Design just keeps getting smarter, with elegant wall panels from Vitrea and stress-detecting scarves from Microsoft’s research lab. This week’s Smart Design roundup also features cutting edge concepts from Reach Bionics, a startup developing a controller that use ear muscles to command devices, a wearable fitness band’s team up with Spotify, and more.
Glass Touch Panel Maker Launches Home Automation Suite
After making elegant wall panels for other smart home solution makers, Vitrea is coming out with its own home automation suite. Options range from a simple Wi-Fi touchpad to multi-module controllers and astronomic schedulers. Vitrea’s all-inclusive option, called the Vmax, hit the market last month.
Microsoft’s Smart Scarf
While heated scarves are already available on the market, Microsoft is looking to make the traditional neckwear even more useful. Currently part of a research initiative, Microsoft’s smart scarf prototype features connected panels that communicate via Bluetooth to a smartphone app for controlling temperature and vibration. Researchers are hopeful the scarf’s sensors can also double as stress sensors, autonomously providing heat or pressure therapy.
See more smart fashion in our Connected Couture series.
Ear Muscles Can Control Connected Devices
The ways in which humans communicate with connected devices are still evolving, as service providers seek to mature beyond smartphone app controllers. From gesture control to voice commands, humans are likely to one day use all their senses to speak to devices. One startup has designed a new type of controller that lets users communicate with gadgets with just the wiggle of the ear. Reach Bionics‘ proprietary system measures the electromyography (EMG) signals generated by the muscles around the ear, transmitting signals to target devices as commands. The technology is still in development and is undergoing testing for controlling a variety of devices, from computers to smart cars.
Interested in other futurists’ visions on human-machine communication? See what role emotion plays here.
MisFit Flash Adds Spotify Controls
Thanks to a freshly designed fitness band, Misfit is able to add more smartphone-like functions to its Flash line of wearable technology. Now Misfit is teaming up with a handful of brands including Spotify, Nest and IFTTT. The Spotify integration is of particular interest for runners, making it that much easier to control music while maintaining an active pace. Expect the new control-options to hit the Flash fitband in March.
GE’s Smart New Cooktop Accessory
Building its growing empire of smart kitchen appliances and accessories, General Electric has released a smart sous vide add-on for its Monogram Induction cooktop. Created in collaboration with the engineering collective FirstBuild, the sous vide accessory is equipped with a digital thermometer and a wireless Bluetooth transmitter to communicate with the Monogram cooktop and can set the temperature and cook time for the stove. With the accessory and cooktop in direct communication with each other, the cooktop can automatically adjust to the dish’s needs. Look for the new sous vide accessory to be available this spring.