What’s missing at CES in #wearabletech?

There’s a lot of hype around #wearabletech at this year’s CES, and some interesting-looking announcements from vendors like Sony, LG and even Intel.

But aside from the flood of wristband-based “eco systems”, smartwatches, alternatives to Google Glass and of course Kolibree, the world’s first Internet of Things connected toothbrush which comes complete with a mobile app for Android and Apple (sorry, BlackBerry-istas and Windows Phone fans), what’s actually new?

The somewhat surprising answer: Not that much, in terms of technology.

For example, there’s still no solution to the problem of battery life for wearables. A few pioneers, like Misfit, have managed to eke-out battery life for weeks or even a couple of months, but most wristbands need charging every three or four days, while smartwatches are out of power every day.

At CES, there is no sign of kinetic charging (unless I am blind, in which case, get in touch). In other words, devices that keep themselves powered by movement alone, like many high-end wristwatches.

Scouring the halls for wireless charging for smart-anything? You’d have been disappointed, as the technology still isn’t up to scratch.

This year’s CES might well be the show at which wearable technology comes of age, but it’s not hitting a high spot in terms of innovation.

You will find a ton of Google Glass-alikes though.

PS Nice to see that Bloomberg agrees with this viewpoint …


3 Responses to What’s missing at CES in #wearabletech?

  1. Brenda McCaffrey PhD says:

    Hi Simon,

    I agree with you completely. The scenery on the ground here is crazy but not a lot of new breakthroughs. I’ve been in the Fitness Tech room for some hours and I must say I think the Wearable Tech Conference was much more interesting. I’m still reeling from what I heard from Dawn Scott, the US Women’s soccer coach, at the FAST event in LA. Nothing like that here.

    I hear some words around power management from some companies, but I think this is not the audience to appreciate the technical details for these kinds of innovations (plus, they’re probably highly confidential). From my experience with my own device, I think the power issue relates mostly to displays, and then to Bluetooth. It would be worthwhile to look closely at Qualcomm’s watch and their innovative display technology. Of all the companies out there, I would put my money on Qualcomm’s ability to solve some of the deeper technical issues.

    Regarding energy harvesting, I think we’re going to see some innovations in the clothing wearables, although that’s happening under the radar right now, I think. Lots of opportunity there.

    I’m really confused about MC10 with the flexible electronics patches. There is a massive flexible display center in Tempe, AZ funded with $100M+ by the US Army that has spent years trying to create flexible circuits. We’re not there yet, especially with wireless transmission that is impossible without careful impedance matching and that is killed by flexing electronics. I think they must be using really simple circuit technology and discrete or SSI components. Very curious.

    By the way, the GoPro display is AWESOME. They need to incorporate some wearables (other than bulky cameras). 🙂

    Fun to send these comments.

    Best regards, Brenda

  2. […] Goccia features wireless recharging. As far as we are aware, it will be the first smart wristband to feature this technology. Although […]

  3. […] Goccia features wireless recharging. As far as we are aware, it will be the first smart wristband to feature this technology. Although […]

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