Wearable Tech To Make Winter A Little More Bearable

Wearable_Tech_1Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Introducing LadyBits, an ultra-cool collective of tech journalists who look at the world with smart, lady lenses. And since we're always in the market for the best stuff out there, we'll feature its know-how on the regular. Below, check out one of LadyBits' innovator spotlights, prepared especially for Refinery29.
The temperatures are dropping, the snow is falling, and all you want to do is stay warm and get to wherever it is you’re going as fast as possible. Is there wearable tech out there to help you accomplish this? While wearable tech is, more often than not, clunky, unattractive, unnecessary, and sexist — not to mention over-hyped — smartwear that’s both functional and pleasing to eye does exist. Here at LadyBits, we’ve made it our goal to track it down. Behold, some basic winter tech products we’ll probably all own in the next year or so.

Musical Muffs
Something on your head to keep you warm is a no-brainer. A hat is an okay option, but UGG’s Leather and Shearling Tech Earmuffs work just as well while sans the dreaded hat hair. These earmuffs are basically plush headphones in disguise and are fantastically warm. I was able to try out a friend’s pair, and despite the thickness of the fabric, the music playing through her iPhone wasn’t particularly muffled.

Anti-Surveillance Scarf
Is there a smart tech scarf out there that does more than keep you warm? Kelly Bourdet alerted Ladybits to the “Anti-Drone Scarf,” designed by Adam Harvey, currently on sale at the New York City’s New Museum Online Shop. Not only is this scarf is anti-drone, but it's anti-surveillance, as it “protects against thermal imaging,” a technology used by UAVs and drones. The garment does this by reflecting and masking your body heat, a feat made possible by its metallic threads. It’s not entirely unattractive, given the current metallic fashion trend. And, yes, it's downright bizarre.

Wearable_Tech_2Illustrated by Sydney Hass.

Computing-Friendly Gloves
Admit it — you might risk frostbite to check your email. Thanks to technology, you don’t have to suffer with frozen digits while you dial numerical ones. There are a few options currently on the market for smartphone-friendly gloves, so forget those fingerless ones with the retractable mitten part and head straight to the ones that keep your whole hands insulated. Dutch design company Mujjo makes a pair of knitted gloves with a subtle metallic shine. On first inspection, they feel just like any other glove, but the metallic shine produced by “high-quality silver-coated nylon fibers” is what enables your smartphone to detect your touch.

I took the pair for a test drive during a freezing night in Chicago, and my hands stayed warm enough. Unlike other gloves on the market which have little leather pads on the fingertips, these allowed me to use my knuckle and all parts of my hand. Their size “small” was a smidge too big for my hands, which created a problem when typing on the touchscreen (autocorrect can only do so much). But, ultimately these gloves win in both fashion and function.

Navigation Jacket
By now, you may realize we’re going for the full wearable tech outfit. Wearable Technologies has a Navigate jacket that keeps you from getting lost with vibrating shoulder pads and sleeves that light up. You input your destination into the associated app, and the jacket does the rest, even finding the best route to a friend who is also wearing a Navigate jacket. It doesn’t look too warm (read: definitely not Chicago winter-proof) but could prove useful for a drunken night out on the town once the jacket expands beyond “retail exploration.” The Navigate jacket is the flashiest option of the bunch, but could be worn all season long, so long as you can get past the whole vibrating shoulders bit.

Battery Boots
What if your winter boots did more than keep your toes warm and dry? Orange Power Wellies, rain boots designed by Orange and GotWind, recharge your phone with a renewable energy source: the heat of your feet. The sole of the boot generates energy from the temperature difference of your feet and the outside environment and stores that energy in the heel of the boot. The colder the environment the faster the “power generating sole” creates electricity. As functional and attractive as they are, Orange Power Wellies are still in prototype and not available for retail yet. This is probably due to the tough combo of electronics and rain, but still, it’s been four years and I want them now. Maybe put the slot for the phone inside the boot?

This post was authored by Fruzsina Eördögh.

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