WTF wearable tech

Seriously, what's the deal with these wearables?
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Like any new form of technology, wearables exhibit evolutionary behaviour. As the genre grows it mutates and metamorphoses into radically different shapes, in the hope that they'll stay alive and even thrive. Take a look at the Apple Watch - it's simply the smarter, better next-gen version of the smartwatches which have been around for the past few years.

An unfortunate by-product of these new lifeforms springing from the technological primordial ooze is that some just shouldn't really exist, and will quickly be wiped from the earth by other, better wearables. These freaky mutations will probably be uncovered by palaeontologists 65 million years hence, and even they will wonder what peculiar, cruel facet of nature created these odd beasts in the first place.

Here are 10 of the weirdest.

Ping Wearable, um, thing

WTF wearable tech

First up is Ping, which describes itself as "A social networking garment." This means that lifting the hood will send a set message to Facebook, and lowering it will send another - but the only messages we can think of attributing to this action are "it's raining," or, "it's not raining," or, "I'm that bloke from Assassin's Creed and I'm about to kill again."

While the tunic-cum-dress-cum-hoodie-cum-dressing gown is one of those slightly odd concepts which will never see light of day, it at least prefigured one of Apple Watch's features in a haptic feedback component which could recognise taps and send them to others wearing the garment. Thing is, wearing an Apple Watch doesn't make you look like a cyberterrorist at a day spa.

Tweeting Bra

WTF wearable tech

For two weeks, Greek celebrity Maria Bakodimou wore a technologically-augmented bra which tweeted whenever she undid it. Rather than being some of strange notification system for perverts, it was actually created to help promote a good cause: the detection of breast cancer.

Related is the SHE (Society Harnessing Equipment), a bra which delivers a 3800kv shock to would-be attackers. Presumably the next step is a bra which broadcasts a video feed of your foe's body as it slowly chars from the inside out.

Glove One

WTF wearable tech

It's pretty easy to look at smartwatches and smart rings and assume that future wearables will take over the whole hand. It's also pretty dumb, as the Glove One proves. The five-fingered wearable includes everything you need to make a call, including numbers on the insides of the fingers to dial and a microphone and speaker in the thumb and pinkie.

It may seem like a good idea, but it'll probably fail as soon as you have to pick things up or hold things.

Rufus Cuff

WTF wearable tech

Despite sounding like a midwest folk singer, Rufus Cuff is a wearable bracelet, which is just a clever way of saying it's a smartphone with a strap. It runs Android and connects to your phone for alerts and internet things, and it'll rotate around your wrist so you can type in or dictate messages.

It also makes it look like you're under house arrest while giving physiotherapists a whole new type of RSI to worry about.

Smarter Socks

WTF wearable tech

You can't really go wrong with socks. The essential Christmas present kind of looks after itself. If they get holes in them, or if they fade, you chuck 'em out. It's pretty simple really. But Blacksocks believes the process of owning and wearing socks should be as complicated as possible.

Therefore its Smarter Socks include RFID tags and a scanner so you can keep them together, and a blackness checking app to measure fading. This is a serious thing and not a joke.


WTF wearable tech

Ever wondered what your baby sees? Yeah, it's pretty much just your doe-eyed ugly mug peering at them day and night. The Peekiboo hat packs a camera which takes a snap whenever it picks up the baby's brain activity in the hope that when your baby finds something stimulating this precious memory will be stored forever.

The truth is that it'll probably only pick up your horrified facial expressions as the poor infant tumbles off the sofa.

Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears

WTF wearable tech

Yes, brainwave cat ears. Cat ears which pick up your brain waves and respond accordingly, perking up when you're focussed and drooping down when you're relaxed. Why? Because people don't understand verbal and non-verbal communication any more, and have to have a pair of fur-clad plastic motorised ears attached to their head.

Next it will be a tail, and then we'll only be able to communicate by pissing pheromones at one another.


WTF wearable tech

The science behind Re-Timer is actually pretty sound – by periodically shining a dull light at your eyes it's able to reprogram your circadian rhythm, which can in turn mitigate the effects of shift work, jetlag and hellishly long Scandinavian winters.

In practice it makes it look like you're wearing a broken virtual reality headset, and that you've joined some kind of cult.

Power Wellies

WTF wearable tech

Created by mobile phone company Orange for use at Glastonbury festival, these waterproof rubber boots include a power generating sole which uses the heat from your feet to charge your mobile phone.

Apparently it works due to something called the Seebeck effect, which uses thermoelectric ceramic wafers to generate energy from your body heat or something. We're assuming they didn't work because we haven't seen them since, and all shoes would be doing this by now if they did.

How we test

Henry Winchester


A massive geek in every sense of the phrase, Henry has written for Stuff, PC Gamer, 3D Total and Mac Format, among others. In his spare time he likes to drink beer and ride bicycles, usually at the same time.

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