I thought it would be fitting to start with some news involving Project Runway, since that’s a show we all know and many of us enjoy. As you know, there have been two spinoffs: Project Runway All-Stars, and the brand new Project Runway Threads. Brother is the exclusive sewing & Embroidery licensee of the show and provides all the machines used on the show….and this month, Brother is launching its new “Brother Loves Fashion” campaign, “celebrating the designer in you.”
If you haven’t paid much attention to sewing machines lately, you’ll probably be shocked at the high-tech advances in their latest machines . At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Brother introduced its latest top of the line DREAM MACHINE which embroiders, sews, quilts and does craft work.
How is this machine different from any that came before?
It includes My Design Center which has been enhanced to integrate industry first InnovEye® technology (it’s like having a built-in camera!), offering new design capabilities at your fingertips, all without a PC! You can scan in a design and turn it into embroidery that you can stitch out! That also means you don’t need a PC to help you create your runway designs.Now, if you can draw it or scan it, you can stitch it.
THE DREAM MACHINE also has the largest built-in LCD screen you can get on a sewing machine—yes, sewing machines have LCD screens now— so you can create all your embroidery designs on that ten-inch screen —and you can also watch 40 pre-loaded tutorial videos, or plug in your own videos or music…
The most newsworthy thing about this new machine is the fact that Consumers Digest has declared THE DREAM MACHINE a Best Buy, and as you know that is a very big achievement. We think everyone who has ever tried to sew or EMBROIDER anything will want to know about how Brother has advanced the industry.
This dream machine will set you back about $14 thousand dollars, and that is indeed a best buy for a machine that can do so many things.
SEGMENT TWO: PHORUS (YOU CAN MOVE THESE SEGMENTS AROUND AS NEEDED IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE ORDER):
One thing you’ll notice at all the Fashion Week events is the importance of music. Music adds life to any event, to any space.
And that’s why you’ll find a company called Phorus here this week—they have created a way for all of us to do something that used to only be possible for a very few, and that is to have streaming music throughout our homes and workplaces– always synchronized, perfectly lossless — music.
And not just the music you own… but the online music you love, like Pandora, and, very soon, Spotify. And thousands of other online music services from around the world!
And you don’t have to buy a new stereo system. You can just plug in this sleek black receiver, which turns your current stereo system into an unlimited music streaming machine. It works with Bluetooth, Apple’s AirPlay, and the technology called DTS Play-Fi.
When you see the Play Fi logo, you know you’ll be getting a perfect lossless audio stream. And because there are thousands of Play-Fi sites, that’s pretty much an unlimited supply of music.
Phorus can make things even easier for you with their own wireless speakers, which work with your existing wi-fi network —and stream music from your smartphone—whatever it is!—or your tablet or your PC or even your Kindle. These are where the party really gets started—plenty of punch and plenty of bass—wireless… and very stylish…and super-easy setup. — the only hard part is deciding which of your thousands of music options you want to tune into.
You can follow them on Twitter—see the two hashtags here—or learn more about their speakers….their receivers that let you use your own WiFi to stream music through your existing stereo….and also about Play Fi, and what it does—
—by visiting their website at Phorus-dot-com. That’s Phorus with a PH.
SEGMENT THREE: OKU
Here’s some news that I know will be of interest to ALL of us who are TRYING TO KEEP OUR SKIN LOOKING ITS BEST—
IT’S A SENSOR CALLED THE OKU, WHICH IS SPELLED O-K-U— YOU CAN SEE THEY’RE AT “AT GET-OKU” ON TWITTER—
IT’S AN IPHONE-CONNECTED SENSOR THAT SCANS YOUR SKIN LOOKING FOR ALL KINDS OF CONDITIONS AND POTENTIAL PROBLEMS, IT TELLS YOU ABOUT MOISTURE, TEXTURE, WRINKLES—YES, EVEN WRINKLES—AND IT GIVES YOUR SKIN A SCORE BASED ON ITS OVERALL CONDITION.
BEST OF ALL, IT CAN THEN GIVE YOU ADVICE ABOUT WHAT TO DO TO MAKE YOUR SKIN LOOK AND FEEL BETTER. IT COMES WITH ITS OWN DOCKING STATION AND YOU CAN PRE-ORDER IT NOW FOR TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS; THEY ARE EXPECTING TO SHIP THE FIRST UNITS THIS SPRING, AND HOPE TO ADD AN ANDROID VERSION BY LATE THIS YEAR.
SEGMENT FOUR: PARENT TECH
Our next news items are all about parents and children—and health.
You are your child’s primary caregiver — and that starts even before birth. Intel is supporting the technology behind BabyGuard, which is a wearable belly wrap that can monitor the health of unborn babies. Because sometimes as an expectant mom you don’t want to have to wait until the next sonogram or checkup to know how things are going. It’s just a working prototype now, but could become a real product soon.
Taking the temperature of a restless, squirming child has always been a challenge, but the Kinsa smartphone thermometer makes it easier. It plugs into the headphone jack of your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy Android phone, and you can track the child’s temperature—or a grown-up’s temperature—over time to see if they’re getting better. It’s about thirty dollars and you can buy it online on Amazon dot com.
AND LOOK, we all know people who are really into Instagram and want to have a snapshot for every important moment. This is the perfect wearable for those folks—it’s called the Narrative Clip Two, and it’s a camera that is constantly taking pictures of whatever you’re seeing. Just clip it onto anything and it takes high-definition photos and sends them wirelessly to your smartphone — or to the cloud. It’s about 150-dollars online.
