Our Anna Nonaka attended the Wearable Tech Expo in Tokyo Japan 2015 and reports on her favourite WTF (Wearable Tech Fashion, of course!) pieces that are coming out of Japan!
On the 7th September, I attended the Wearable Tech Expo in Tokyo featuring IoT; the technique that connects “things” with the internet and allows it to be controlled wirelessly; and Virtual Reality. The exhibition was amazing and I could definitely see the future of wearable technology.
Some of the wearable devices I enjoyed were the Ring ZERO, FUN’IKI Ambient Glasses and The Orphe, Smart Shoe.
Ring ZERO was created by Logbar Inc. and was founded in 2014 in Tokyo Japan. It now has a San Francisco office as well as their Tokyo Head Office. Ring ZERO allows you to control various objects by wearing it on your forefinger and make gestures. It is a magical device that enables you to change slides in a presentation, turn on/off the lights, play VR games and change music. It is connected via Bluetooth which allows it to recognize gestures made within 20m away. I had trouble making gestures at first, but once I got the hang of it, it was fun and very easy to use. I felt like I was in Harry Potter because I could control things without actually touching them. The device itself is very light and small. As a fashionable ring, I felt it was a little bit bulky because of the battery. However, it looks stylish and was the most fashionable item at the Expo.
Read more about smart rings in the London Wearable Tech Show 2016 here.
FUN’IKI Ambient Glass is a smart glass that works with an app and connects via Bluetooth which transmits information wirelessly. It can smartly support you in your everyday life by notifying you of your schedule, your emails and messages, reminding you without the need to look at your phone. It also functions as a timer, stopwatch, and tempo guide. It’s also great at parties because it can light up with multiple colors!
It was fun because I could choose the tempo of how the glasses light up. I tried the “sometimes” light setting and waited until it lit up after a couple of minutes. I liked it because it can be used even after the battery dies. Check out how it works here:
Orphe is a smart shoe for artists and performers.
The shoe uses motion sensors and LEDs to enable new forms of expression. The goal is for artists and performers to use the shoes as a canvas or palette in creating their dance moves by freely mapping interactions between their movements, light and sound. Once a performer has created their dance moves, Orphe also provides an online platform so that it can be shared with other artists and performers for inspiration and grow a community using Orphe’s hardware and applications.
While it didn’t work very well for me on the day, they allowed us to try to play dance revolution wearing Orphe. I could see how fun it would be if it worked properly.
The Orphe shoe comes in white and black and looks like a pair of trainers. The shoes themselves were too big for women because of its chunky size. However, for men, they looked like normal trainers.
What excited me about the Orphe shoe was after the Expo, I saw the new TOYOTA commercial where a famous Japanese dancer, Koharu Sugahara was dancing with the Orphe shoe on! The commercial looked amazing and I loved how the dance moves created a beautiful track. I am sure Orphe will make performances more dynamic and glorious!
Created by No New Folk Studio and successfully achieving 213% of their target in May 2015 raising $88,852US via Indiegogo, it’s no wonder this shoe is in high demand for artists and performers!
THE WEARABLE NEWS BAG
This was the most intriguing if not the craziest thing of all among the products that I found at the Expo.
The Wearable News bag is a bag that incorporates a live news feed on the bag. The concept is to allow “news” to be designed fashionably so that if you like it, it can be “worn”. In other words, you would be showing the public something that you think is newsworthy.
The aim in creating the Wearable News Bag was for the youth to wear news and making the streets up to date. Created in an incubator space at Japan’s biggest newspaper company, Asahi Shimbun Media Lab in September 2015, there are no plans to mass produce it.
I’m not quite sure I would want to wear a Wearable News Bag or show the public what I’m reading or have read on the streets of Osaka!
MY TAKE ON THE WEARABLE TECH EXPO JAPAN
I enjoyed the Wearable Expo Tokyo and saw how challenging it is to make tech look fashionable. It appears that battery life was the biggest challenge in all the devices I saw and there was only a limited amount of fashionable wearable pieces of technology. While I reported on start ups and emerging companies, there were 3 major Japanese technology companies from NTT Data Corporation, Epson and Toshiba. For now, I’ll continue to enjoy seeing and reporting what creative, amazing and crazy things that are coming out in the WTF (Wearable Tech Fashion) space.
For more on WTF | Wearable Tech Fashion, read Michelle’s blog on Kisha, the Smart Umbrella you can’t possibly lose here.
This blog was written by Anna Nonaka, Intern at MadeWithGlove. Anna reports on her findings for MadeWithGlove on all things WTF (Wearable Tech Fashion) in Japan. With a keen interest in fashion and technology and based in Osaka and Tokyo, Anna’s bilingual skills and cross cultural experience reduces the gap between Western and Eastern cultures.