This year at SXSW, the Apple Watch was just the tip of the iceberg – wearables were everywhere, presented in a multitude of form factors with design front and center. Uber-futuristic and surprisingly practical, the new wearables of the world are targeting problems we face in daily life with functional solutions.
Tinitell, a Swedish startup that makes a GPS tracking smartwatch designed for kids, picked up a SXSW Accelerator Award for the wearables category. The device is essentially a phone that a child wears on their wrist. But don’t think of Tinitell as entertainment for your child, rather it’s more of a holistic safety-meets-communications solution. This compact device packs a week’s battery life with 60 minutes talk-time, plus GPS and GSM connectivity, and a durable water resistant design. The watch puts parents in the driver’s seat, working in tandem with a smartphone app deploying a multitude of safety features including geo-fencing and voice controls.
Drones are the new Smartphones
Frog Design’s Adam Pruden gave an insightful look into the world of drones, predicting a massive expansion in the not so distant future for personalized, everyday use. Breathe is the latest creation from the studio – a drone that monitors air quality and hovers in front of your mouth as a pollution filter. The second launch Pruden touched on was Flare, another wearable drone that flies in front of you, syncing with map applications in your smartphone to guide you to your final destination.
Solar is En Vogue
Designer Pauline van Dongen debuted the Solar Shirt from her Wearable Solar collection. Designed in collaboration with Holst Centre and TNO, the shirt allows you to power smartphones and other portable devices using solar cells integrated into the fabric. It contains 120 thin-film solar cells, so in bright sunlight, it produces one watt of electricity, enough to charge a phone in a few hours. Far more than function, the Solar Shirt could be mistaken for the likes of Stella McCartney, with style at it’s core.