Will The Future of Wearable Tech Be Hidden?

Will The Future of Wearable Tech Be Hidden?

A new health tracker that monitors vitals through an earbud is a reaction against Google Glass

Nestor Bailly, PSFK
  • 8 august 2014

While smartwatches, fitness bands, head-mounted cameras, and activity tracker apps are all the rage for health monitoring as the latest in wearable tech, they all require the wearer to make a rather bold fashion statement. All the things we wear carry social messages, and in the case of wearable tech, the statement is often loud and sometimes unclear.

One of the major take-aways of PSFK’s Future of Wearable Tech report was that people want technology to adapt to them, to blend in seamlessly with their sense of design and fashion, and above all be something they would want to wear even if it weren’t ‘smart.’

Valencell, a company based in North Carolina, has developed technology that can track vital signs like heart rate, temperature and respiration all from earbuds similar to what you’d use to listen to music. It works by shining a light onto the wearer’s skin to see how it reflects off of blood vessels near the surface. It also includes an accelerometer to track distance, speed and pace of exercise. The company’s advanced algorithms can then deduce things like calories burned, and sends this data to the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth. Meanwhile it still delivers music like any other pair of headphones.


The market for ‘hearables’ over wearables was predicted a few months ago by one analyst, but beyond people’s distaste for tech like Google Glass the ear is actually an excellent place for a multifunctional piece of hardware. Monitoring blood is much easier around the ear, user-only sound is an unobtrusive output and people are used to wearing and seeing things in and around people’s ears anyway.

Beyond sports tracking and health monitoring, as more devices come with biometric-reading capabilities, we may see everything from games (played with headphones on) to Internet radio reacting to our physiological states to serve us different content and experiences automatically. Whether this verges on the edge of manipulation remains to be seen as the technology matures.



Transformable Table Maximizes Utility In Small Spaces

Design & Architecture
Syndicated Yesterday

How Fashion Became All About Fonts

Why a new wave of designs have put typography front and center on your clothing

Retail Yesterday

GM And Audi Are Experimenting With Car Rentals In SF

The automakers are trying something new to capture the segment of urban dwellers who don't want to own a car


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Travel Yesterday

This Vertical Forest Hotel Will Improve The Air Around It

An architectural firm is creating a lush mountain lodging in China with so much greenery that it will actually clean the atmosphere

Related Expert

Aunkur Arya

Mobile Payments

Europe Yesterday

This Company Believes Insects Can Provide Biofuel To Power Our Future

A Polish group is testing out a new factory concept that can provide a source of renewable energy, and even serve space missions

Technology Yesterday

Music Venue Caters To Virtual Reality Events

Boiler Room has launched the first VR hub for content creators to capture special footage for the masses

Gaming & Play Yesterday

Automated Chessboard Lets You Play Against Anyone In The World

Square Off is an AI-powered board that can move the pieces on its own


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Creative Leadership Expert: Experiencing A Seismic Shift From Brand Loyalty To Interface Loyalty

Marc Shillum, founder of Chief Creative Office, explains why product designers must rethink the way they capture consumer attention

PSFK Labs october 25, 2016

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Technology Yesterday

Contraband Recorder Helps Those In Need Capture Captive Conversations

Designer Marianna Mezhibovkaya created the device to help prison inmates capture crucial evidence of abuse

Advertising Yesterday

A Compelling Brand Purpose Is Never Born In The Boardroom

Strategist and Designer Anna-Rae Morris shares why she believes all brands exist for a reason, and how Snapchat has upended our behavior

Fitness & Sport Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: The Xs And Os Of Performance-Enhanced Sports

WHOOP, ShotTracker, Rithmio, PlaySight, STYR Labs, EverybodyFights and Lift / Next Level Floats explain that we're only at the iceberg's tip of performance enhancement

Retail Yesterday

Kodak’s Smartphone Is Inspired By A Retro Camera

Ektra is an Android phone with a powerful lens aimed at photographers

Sustainability Yesterday

Modern Home Created Entirely Out Of Modular Shipping Crates

A project in Ecuador used the ubiquitous material to design a spacious and industrial-chic house

Retail Yesterday

Retail Concept Offers Food Hall Inspired Space For Online Brands

The store will offer a lower cost way for internet entrepreneurs to try physical retailing

Advertising Yesterday

Disney Retells Beauty And The Beast On Snapchat

In a partnership with LACMA, the entertainment platform drew from over 130,000 works in the museum's collection

No search results found.