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Wearable Tech Trend Report #1 – Meditation Tech, Wearable for Workplace Safety and Budget Smartwatches

It’s 2019, and we are entering an exciting year of more wearable developments than ever. As we usher in Feburary 2019, let’s review what was noteworthy in consumer wearable technology this week.

Brain-sensing wearable to help you meditate better

It isn’t the first time we see wearables designed for the brain. Consumer EEG headsets (short for electroencephalogram) have been around for a while, but the design have always looked bulky and awkward for everyday wear. Early-stage EEG devices like the OpenBCI is certainly made for lab use, or those who don’t mind looking like a cyborg while having their brain signals recorded.

Things have improved on the product design front with these brain-monitoring wearbles. The Muse headband debuted with a very promising design, and the MUSE 2 is looking even more sleek and sexy. Like its predecessor, MUSE 2 aims at improving our meditation practice. The new product features added sensors to monitor blood flows and more. Read the product review on Forbes here.

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Muse, the brain sensing headband just got a makeover. Image source: muse website.

Ford uses wearable vests to help factory workers with heavy-lifting, literally

Wearable tech has increasingly proved to us its potential to help us become superhumans. Or at least extending our physical abilities to reach beyond what we can accomplish at the rate we naturally evolve.

EksoVest made news headlines with its strength-enhancing wearable that helps Ford’s factory workers to reduce overhead loads – up to 15 lb (6.8 kg) of lift support for each arm. It’s developed by Ekso Bionics, a company specialized in exoskeleton technology to extend human capacity.

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With shoulder injuries being the most common and expensive to treat among assembly workers, this new wearable could be very beneficial once proven effective after the pilot program at Ford. It’s pretty expensive at the moment – $6,000 per unit at the time of writing – but treatments for shoulder injuries easily cost more than that. At the very least, we are excited about the prospect of superman lifting cars becoming a living reality.

More brands entering the competition for budget smartwatches.

On the smartwatch front, things are looking more competitive for the low-cost markets. The high price point of wearable trackers is allegedly holding back the industry from widespread consumer adoption. The cost of the Apple Watch 4 is comparable to that of a decent mid-range smartphone in many countries, and so are Samsung and Huawei watches.

But the smart watch market has never been short of budget options. A quick search on Amazon reveals many options below $100, most from little-known brands. This year, we are seeing more well-known wearable brands entering the low cost smartwatches.

Withings – a French wearable watch maker  – debuted its budget activity tracker watch Withngs Move at $69.95. Since their split from Nokia, the brand continues its legacy of classy designer and robust features with new products. A good-looking, feature rich tracker watch like Move can potentially allure more people in. The watch is now available for pre-order in the US and UK, and will be in stores from February.

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Withing’s budget smartwatch is armed with the ECG features found in Apple Watch 4.

Smartphone companies are eyeing the market share too. A well-loved smartphone brand all over Asia, OPPO is said to enter the budget connected watch this year. The company is pretty ambitious to take smart gadgets to the next level, including smartwatches and smart headphones for the 5G+ era.

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