functions like a charger and a battery all in one. Imagine if you could power your hearing aid, cell phone, or fitness tracker  just by taking a walk. That definitely beats a bulky battery pack that needs frequent charging.

The team has worked towards combining recent developments in solar cells that harvest energy from sunlight, nanogenerators that harvest energy from the motion of their environment, and supercapacitors that store energy. The key lies in using fiber-shaped solar cells and supercapacitors that are connected in such a way that they form a nanogenerator, a device that turns mechanical energy into electricity. One of the most promising features of this design is that it harvests energy from sunlight and from motion. Past research has demonstrated that you can self-power LEDs by integrating solar cells into fabric, but this only works if you have enough light. Anyone that has planned an outdoor wedding knows that relying on the weather to act in your favor without a backup plan is risky. The nanogenerator is like the tent of outdoor weddings. Together, these devices create a much more reliable power source.

Members of the research team have been working on this kind of hybrid energy harvester for several years, and with this paper they go as far as testing a prototype. After characterizing each of the three devices separately, the team weaved them into net-like patches. They attached the patches to a t-shirt. Tests of the power generated by someone wearing the t-shirt while participating in regular indoor and outdoor activities showed promising results. While this isn’t a ready-for-consumption technology yet, activity in the field of wearable technology indicates that self-powered clothing may not be too far away.

3. Microsoft Band2 failure toppled the release of Band3

Microsoft might delay the release of much awaited wearable device Band 3. There are reports that the failure of Microsoft’s Band 2 in the market is touted to be the main reason behind the scrapping of the Band 3. The device’s extreme pricing policy and hardware issues have reportedly resulted in its downfall and eventual withdrawal of the tech company from the smartwatch competition.

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Some agencies have reported that the Redmond-based company might not launch the third installment of the Microsoft Band as the earlier wearable did not fare well as expected in the global market. Reports stated that a few prototype images had surfaced earlier, which hinted that the technology giant was planning to unveil the Microsoft Band 3 with a tweaked design and different new functionalities like waterproofing, blood pressure tracking, and RFID support. It is being stated that the Band 3 was expected to feature a swim tile, which might have helped the customers to track their swimming sessions, and blood pressure statistics. However, no update from the company representatives has suggested that the wearable will not see the daylight. On the other hand, reports claimed that the company is planning to focus on the health and fitness-related gadgets and invest heavily in their research activities.

The company has recently unlisted the Microsoft Band 2 gadget from Microsoft store sites in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia. Also, it is suggested that the device will soon be removed from the company’s brick-and-mortar stores along with its development kit. Various faults in the company’s pricing decisions have purportedly led to the failure of Band 2. It is also being claimed that all the units of the smart band have been sold and the company has no plans to restart the manufacturing process. It is not clear as to why Microsoft has chosen to abstain from launching the Band 3 wearable. However, all reports are pointing towards the failure of the Band 2 in the global market.

4. Wearable gadget to direct your experiences at the amusement park

Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay water park, when it opens next summer, will have its guests wear a high-tech bracelet, called a  TapuTapu, which allows them to avoid long lines. The bracelet, Universal said, “will redefine the way guests experience water parks.” The bracelets will be issued to Volcano Bay guests as part of admission. Then, with what Universal describes as “a simple tap,” they can put themselves in a virtual line for the attraction of their choice while enjoying other portions of the park. When the time comes to board the ride, guests will be alerted by the bracelet, similar in some respects to the manner in which many restaurants alert diners that their table is ready.

The TapuTapu will also offer what Universal calls “tap to play” experiences throughout the park. As an instance, with a tap of the bracelet, guests will be able to trigger special effects such as shooting water cannons at guests on the park’s winding river ride. Along with the explanation on how it intends to offer Volcano Bay patrons an experience clear of long lines, Universal announced Thursday that tickets for Volcano Bay will go on sale Nov. 15. Universal revealed details about the ride that is destined to be Volcano Bay’s signature attraction. The Krakatau Aqua Coaster will be a trackless ride through the park’s 200-foot-high Krakatau volcano.

Guests will be propelled both downward and upward on canoes that twist and turn through the peaks, valleys and dark passageways. Universal has released the Volcano Bay Training Series for travel agents.

5. Bitwalking Partners with Misfit Launching Wearable Currency Mining Devices

Walking platform app Bitwalking and Misfit wearable devices have decided to team up to set a platform, enabling users to generate Walking Dollars (W$) through the Misfit devices. Designed by Nissan Bahar and Franky Imbesi, the United Kingdom based Bitwalking app was created to give users an incentive to become more active while earning W$ at the same time through the simple act of walking. By converting steps into digital currency, a step is worth the same value for everyone regardless of who they are or where they are.

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Now as the two team up, users will have the opportunity to mine their own W$ directly from Misfit wearable devices in the first wearable technology brand that has been Bitwalking certified. Nissan Bahar, CEO of Bitwalking, said that Misfit is at the forefront of movement tracking devices and an exciting partner for exploring how the Bitwalking world will look beyond traditional mobile devices. By linking with the Bitwalking platform, users can generate their own W$ using their fitness tracking device or smartwatch. Bahar said that this was a natural expansion for Bitwalking to embrace. This is another important vote of trust in the Bitwalking currency…creating a technology that walks with us and recognizes our human value.

By tapping into the fitness market it is hoped that more people will take advantage of what Bitwalking are offering at the same time getting people moving about. For those eager to get on board, they must wait until the Bitwalking update becomes available this winter for Misfit devices. Once the update is available, users will be able to connect their Misfit device directly with Bitwalking and report steps with no need to carry their smartphone anywhere they go, according to the Bitwalking team. Those who don’t have a Misfit device will soon be able to purchase them through Bitwalking’s in-app store. These can be purchased with their generated W$. The team, however, are confident that they will attract a large following by partnering with Misfit. Bahar said that users are demonstrating great interest in such partnerships and requests to team with other vendors are coming daily.