The New York Times reported today that wearable tech’s next step is to get prettier, not become higher functioning. To that end, the paper cited the Shine activity tracker (anyone else feel like they’re in the Hunger Games when they use the word “tracker?” Just us? okay), an interchangeable sliver of technology that plugs into a few different, decent looking accessories.
The shiny disc looks like something from the jewelry case at the MoMA Design Store. It slips onto a leather wristband or a cord necklace, or becomes the world’s most useful lapel pin, clipped to one’s clothing. Once you’ve decided how to incorporate the thing into your look, tap it throughout the day to get updates on your activity, or take it off and put it directly on your mobile screen to sync the device and the app. There’s something retro about that last feature, which we find really appealing.
But why stop there? If you pair the Misfit Wearables device with CuffLinc, you’ll be trackable in terms of both physical activity and personal safety, plus you’ll be adorned with a full suite of accessories that happen to have higher tech powers. And if it’s simply fashion you seek, we’d trade in Shine any day for the upcoming Wellograph, which, while lacking placement flexibility, looks like an adult’s watch and less like a glorified rubber band. Add in Ring — take note, developers, the early bird gets a lock on the titular device name — and you can write texts with your finger movements and control your home appliances, all while wearing a device that doubles as nothing more than a slightly oversized, shiny ring.
Of course, better looking wearable tech would be nothing without a designer collaboration. Tory Burch is the first on the bandwagon, having signed on with Fitbit to create a health monitor that looks more like jewelry and less like a medical device. As long as it doesn’t burn its wearer, we look forward to checking it out upon its launch.
While we’re picking apart the world of wearables, we’d like to ask why no one has shrunk the technology enough to insert it into a pair of earrings. Think about it — the device would automatically function as a diptych, which could simultaneously track different information for the wearer, ultimately syncing it for the highest information yield.