Wearable technology can be a tough sell. It seems like most of the technology is forever fated to be hideously ugly and bulky. Most smartwatches look like a calculator strapped to your arm as if wearers just popped out of an old sci-fi flick. In order to deal with all the features necessary for the consumer market, the technology has grown large and awkward.
Netatmo and Wellograph unveiled their new “on the wrist” devices at this year’s CES with the hopes of offering a fresh new standard for wearable electronics.
Netatmo’s “June” UV sensor
The June UV Sensor might look like a gaudy piece of costume jewelry, but this giant rhinestone offers an alternative to slathering on SPF-100 and hiding under an umbrella. There is a UV sensor embedded in a large jewel that can be worn either as a brooch or as a bracelet. The device syncs to a phone app that will send an alert when the user has been exposed to too much UV radiation. For $99, we’re looking at another way to prevent summer woes as well as protect health.
The Wellograph fitness watch
A main complaint about smartwatches is that they tend to do too much, leading to a bulky device consumers wouldn’t be proud to wear. The Wellograph tracks health and fitness and nothing more. It has a lot less to do with chaining you to your contacts and more about optimizing your fitness levels. So you won’t get to keep in touch with old friends, balance your checkbook, and track the mileage of your jog all at the same time. But it gives you data on everything related to body movement. Users can track their heart-rate, mileage, duration, and much more in compact graphs on an attractive crystal-sapphire face. It’s a design that people can wear to the gym and not take off before a night on the town. The hope is that consumers will track fitness levels all the time, instead of only during workouts, ideally leading to improved health overall.
These two devices show a departure from the “all-in-one” technology we’ve grown accustomed to. Opinions on the great debate of specialized devices for specific groups versus an all-in-one device are still split between two groups. One party wants to put one do-all device in their pocket for convenience. The other side doesn’t mind a bunch of sleek, advanced devices to fulfill all of their needs. Personally, I still have a phone, a camera, and an iPod. I’d rather have several devices that do their job well than one device that comes up short in some areas.
The main problem with the Wellograph and June is that their success relies on people who are willing to purchase a costly device, and be content with its capability to do only one thing well. These two wearable gadgets seem destined to a future as purely luxury items for those with the resources to splurge on a lot of fancy electronics.