It is late. You have a deadline tomorrow morning. The question “why didn’t I start earlier?” spooks through your head. * Bling * the screen of your phone lights up. Someone tagged you in a picture on Facebook. Let’s see what it is. You pick up your phone, unlock it and open the App. A picture of a cat in bed with a witty comment pops up. You chuckle and start scrolling down your Facebook feed. Fifteen minutes later you realize that you’ve just wasted more valuable time. That stupid phone. You want to put it in a drawer and just forget about it, but what if something important happens?
In the midst of the digital world we live in, there is a movement with people who want to return to a focus on real life. And what better way to cut down on online activities than to use technology…? Yes, that sounds contradicting indeed, but for a while now multiple companies have started producing useful technology disguised as beautiful jewelry with some kind of focus on our personal wellbeing. This technology is meant to make life less about being online instead of more.
Kate Unsworth is a woman who wants to go back to a life where we focus on the actual social conversations instead of social media. She figured that there must be a way for people to feel like they can put their phone away without having the fear of missing something important. That is why she designed Altruis, a semi-precious stone with a Bluetooth chip inside, placed in a ring, necklace or bracelet. Using the Altruis App you can choose what is important enough to you to give you a notification. These important things make your jewel vibrate subtly. It is supposed to help you stay focused and present in the moment.
“We see it more as fashionable technology than wearable technology,” says Christina Mercando, founder and CEO of Ringly, about her smart ring during a presentation on it. “With the wearable technology market growing to a billion dollar industry, these products need to evolve. They need to become more discreet, they need to be simplified and above all else they need to look good.” Ringly focuses on women, who usually carry their phones in their purses and therefore often miss important phone calls. With the vibrating and illuminating little ring they can get notifications when something they find important happens on their phones.
Cuff takes a different approach to wellbeing through wearable technology jewels by focusing on safety. The wearer of the elegant pendant can notify a few of her contacts about her whereabouts and the fact that she feels uneasy by pushing the golden jewel.
With all these new devices there is a clear focus on women. Apparently women want quality time, a feeling of safety and above all shiny beautiful things. The first wearable technology devices that entered the market all looked very masculine and where especially used as extension of the mobile phone or as health tracker. That is changing now. Companies even discovered that some people wear their technology even if it is not charged, states Sophie Charara at wareable.com. Celebrities like Beyoncé for instance have been spotted wearing an uncharged golden iWatch.
The need to be in constant contact with the online world came to a peak when technology companies started to encourage people to keep their online lives even closer by wearing it on their bodies. Google started the rage by producing a peculiar pair of glasses, which make it possible for the wearer to literary have a screen attached to their eyes. A more recent, and a bit less enthusiastic, piece of wearable technology is the smartwatch, with Apple’s iWatch as the most famous one. No need to miss a thing! And if you do not want to be online all the time, but just want to track your health all day every day, there are loads of devices that can do that for you. Which usually come in the form of bracelets.
Multiple designers and big fashion brands are aware of the potential of technology jewelry and anticipate to this by partnering up with wearable technology brands. Diane Von Fustenberg designed a stylish frame for the Google Glass, Tory Burch made a chic golden pendant for FitBit and Hermès created a deluxe edition of the iWatch. The realization that wearable technology needs to be beautiful and not merely functional has been around for a while already. The majority of people won’t wear it just because of its functionality.
Get your bling on and leave the cute cats for what they are.