What’s the coolest wearable technology to debut in 2014 and why do you think it’s a game changer?
The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. The Apple Watch
It hasn’t technically debuted yet, but the Apple Watch is already changing the game. For most technology analysts, the adoption of wearable devices is a question of if, not when. One of the major roadblocks for most wearable tech is that it doesn’t look very cool. Google Glass typifies this issue. The Apple Watch shows that wearables can be sexy, and that may be enough to push them mainstream. – Brian Honigman, BrianHonigman.com
2. Oculus Rift
With products like Google Glass, buyers often have to justify some level of practicality — but not with Oculus Rift. By lending itself to more “pure entertainment” applications, the headset has a much wider target. – Sam Saxton, Salter Spiral Stair and Mylen Stairs
3. Misfit Shine
The Misfit Shine has a great minimalist design that makes it really stand out among wearable fitness and activity trackers, and it’s one of the few that can also be worn while swimming. I’ve never seen a fitness tracker with such a long battery life either — four months on a single battery! It’s stylish, tracks my activity in the pool, and the charge lasts forever. – Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com
4. Wearable Solar
The wearable tech I’m really excited about is the kind that offers value outside the normal parameters of a personal device. The best application of this idea that I’ve seen has come from Wearable Solar, a Dutch company that designs clothes with flexible solar cells woven in. If the technology can be scaled right, we could see sidewalks full of people generating and storing their own (green) energy. – Jeff Fernandez, Grovo Learning, Inc.
5. Sensoria Clothing
Sensoria developed a line of shirts, sports bras and socks with embedded textile sensors that gather data about your fitness performance. They are machine-washable and fit like traditional clothing. With their minimalist design, they are paving the way for other wearables that provide significant data without requiring a fashion statement or change in lifestyle. – Jyot Singh, RTS Labs
6. The Samsung Gear S
As the first SIM-bearing device from a major original equipment manufacturer, the Samsung Gear S is packed with innovations that I believe will define what this market will do. (This doesn’t include the Apple Watch because it hasn’t debuted yet.) – Ioannis Verdelis, Fleksy
7. Katia Vega’s Beauty Technology
WIRED Magazine had a fascinating feature earlier this year about computer science PhD student Katia Vega, who has created prototypes for smart eyelashes, eyeliner and fingernails that can control technology, like remotes for drones. Katia’s work is inspired by movie special effects, but has so many real-life applications. Read more about what they call “motion control makeup” in the article. – Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.
8. Fitbit Charge
The Fitbit Charge truly has it all; it keeps me fully accountable for my own health. It not only monitors my fitness and health information both instantaneously and over time, but it also tracks sleep, syncs to computers and phones wirelessly, and has an absurdly long battery life. Plus, the Caller ID function is a cool added bonus that makes me think we’re truly living in the future. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep
9. MYO’s New Armband
MYO’s new gesture control armband is great! It allows you to control your devices remotely by analyzing the muscles in your forearm. It can be used in gaming, to control quadrotors and to change the volume on your laptop. – Randy Rayess, VenturePact
I’m still waiting for mine — the excitement for Ringly is that it has meaningful functionality (curating messages so that I can focus on what matters) in a design that reads as fashionable, elegant and beautiful; not techie. – Mona Patel, Motivate Design
11. Moto 360 Android Watch
Google’s Android watches are here already — out in the marketplace driving new app development and adding value to the Android ecosystem (unlike the future iWatch). Motorola’s 360 watch was the first Android Wear device that actually looks like a watch. It’s driving apps to function on it while encouraging new watch designs and creativity that the smartwatch industry really needed to attract. – Robby Hill, HillSouth