The fashionable future of wearable tech
Wearable technology has been the talk of the tech world since the invention of Google Glass. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we could ask our eyewear for the weather update or schedule a post to Facebook. Many companies like Google and Android, and even smaller companies are carving out their place in the wearable technology industry. These forward thinking tech giants have hardly scratched the surface of what is possible with mobile technology, which is why we’re getting excited about the continued exploration of wearable technology.
As the knowledge of tech continues to evolve, we continue to be dumbfounded by the possibilities of wearable tech. Let’s take a look at a two company’s that are introducing wearable tech for the first time, and a big announcement from Google to help appeal Google Glass to the masses.
Android just announced Android Wear, information that moves with you. Starting with a fashionable watch, the most familiar form of wearables, Android is dropping its proverbial hat in the wearable technology ring with this new technology. This watch goes beyond just telling time; it provides the user with the information they deem most useful when they need it the most.
According to the company’s blog, “Android Wear shows you info and suggestions you need, right when you need them. The wide variety of Android applications means you’ll receive the latest posts and updates from your favorite social apps, chats from your preferred messaging apps, notifications from shopping, news and photography apps, and more.”
Much like the popular Siri from Apple, Google’s new wearable will give users answers to questions. Simply saying “Ok Google” to ask questions, like how tall is Tom Cruise, or what time does my flight leave, provides the user with the answers right on their wrist. Users can also perform tasks with this fashionable watch, like sending a text, set an alarm or call for a taxi.
The new wearable also gives users the capacity to keep track of health and fitness goals. Android Wear provides reminders and fitness summaries. The company also states, “Your favorite fitness apps can give you real-time speed, distance and time information on your wrist for your run, cycle or walk.”
Google Glass is one of the first, and one of the most popular forms of wearable technology, setting the standard for other technology companies. Google just announced that it partnered with Luxottica, the parent company of Ray-Ban and Oakley, in hopes to make Google Glass more fashionable and in turn more appealing to the masses.
Andrea Guerra, CEO of Luxottica Group, said in a statement, “We now have both a technology push and a consumer pull for wearable-technology products and applications. We believe it is high time to combine the unique expertise, deep knowledge and quality of our Group with the cutting-edge technology expertise of Google and give birth to a new generation of revolutionary devices."
Google hopes that this shift in wearables will help non-tech oriented consumers take interest in Google Glass.
Wearable technology continues to focus on fashion-conscience consumers. Gone are the days of fashion eyesores for the sake of technology. Cuff a chic approach to personal safety, and is the best way to describe this fashionable line of necklaces, cuffs, and key chains. Each uniquely designed piece has a button that the user can push in case of emergency. Once the button is pressed, a group of friends and family that the user has preselected receives an alert, letting them know you need help. If they’re not wearing their cuff, no problem, the alert will go to their cell phone. If they are wearing their cuff, it will vibrate. The alert will send them your location and other important factors like allergies, medical history and insurance information.
What’s great about this? As personal safety gets harder and harder to maintain, this wearable technology could potentially start saving lives and bring a new and positive element to an otherwise scary world. This innovative idea keeps you and your loved ones safe and connected.
Wearable technology continues to work toward combining fashion and function. As we transition into a new age of technology, it’s exciting to see where the industry is going, as well as seeing how our daily life becomes easier and more organized because of wearable tech. One can’t help but picture James Bond talking into his cufflink at a disembodied voice. But we can expect a less geeky version of Google Glass, fashionable personal safety devices, and a chic line of watches that can help us organize our daily lives.
What will tech companies come up with next?
Dr Peng Wei: Designing the Future of Autonomous Aircraft
Air traffic is expected to double by 2037. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the world will need 37,000+ new passenger and freight aircraft, and more than half a million new pilots—unless we come up with another solution. Right now, a George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science professor, Dr Peng Wei, is starting to research autonomous electric aircraft design.
NASA will fund the research, which will study how to minimise risks for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL). As Airbus states: ‘Autonomous technologies also have the potential to improve air traffic management, enhance sustainability performance and further improve aircraft safety’.
Who is Dr Wei?
An assistant professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Dr Wei has researched aircraft control, optimisation, and AI and ML applications in aviation. Over the next three years, he’ll lead the US$2.5mn NASA grant project in collaboration with researchers from Vanderbilt, the University of Texas at Austin, and MIT’s Lincoln Lab.
Why is His Research Important?
Even though the wide adoption of self-piloting cars, much less aircraft, is still far down the road, technologies that Dr Wei and his colleagues are researching will form the commercial transport of the future. But aviation manufacturers, in order to produce autonomous aircraft, will have to meet extremely high safety standards.
‘The key challenge for self-piloting capabilities is how the system reacts to unforeseen events’, said Arne Stoschek, Wayfinder Project Executive at Acubed. ‘That’s the big jump from automated to autonomous’. In the air, AI-piloted aircraft will have to manoeuvre around adverse weather conditions, such as wind and storms, and other high-altitude risks, such as GPS hacking, cyberattacks, and aircraft degradation. And the stakes are high.
‘If a machine learning algorithm makes a mistake in Facebook, TikTok, Netflix —that doesn't matter too much because I was just recommended a video or movie I don't like’, Dr Wei said. ‘But if a machine learning algorithm mistake happens in a safety-critical application, such as aviation or in autonomous driving, people may have accidents. There may be fatal results’.
What Are His Other Projects?
In addition to the new NASA research, Dr Wei has been awarded three other grants to pursue AI-piloted aircraft:
- A 2-year grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in conjunction with West Virginia University and Honeywell Aerospace to investigate “learning-based” aviation systems
- A six-month SBIR Phase I NASA award with Intelligent Automation to mitigate airspace congestion at vertiports—the electric craft version of airports.
- A 1-year collaborative grant with the University of Virginia and George Mason University from the Virginia Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) to develop anti-cyber attack technologies and aviation video systems
Research like NASA and Dr Wei’s three-year programme will help improve how AI reacts and adapts to challenging air conditions. In coming years, autonomous aircraft will likely take off slowly, starting with small package delivery, then upgraded drones, and finally commercialised aircraft. But congestion issues will worsen until autonomous aircraft are the best alternative.
According to BBC Future, by 2030, commuters will spend nearly 100 hours a year in Los Angeles and Moscow traffic jams, and 43 cities will be home to more than 10 million people. The final verdict? Bring on the AI-operated transit.