(tag): It might seem a bit weird now to have a camera on your shirt-button— your friends might think you’ve got them under surveillance— but if you want to capture a special moment and keep your hands free, it starts to make more sense.
SEGMENT FIVE: BATTLE OF THE SMARTWATCHES:
2015 is going to be a historic year as we see the return of the wrist-watch as a fashion statement, only it will be much more than that, of course—these new smartwatches will keep track of our health, our schedules– and our every move!
The G-Watch is Android-powered, it has an always-on display but still goes a full day on a battery charge. It’s water and dust resistant, and can learn to anticipate what you need to know— weather reports, flight information, and that sort of thing. You also can ask it questions by voice, simply by starting with the words “OK Google…” as in, OK Google, what time does the Michael Kors runway show start?
Meanwhile, Samsung has also entered the fray with two different models, the Gear S and the Gear Fit. The Gear S has a huge 2-inch display which means you can scroll through your messages and facebook notifications more easily; you can also make calls and send texts directly from this watch, without your phone nearby!
The Gear Fit is aimed at the exercise market, with lots of fitness tracking functions. You can read your notifications but you still need a companion Android phone to make calls. Millions of people are not in the iPhone biosphere, so, for them, it’s Android to the rescue—BUT WHETHER YOU ARE IN THE APPLE UNIVERSE OR THE ANDROID UNIVERSE…THINK ABOUT THIS: how many wrists that are bare today will still be sporting some kind of smartwatch by the end of this year?
SEGMENT SIX: KNOW YOUR BODY
You see where all this is headed—we want to know more and more about our bodies and our health—
So much so, that we are now seeing “ingestibles,” which is what a company called Proteus is calling its sensors. You swallow the sensor in a pill—THE SENSOR IS so small that they have to put it inside a pill so you can actually know you’re swallowing it.
The sensor is powered by acid in your stomach and sends info to a patch on your skin which then communicates with your smartphone. In the future, this may be how DOCTORS MONITOR OUR HEALTH— BY HAVING US SWALLOW A DIAGNOSTIC GADGET—AS SMALL AS A GRAIN OF SAND.
Next is something Google is working on; a contact lens that can measure the sugar in your blood and tell you when it’s too high or too low. Google says about 400-million diabetics could benefit from this kind of lens, which THEY SAY WILL ALSO BE ABLE TO BE MADE IN COLORS, AND MADE TO YOUR EYEGLASS PRESCRIPTION. Sure beats having to prick your finger all the time!
And some of you may have heard the buzz about this at CES—it’s the MUSE, a headband that measures brain activity. It reportedly is very accurate at measuring focus and concentration, and the group behind THIS WEARABLE says it can be used to train us to avoid distractions and be more productive. So if you’re a boss you are probably thinking, wow! And if you’ve GOT a boss, you’re probably thinking, uh-oh….
SEGMENT SEVEN: VELODYNE
Now let’s get back to fashion:
walk down the streets of New York and it seems that everyone is listening to their phones. So why not make your headphones into a fashion statement? That is the idea behind the VERY popular line of “headphone skins” from Velodyne—real art from real artists, translated into different materials and textures. You can swap them out to suit your mood; and their high-end wireless bluetooth headphones are comparable in price to others like the popular Beats headphones—all of them are around 300-dollars, and a new set of skins is under 20-dollars.
SEGMENT EIGHT: FITNESS WEARABLES
Let’s talk about the new wave of fitness clothing that has tracking sensors literally sewn right into the fabric. These are the hot trendright now with hard-core workout fanatics…
Two of the leading smart-workout companies, Athos and Hexoskin, are here in this video-ATHOS is a sensor that fits into a pouch, whereas Hexoskin is literally a skin, the sensors are sewn right into the fabric. Both can track everything you want to know about your workout.
And if you want to keep it stylish while still keeping track of everything, a French company has come out with the Activite (Act-i-vi-TEE) watch, which is actually an analog-face watch with some very high-tech sensors that you never see.
The watch feeds all your activity data to a smartphone, so you can be super-nerdy without looking even the least bit nerdy. It comes in a big range of colors….
Some companies don’t just make sensors, they create entire eco-systems. iFit showed us what that means at the recent CES show in Las Vegas: In the future, YOU’LL HAVE SENSORS IN YOUR BED, YOUR SHOES, EVEN YOUR BLENDER…. all these devices will be MEASURING AND MONITORING YOUR FITNESS, YOUR DIET, EVEN YOUR SLEEP PATTERNS.
These sensors will communicate with other machines, and that will make it possible for you to have workouts tailored to your body.
SO–AS YOU KNOW, EVERBODY IS TALKING ABOUT THE INTERNET OF THINGS. WELL, THE LATEST MACHINE TO BE ADDED TO THE INTERNET OF THINGS CAN NOW BE YOU—YOUR BODY.
SEGMENT NINE: KICKER/FUTURIFFIC
And that brings me to a wearable that REALLY makes your body part of the Internet of Things, and that is the Nymi band (NIM-ee). It memorizes your heartbeat which is unique to you no matter what you’re doing. Most people don’t know that their heartbeat is unique just like a fingerprint. But because it is, the Nymi can send the “ok” signal to things you want to unlock, whether it’s a car door or a computer password or a hotel room or anything at all that needs a password or needs to be locked.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been running around or drinking coffee—and your heartrate is up— it still knows you are you.
So if you have trouble remembering all your passwords, take heart—no pun intended—because in the near future, your heart may unlock all those things for you. And what better way to end this week than with a story about heart.