Virtual reality is one of the hottest technologies on show at this year's CES, and HTC has joined the party by announcing a new version of its VR headset, the Vive Pre. It's still only available to developers for the time being, but it includes upgrades and improvements that are eventually going to make their way to the consumer version later this year.
CES is full of products claiming to be the world's first something. Make the description specific enough and you can be the first anything: world's first 3D-printed, Bluetooth-connected, GPS-enabled smart peanut butter jar, anyone? Well, today at CES Unveiled we stumbled upon a company claming to have the world's first, ahem, smart shoe.
A few decades ago, the Nintendos and Segas of the world used to bundle a flagship title with their gaming consoles: be it Super Mario Bros. or Sonic the Hedgehog. That doesn't happen with today's systems, apart from special edition bundles – which often cost around US$50 more than buying the system by itself. With VR, though, Oculus is going one-up on those old-school game consoles, bundling not just one but two highly-anticipated games with the Oculus Rift. When we add this together with some other recent clues, we think this could mean roughly a $500-600 price tag for the Rift.
When we previously reported on a concept for a collapsible scooter that could double as a belt, we suggested a crowdfunding project to make it a reality. As it happens, Hungarian designer Ádám Török has now launched such a campaign to further develop his idea, and eventually bring the scooter to market.
As smartwatches continue to become more mainstream, traditional watchmakers are going through a transitional period. Instead of seeing smartwatches merely as a threat, though, companies like Tag Heuer and Fossil are embracing the opportunity and trying to make great smartwatches themselves. It's too early to know if "great" is the right word for this Android Wear-running watch (we'll run a full review after spending more time with it), but the Fossil Q Founder is certainly promising.
Peeing in one's socks may not be everyone's first choice for powering their mobile devices, but apparently it could be an option. A team of researchers from the Bristol BioEnergy Centre at the University of the West of England is experimenting with a pair of socks that use urine to generate electricity via miniaturized microbial fuel cells. Results have already started to trickle in, with the system used to run a transmitter to send wireless signals to a desktop computer.
There's much to be gained from tracking the biomechanics of elite athletes in the lab, where monitoring of stress on joints and muscles can not only aid in performance, but also help prevent injury. Baseball batters and pitchers dealing with one fastball after another are certainly no different, so US company Motus Global has announced an iron-on set of sensors designed to bring this technology out of the lab and onto the field for comprehensive in-match analysis.
The small sensors found in wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches are only becoming more versatile, from monitoring your heart rate to enabling gesture control. But a new sensor design could afford these devices even more flexibility, in more ways than one. By combining carbon nanotubes with used chewing gum, scientists have developed a sensing device that can pick up movements of the more flexible body parts, such as bent finger.
Fashion trends come and go, but a new shoe concept is intended to keep you up to date with the latest style, or let you coordinate your footwear with any outfit, without requiring an Imelda Marcos-sized shoe collection. The ShiftWear sneakers are designed with flexible E Ink color displays that can be customized with images or animations directly from a smartphone or tablet.
In the last few years, we've seen wearable tech products go from concept to clunky early adopter gizmos to the (somewhat) mainstream consumer products they are today. Though they're still unnecessary luxuries, some of them are worth the price of admission in fun alone. Join Gizmag as we break down the best wearables of 2015.