Wearable Research – Jo-Ann Ng

S p e c d r u m s :
music at your fingertips

App-connected rings that turn color into sound, making the world your sound machine. Tap anywhere to create musical beats and sounds.
Specdrum’s promotional image on Kickstarter.com
Personal drawing of Specdrums

These durable plastic rings work with an application to turn any surface into a soundboard on-the-go. The sensor at the bottom of the rings detect the color of the surface it has been tapped on and allows you to assign a sound (on the application) to it. The application can register up to 10 rings at a time (full two hands! you can play the piano!).

The rings can also be attached to things other than your fingers.
For example, toes or drum sticks (e.g. to create a makeshift drumset) can work as well.

Practice it works in:

It would suit music producers on the go as a portable MIDI device; but it can also be used for many situations like music education – especially suitable for beginners and children.
The company also has an open source code for the application online so it can be modified into many things as well. One suggestion from the company that I thought was extremely useful was in guiding colorblind individuals.

Mobility:

Extremely mobile since they are small, portable, lightweight and robust. They also come with a micro-USB charging port, which is a wire that is very commonly used by other devices like Android phones.

Utility Vs Fashionability:

The company has kept the design very simplistic so that nothing gets in the way when in use. The default color for sale stated by the company is black, however they have used many different colors in their demos and are apparently intending to release those for sale as well eventually. I also liked that the edges of the ring are curved, making it look more ‘friendly’. 

Sensoria Fitness Socks and Anklet

Promotional Picture found on their website
Sensoria Fitness Socks + Anklet drawing

Smart Socks designed specially for Runners

These smart socks are fitted with textile sensors that record data runners might want to pay attention to: such as a step counter, speed, calories burnt and speed. Interestingly, it also is able to identify patterns in movement that might cause problems like sport-related injury due to incorrect running form. 

Practice it works in:

These socks are catered to the serious runner (professionals) but I can see it being used in situations such as physiotherapy since it helps keep a keen eye on the specific muscle movements and other factors that might influence the therapy. 

Mobility:

Due to the nature of the textile sensors that they use for these fitness socks, the sock looks and feels almost exactly like a normal sock. Hence, they are indeed very form fitting and mobile.
Perhaps the only thing that might get in the way would be the anklet as it is slightly bulging and is positioned at the ankle – where there would be a bend.

Utility Vs Fashionability:

As mentioned in the previous point, these socks do not have any unnecessarily bulky parts and are designed in a chic grey ribbed fabric (typical of sports socks). The anklet is also very minimalistic in pure white. Sensoria even includes a possibility of covering the anklet by folding the sock over it – further increasing the appearance of the smart sock. This is all done while not compromising the effectiveness of the product itself. They transfer the ‘bulky’ things like screen displays, etc, by bluetooth transferring it to a mobile application that will display all the data from your smart phone. 

Ng Yixian Jo-Ann (A0142014B)

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