Five Wearable Pieces Of Technology

  • Five Wearable Pieces Of Technology

The age of wearable technology is here, and it doesn’t have to look like something out of a science-fiction movie, as these smart accessories prove. Here are five wearable pieces of technology we’ll be keeping on our wrists for the foreseeable future.

1. Armill

By Christophe & Co and Pininfarina

When the collaborators are British men’s high jewellery brand Christophe & Co and Pininfarina, the Italian coachbuilder best known for defining the way Ferrari cars look, one simply knows that the brainchild is going to be expensive. With a price tag of US$75,000 (S$101,000) on the lowest end and US$149,000 (S$205,680) on the highest, Armill has to be considered as more than a mere bracelet. Its creators, in fact, claim that it was conceived as a functional objet d’art.

Pininfarina has applied its expertise in automotive design to dream up a sleek and ergonomic form for this creation. Made slightly square to fit better on the wrist, Armill is also padded with leather covered memory foam on the inside for more comfort. The bracelet’s innermost structure is of carbon fibre and the outer layer, ceramic and 18k gold decorated with the customer’s choice of precious gems. Each bracelet can be sized to fit its owner perfectly, and also customised with hand-engravings. Probably the coolest feature would be the mini rotors that charge the batteries through the wearer’s motion, not entirely unlike the system used in automatic watches. If worn often, Armill may never require a wired charge.

Unfortunately, the technical specifications don’t quite match up to the sophisticated design. Armill isn’t the smartest bracelet one is going to find; it doesn’t track its wearer’s steps, count calories or show notifications. It does, however, link its owner via Bluetooth to a corresponding Christophe & Co phone app that gives access to a 24-hour concierge and invites to Armill-wearers-only events.

The company promises that future upgrades are in order, so it may only be a matter of time before Armill is able to track steps and show alerts like the majority of such devices in the market. Meanwhile, perhaps the concierge can be summoned to manually count those steps? |

2. Ungaro

By Emanuel Ungaro and Omate

Vaguely resembling a voluptuous seashell when worn on the finger, the Ungaro ring, designed by French fashion house Emanuel Ungaro, encompasses all that the brand is known for, namely, flamboyance and bold silhouettes. It was created in collaboration with Omate, a company that, until now, has specialised in designing smartwatches.

Perhaps due to its smaller size, Ungaro has limited functions; it is only capable of notifying the wearer of phone calls and messages from one contact. Omate’s clever marketing spiel turns this limitation into romance by calling Ungaro the link to the most important person in its wearer’s life. It connects to its owner’s phone via Bluetooth and vibrates when the chosen contact sends a message or calls. With such limited usage, the battery is estimated to last around five days with every charge. Made in Italy and offered in a gold or silver-plated finish, the centre stone comes in blue topaz, opalite, onyx, sapphire, and ruby. Prices range from US$500 (S$690) to US$2,000 (S$2,760). |

3. Tyia

By Viawear

Yes, it lights up when a notification comes in on your phone, it is linked to said phone via Bluetooth and it cannot function independent of the phone. In many ways, Tyia appears to be just another smart bracelet confounded by limitations. But it’s actually a little more sophisticated than that.

Creator Ben Isaacson has created a smart accessory that allows wearers to see only what they wish to see. Owners input keywords that they want the bracelet to react to with an alert, so only emails, text messages or calendar appointments containing the submitted words will cause the device to light up. It can be further customised with different vibration patterns to indicate level of importance. Available in 18k yellow and rose gold plating, silver and gunmetal with interchangeable black or brown single or double-wrap leather straps, the bracelet is topped with a quartz fused to a thin layer of mother-of-pearl backing. A diamond-embellished version designed by critically acclaimed jeweller Walter Adler Chefitz is in the works. Price for the latter is as yet unreleased.

4. Mica

By Intel and Opening Ceremony

It’s not a computer, but Mica is probably as close to one as a bracelet could get. For one, there’s Intel inside. On the outside, however, it’s all style – the accessory is, after all, designed by Opening Ceremony, which is known for its bold collaborations with the fashion industry’s trendiest names. Available in two versions, both priced at US$495, the bracelet comes in black snakeskin with pearls and lapis lazuli or white snakeskin with tiger’s eye and obsidian.

Mica stands for My Intelligent Communication Accessory and is one of the few – if not only – smart jewellery pieces that is able to function as a standalone device rather than a mere transmitter of notifications from a phone. For this, it is equipped with a functional screen – protected by sapphire crystal glass, no less – which sits discreetly on the underside of the wrist when the bracelet is worn. Just like on a smartphone, the screen displays emails, text messages and social media alerts, and it allows the user to reply to messages, too (albeit with a limited selection of pre-set responses). The device is connected to a mobile network by AT&T and comes with two years of wireless service. So yes – this makes it almost a smartphone, which is why every Mica bracelet comes with its own mobile number. |

5. Swarovski Activity Crystal

By Swarovski and Misfit

Smart accessory start-up Misfit has partnered with Swarovski to create Swarovski Activity Tracking jewellery collection, a line of smart accessories that is anything but a misfit. The key component in the device is the oversized Swarovski Activity Crystal (which we have reviewed), which can be mounted onto different bands and necklaces to be transformed into a fashionable bracelet, watch or pendant, whichever suits the mood.

Primarily a fitness tracker, the crystal comes with 12 lights around its circumference, much like a watch. A double tap on the crystal’s surface will cause the lights to illuminate, giving a quick summary of the day’s activity. For example, six out of 12 lights illuminated indicates that half the day’s fitness goal, which is set with the Misfit app, has been met. For a more detailed analysis, users simply remove the Activity Crystal from its wristband or chain to tap it on the indicated area in the appropriate section within the app to view the data recorded by the crystal. These include distance covered, number of steps taken, and calories burnt.

The accessory can be purchased in kits containing an Activity Crystal, a sports band, and a Slake bracelet (a crystal-studded wraparound bracelet) for S$280. Additional Slake bracelets in various colours can be purchased for S$150 each.

Share on

Published 20th June 2016