Today In Wearable Tech: A Mind-Reading Bike Helmet, A Vibrating Ring and A Different Kind of ‘Naked Dress’

Today In Wearable Tech: A Mind-Reading Bike Helmet, A Vibrating Ring and A Different Kind of 'Naked Dress'
x.pose turns increasingly transparent the more data you share.

“Wearable technology,” better known as that thing everyone gets really excited about but no one actually wants, is still very much a Big Deal, if only in the few small circles of engineering, design, fashion and of course, media who report on these sorts of things. It is especially a Big Deal here in New York, a mecca for all those special small circles and the host of an infinite number of social and economic problems that “wearable tech” often promises to solve. Enter three NYC-based wearable tech projects: a bike helmet that literally reads your mind to create cool routes, a giant cocktail ring that vibrates when your phone does, and a 3D-printed garment that turns increasingly transparent the more you use your smartphone.

To help you sift through this information, we’ve helpfully explained them via categories such as “What Sorcery Is This” and “How Many Bitcoins Or Whatever Is It”:

What Sorcery Is This
Basically, MindRider is a big-ass bike helmet that “translates your mind’s engagement levels through a comfortable soft sensor embedded in the helmet’s foam,” (i.e. there are no needles sticking into your head, something I feel should be stated very clearly here) and can tell whether you’re super relaxed and meditative or focused and attentive. Then, it plots this data onto a map of your ride, which you can view at the end of your trip.

Why It’s Cool
Well, was designed by two bike-riding Brooklynites (what other kind is there?). But the coolest part of MindRider is that it uses all the data to plot massive maps of the city that can then tell riders where to ride if they’re looking for a more relaxing experience or a high-intensity one.

Why It’s Lame
You will be forced to look like this:

K, But Like, How Many Bitcoins Or Whatever Is It
MindRider is still in its early stages, and according to their Kickstarter page, donors won’t receive the actual MindRide helmet until December 2015. To reserve yours, you’ll have to donate at least $190, which means the helmet, once marketed, will probably cost even more than that.

What Sorcery Is This
It’s a ring, or “smart jewelry” with a gemstone containing a circuit board that links to your smartphone and alerts the wearer to calls, texts and notifications through either vibrations or flashes of light.

Why It’s Cool
It’s actually pretty:

Plus, you can customize the flashing colors of light for a particular app or phone contact.

Why It’s Lame
Aren’t we over startups just throwing the suffix -ly on their name and expecting us to think it’s cute?

K, But Like, How Many Bitcoins Or Whatever Is It
They’re $145 each, but only if you order super soon. Once they come out in the fall, prices will go up about $50.

What Sorcery Is This

It’s a 3D-printed (if you’re already lost, just ignore that) garment made of flexible mesh that changes in its opacity to “expose a person’s skin as a real-time reflection of the data that the wearer is producing.” There’s a mobile app and server that collect data from the wearer, which is also affected by her location: “If she is in the NYU neighborhood, that area will be the most active, pulsing, revealing her current location, revealing the fact that her data is being collected and at the same time exposing her skin.”

Why It’s Cool
x.pose is actually art—it was the thesis project of a student at NYU’s ITP grad program and is a commentary on contemporary Internet culture: “Individuals carrying smartphones and connecting with services such as Google or Facebook have agreed, often without conscious consideration, to policies that grant these service providers explicit rights to harvest and utilize personal data on a massive scale.” Also, it’s quite clearly a Hot Person-only kind of thing:
Why It’s Lame
“Wearable” is used loosely here. It’s basically like saying the wardrobe of Lady GaGa is “wearable.” Technically, yes, but…

K, But Like, How Many Bitcoins Or Whatever Is It
You can’t really buy x.pose, since it’s not exactly being marketed. But since it’s 3D-printed, that means it’s re-createable. If you’ve got like, a billion hours. And probably some bitcoins.

Follow Rebecca Jennings on Twitter @rebexxxxa


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