Will there be self-lacing shoes in your future?

Hands-on with Nike’s self-lacing, app-controlled sneaker of the future.

Say hello to Adapt BB.

I flew across the country to Portland to experience the Adapt BB, Nike’s new self-lacing, Bluetooth-enabled sneakers, but the guy showing me around campus is wearing a pair of Zoom Flys that refuse to stay tied. Within 10 minutes of tying them, they’re untied again, flailing all over. I hate when people point out my untied shoes, but his feel intentional. Of course I notice the laces. Of course I point them out. He laughs and swears he’s not doing this on purpose, that Nike hasn’t deliberately set up my visit with a scene out of an infomercial fail.

The Adapt BB — the BB stands for “basketball” — build on Nike’s decades-long dream to create an auto-lacing smart shoe that adapts to wearers’ feet. The company wants to fundamentally change footwear and, of course, sell more shoes.

Imagine: your feet swell during a basketball game because you’ve been running back and forth on the court, and your sneakers detect your blood pressure. Instead of reaching down and untying your laces, the shoes loosen automatically. Never again will you have to fuss around with your laces because, guess what, your shoes already know what you want to do.

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The world’s first “artificial pancreas” already hit the market in 2017

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Good news for people with type 1 diabetes. In case you missed it, the first “artificial pancreas” was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is now ready for prime time.

Innovative medical technology company Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G is the first device to combine an automated glucose monitor and an insulin pump. It administers an accurate amount of insulin as needed and will also automatically shut off insulin release when a drop in sugar levels is detected. This minimizes the risks of taking too much or too little insulin, both of which can have fatal consequences.

Medtronic describes the MiniMed 670G as “the first hybrid closed loop system in the world.” The device only requires patients to input mealtime carbohydrates and calibrate the sensors periodically, allowing them to live life more freely. It also helps them sleep well through the night and wake up with healthy glucose levels.

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19 trends we’ll be obsessing over in 2019

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Last year was dizzying, with exciting moments that were both good (the Central Park duck! Lena Dunham’s comeuppance!) and bad (tiny sunglasses! market volatility!). But if the experts who track social change are to be believed, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Next year promises even bigger surprises both in real life and online…

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IBM fingernail sensor tracks health through your grip

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Its AI could detect the development of a disease.

The strength of your grip can frequently be a good indicator of your health, and not just for clearly linked diseases like Parkinson’s — it can gauge your cognitive abilities and even your heart health. To that end, IBM has developed a fingernail sensor that can detect your grip strength and use AI to provide insights. The device uses an array of strain gauges to detect the deformation of your nail as you grab objects, with enough subtlety to detect tasks like opening a pill bottle, turning a key or even writing with your finger.

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L’Oréal’s wearable sensor will track your UV exposure throughout the day

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L’Oréal has announced a wearable device that measures your exposure to ultraviolet radiation that can seriously damage your skin and eyes and potentially cause skin cancer. The La Roche-Posay My Skin Track UV sensor is designed to clip onto your clothes or bag, and it relies on NFC rather than Bluetooth to transmit its data, meaning it doesn’t require a battery to function. L’Oreal previously introduced a similar sensor that attached to your fingernail.

Despite the dangers of UV radiation, it can be very difficult to know exactly how much you’re being exposed to. UVA rays can penetrate clouds and glass, which means you’re probably exposed to them more than you think. L’Oréal’s sensor has the potential to educate people about how often they’re being exposed, although it won’t solve the problem of people not using enough sunscreen in response.

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L’Oréal’s wearable sensor will track your UV exposure throughout the day

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It even integrates with Apple’s HealthKit.

L’Oréal has announced a wearable device that measures your exposure to ultraviolet radiation that can seriously damage your skin and eyes and potentially cause skin cancer. The La Roche-Posay My Skin Track UV sensor is designed to clip onto your clothes or bag, and it relies on NFC rather than Bluetooth to transmit its data, meaning it doesn’t require a battery to function. L’Oreal previously introduced a similar sensor that attached to your fingernail.

