We just had a big week of wearable tech news with the Samsung Galaxy Watch announcement and Magic Leap going on sale. But if you’ve read those stories to death and you’re looking for something a bit different, you’re in the right place.
And Finally is where we take a look at some of the smaller and quirkier wearable tech news stories as well as the internet rumours we actually believe.
BBC experiments in speed reading
Remember smartwatch speed reading app Spritz? Well, the BBC has been experimenting with the technology, particularly focusing on how it could serve up news on smartwatch screens.
The team behind it likens it to a “superhuman ability to process information” like Sherlock Holmes or Spock and the idea is to help us contend with the overwhelming amount of emails, news stories, tweets and messages we are bombarded with everyday.
The tech presents you with one word at a time, in the centre of the screen and Spritz reckons it can allow you to read at double the speed. Check out the videos at the link to see it in action. For now, there are no plans to roll it out but the BBC is interested in what’s possible in this area.
Fitbit teams up with Blue Cross Blue Shield
Another wearable tech/ health insurance partnership, Fitbit and Blue Cross Blue Shield, which has 60 million members, are offering discounted Fitbit devices to its users – both individuals and employers. It’s part of the Blue365 program and the Fitbit deals will come as part of bundles with things like gym memberships.
The team up follows similar arrangements with insurers like UnitedHealthcare, Anthem, Cigna and Humana and it falls under Fitbit’s Health Solutions division. It’s win win for insurers and users if members get fitter and healthier as long as members are aware of what data they are giving up in order to save money on these lifestyle devices.
Wear a smartwatch, get a date
The latest edition of Match’s Singles in America survey asked Uber users – for some reason – a whole bunch of questions about whether owning certain gadgets would make a date more or less attractive. And it turns out that 67% of single Uber users would find it attractive if their date was wearing a smartwatch. Why? That remains to be seen – is it because it shows they have disposable cash? Or that they’re into tech? Or health and fitness? We’ll never know.
Elsewhere, 37% of respondents said they’d find it attractive if their date had a virtual assistant at home – only one way to find out – and 40% of people said they’d be less attracted to someone if they didn’t own a TV. Fair enough.
Bragi gets Mimi Defined upgrade
Bragi’s hearables, including the Dash and the latest Dash Pro, are getting an update via a partnership with Mimi Hearing Technologies. You take a six minute hearing test that’s designed to test your hearing ability and then the upgrade is set to allow you to then personalise how you hear music with your own files and audio from services like Spotify and Netflix adjusted to suit your profile.
We haven’t tried out the Mimi Defined upgrade yet but it’s an interesting use case for Bragi’s interest in hearing abilities.
The Pentagon has banned wearables
After the Strava heat map debacle earlier this year and a US Defense Department review, the Pentagon has decided to ban any wearables and fitness tracking apps that use geolocation for deployed troops. The ban only applies to service members working in operational bases or locations, not for instance at the Pentagon itself and people can get round it by disabling geolocation or any features that use it.
The statement said: “The rapidly evolving market of devices, applications, and services with geolocation capabilities presents a significant risk to the Department of Defense personnel on and off duty, and to our military operations globally.” Can’t argue with that.