Wearable computer devices, the latest smart fashion trend

SAN FRANCISCO – The notion of being fashionably smart is getting a makeover as Internet-linked computers get woven into formerly brainless attire such as glasses, bracelets and shoes.

A wearable computing trend is at the heart of the “quantified self” movement, in which people track anything from how many calories they burn to how well they sleep or their moods at any given moment.

“We are heading for the wearable computing era,” Gartner analyst Van Baker said. “People are going to be walking around with personal area networks on their bodies and have multiple devices that talk to each other and the Web.”

Understandably, the trend has found traction in fitness with devices such as the Jawbone UP, Nike’s FuelBand and Fitbit keeping tabs on whether people are leading active, healthy lifestyles.

The devices use sensors to detect micro-movements and then feed information to smartphones or tablets, where applications analyze data and provide feedback to users.

San Francisco-based Jawbone jumped into wearable computing years ago, building electronic brains into stylish wireless earpieces and speakers for smartphones.

Jawbone recently added muscle to its lineup of fitness lifestyle devices with a deal to buy BodyMedia, which makes armbands used to track caloric burn of fat-shedding competitors on U.S. reality television show “The Biggest Loser.”

“There’s an enormous appetite for personal data and self-discovery among consumers that will only continue to grow,” said Jawbone chief executive and founder Hosain Rahman.

A Forrester Research survey conducted early this year found that 6 percent of U.S. adults wore a gadget to track performance in a sport, while 5 percent used a gadget like UP or Fitbit to track daily activity or how well they sleep.

Worldwide shipments of wearable computing devices could climb as high as 30 million units this year, Forrester said.

Interest goes beyond fitness to desire for things like a gadget that recommends films based on wearers’ moods and one that replaces keys when it comes to unlocking cars or homes, the survey indicated.

“It is just amazing,” said engineering professor Asim Smailagic, director of a wearable computer lab at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. “We will see an exciting future ahead.”

Smailagic began working on wearable computing at the university about 25 years ago, with projects including head-worn displays that serve up technical information when needed during aircraft maintenance.

Sophisticated and inexpensive sensors for tracking movement, sound, GPS locations and more combined with “killer apps” in powerful smartphones have set the stage for wearable computing to be commonplace, according to the professor.

“Contextually aware computers will be hot topics for at least the next decade,” Smailagic said. “They can help you when you need help, even to look smarter. Everybody likes to have the kind of help contextual computing can provide.”

Contextual computing goes beyond recognizing where someone is to factoring in other information such as whether it is lunchtime or if someone has shown a preference for a nearby restaurant.

“When you combine wearable computing with sensors and machine-learning algorithms, then you get context; the computer knows your state and is able to help out clearly in the situation,” Smailagic said.

He is confident Google Glass will be a hit despite privacy worries expressed about the yet-to-be-released Internet-linked eyewear with camera capabilities.

Google Glass connects to the Internet using Wi-Fi hot spots or, more typically, by being wirelessly tethered to mobile phones. Pictures or video are shared through the Google Plus social network.

“Wearable computing has to be unobtrusive, fit as a natural extension of your body, and not get in the way,” Smailagic said. “Google Glass is on the right path to solve these problems.”

The invention has been a hit with American tennis player Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who has been testing the special glasses as a training aid at this year’s Wimbledon.

Apple chief Tim Cook last month said he sees promise in computers shrunk down and worn like watches. He predicted there will be “tons of companies playing” in the wearable computing sector.

Pebble smart watches created by a startup recently began shipping to buyers.

The wearable computing craze has already spread to dogs, with startup Whistle introducing a pendant that tracks canines.

Whistle devices attached to dog collars or harnesses use movement-sensing accelerometers to track activity and even how well a pet is sleeping, then relay the information wirelessly to smartphones or Wi-Fi hotspots.

An online database built in collaboration with researchers and veterinary groups allows individual dog activity patterns to be scrutinized for hints that something may be amiss.


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Models need to be smart’

Candice Swanepoel says models need to be both smart and beautiful.


The Victoria’s Secret Angel thinks to succeed in the fashion industry a girl needs to have morethan just good looks and the smartest models she knows are those who have managed to turntheir names into a brand.

Candice told the Huffington Post: “Some of the smartest businesswomen I know are models.There are so many beautiful girls around that you need more than that. It’s really about beingsmart now and turning it into a business.”

The blonde admits models often get stereotyped for being dumb but insists it makes themstronger.

She added: “We grow a thick skin, so it’s OK.”

Models who have managed to turn their hand to business include Sports Illustrated cover girl ElleMacpherson, who launched lingerie line, Elle Macpherson Intimates, and has a range of beautyproducts called Elle Macpherson - The Body.

Brazilian fashion model Gisele Bundchen has her own line of flip-flop sandals, Ipanema, whichshe launched in 2001. Within three years, sales topped $30 million, with a portion of proceeds going to eco-friendly causes.



Irina Shayk: ‘Everybody Thinks Models Are Stupid, But Trust Me, We Are Very Smart’

So does Sports Illustrated cover model Irina Shayk actually follow sports, or does she just play along to humor her boyfriend, soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo? “I love sports,” she told us at last night’s Cinema Society screening of Our Idiot Brother. Can she follow what’s going on? “I do understand a lot, you know. Basketball, U.S. Open … I mean, everybody thinks models are stupid, but trust me, we are very smart.” She continued, “Just for you to know, people, models are very smart. We’re investing money in the right way, and, you know, a modeling job I’m taking as a businesswoman. So it’s not fun for me, it’s work.”

Speaking of, Shayk has been trying to take the current stock-market roller coaster in stride. “I’m very smart and I have a great team of people around me investing my money. I’m not buying gold — yet,” the model said, laughing. “I’m just collecting gold presents, which is more fun, actually, than buying gold.” Definitely smarter, too.


Candice Swanepoel: Models Need to Be Smart to Be Successful

Gorgeous, leggy and loved by the fashion world, Candice Swanepoel is clearly at the top of the modeling game. But in order for her to stay there, the South African star says brains and beauty are essential to success.
As a favorite among designers including Chanel, Stella McCartney, Donna Karan and Jean Paul Gaultier, the Victoria’s Secret Angel is no stranger to the spotlight, but in a recent interview with HuffPo Live, the stunner says you have to be a savvy businesswoman to truly make it in the industry.
WATCH: Candice Swanepoel defends thin frame
“Some of the smartest businesswomen I know are models,” she said. “There are so many beautiful girls around that you need more than that. It’s really about being smart now and turning it into a business.”
Indeed it is!
Just look at pretty powerhouses like Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Miranda Kerr, Cindy Crawford and Kate Moss who have all grown multifranchise empires around their modeling careers and continue to make major moola to this day.
NEWS: Candice Swanepoel wears revealing white mini dress
Now that’s the way to work it!
Candice, we can’t wait to see what else is in store for you.