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A stretchy stick-on patch can take blood pressure readings from deep inside your body

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The flexible stamp can collect data that usually requires bulky, invasive equipment.

The last time you had your blood pressure checked, it was probably at a doctor’s office with a bulky cuff wrapped around your arm. One day soon, perhaps, you will just need a simple stick-on patch on your neck, no bigger than a postage stamp.

That’s the goal of Sheng Xu and his team at the University of California, San Diego, who are working on a patch that can continuously measure someone’s central blood pressure—the pressure of blood coursing beyond your aorta, the artery in your heart that delivers blood to all the different parts of the body. It could make it a lot easier to monitor heart conditions and keep an eye on other vital organs like the liver, lungs, and brain.

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Japan’s new solar-powered “Second Skin” device revolutionizes wearable tech

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It looks more like a band-aid than a watch.

Advances in wearable tech have been pretty impressive lately, but the device described in a new Nature study blows the competition out of the water. While the Apple Watch is now equipped with an FDA-approved EKG sensor and companies like Samsung are going out of their way to make smartwatches look like fashion statements, the device described in the paper, published Wednesday, puts both to shame. This heart-sensing device has no wires, requires no charging, and is so small that it can wrap around a rat’s heart.

Study co-author Kenjiro Fukuda, Ph.D., a research scientist at Japan’s RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science is quick to say that his device represents a big step forward for wearables. It looks more like a band-aid than a watch, and it’s thinner than a piece of cardboard.

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Lex folding wearable chair lets you take a seat anywhere

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Imagine if anytime, anywhere you felt a little fatigued in the legs you could simply lean back and take a load off? The developers of Lex are working towards such a future with a folding exoskeleton that turns into an ergonomic chair in just a few seconds.

Lex is much like Chairless Chair we looked at back in March, in that it is essentially a seat that you wear and carry around with you. Where the Chairless Chair is aimed at factory workers in need of respite, Lex seems to be designed with all day, everyday use in mind.

Adhering to its owner with just a waist strap and two leg straps, Lex is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and weighs just over a kilogram (2.2 lb). When the user is on the go, it folds up into a neat, slimline package that allows full freedom of movement.

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What are smart glasses?

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Google Glass made smart glasses a reality, but what are they, really?.

It wasn’t that long ago when a doctor’s prescription and one’s physical limitations were the only uses for eyewear. But now, eyeglasses have gone high tech with smart glasses: eye glasses with a mini computer inside that displays information right on the lens(es).

Eyeglass usefulness began with the need to simply read things more easily. It eventually extended to shield the eyes from the sun and, even more recently, as a simple fashion statement. But the 21st century has other plans for the wearable accessory — and they’re the most innovative yet.

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The first graphene jacket is here, and it’s magical

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At 595 euros ($695) a pop, Vollebak’s new graphene jacket isn’t for everyone. But if even half of what its creators promise is true, it could be worth every cent. According to the company, it shares many of the magical properties of graphene–absorbing heat and then warming you up over time, conducting electricity, repelling bacteria, and dissipating your body’s excess humidity. According to Vollebak, it’s the world’s first jacket made out of the notoriously difficult-to-manufacture material.

Graphene is the thinnest possible form of graphite, which you can find in your everyday pencil. It’s purely bi-dimensional, a single layer of carbon atoms that has unbelievable properties that will one day revolutionize everything from aerospace engineering to medicine. Its diverse uses are seemingly endless: It can stop a bullet if you add enough layers. It can change the color of your hair with no adverse effects. It can turn the walls of your home into a giant fire detector. “It’s so strong and so stretchy that the fibers of a spider web coated in graphene could catch a falling plane,” as Vollebak puts it in its marketing materials.

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Exoskeletons debut at Ford factories

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Staff will now be augmented by exoskeletons in Ford factories across the world.

Following successful trials, Ford will now offer employees the use of exoskeletons to reduce the strain of factory work.

Despite the emergence of Industry 4.0, smart factories, sensors, and data analytics, much of the heavy-duty operations of today’s industrial and manufacturing still rely heavily on human input.

Over time, the physical demand of such work can cause injury, muscle stress, and accidents.

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