Photograph by Peter Foley/Bloomberg

Wearable Tech

  1. Sergey Brin Wearing Google Glass
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    Sergey Brin Wearing Google Glass

    Google recently showed off its Google Glass headset at this year's South by Southwest technology festival in Austin, Tex., providing entrepreneurs and journalists with the opportunity to test the company's much-discussed augmented-reality glasses for the first time. While devices such as Glass are cool and futuristic-looking in a conference setting, their reception in the real world isn't necessarily positive. Google founder Sergey Brin was photographed sporting a pair on the New York subway in January, but other public displays of Glass haven't been met as warmly, so much so that a Seattle bar has banned patrons from wearing Glass under penalty of "ass kickings." Here, a look at 11 specimens of wearable technology.

    Photograph by Peter Foley/Bloomberg
  2. Google Glass
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    Google Glass

    Google unveiled the company's augmented-reality headset in April 2012. While Glass isn't the first head-mounted display, the product drew significant attention from journalists over its sleek design. Outside of media and technology circles, however, it's been criticized as weird and obtrusive. Google will likely release Glass to consumers in the fourth quarter of 2013.

    Courtesy Project Glass
  3. Calculator Watch
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    Calculator Watch

    First developed in the 1970s, the concept hit its heyday in the mid-’80s with the Casio Databank series. Police frontman Sting can be seen sporting a black Casio calculator watch on the cover of Wrapped Around Your Finger. Casio still makes the classic eight-digit calculator watch, although Urban Outfitters recently rolled out an updated version reminiscent of Casio’s original model.

    Photograph by Keystone/Getty Images
  4. Jawbone Up Wristband
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    Jawbone Up Wristband

    The plastic Up by Jawbone, best known for making Bluetooth earpieces, purports to offer a "holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle" by tracking your physical activity and delivering data and insights. Designed to monitor everything from your meals to your mood, the unobtrusive Up also allows users to share their results with friends.

    Courtesy Jawbone
  5. The Bluetooth Earpiece
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    The Bluetooth Earpiece

    Introduced in 2000, wireless earpieces let users take calls without fishing for their cell phones. The original Motorola devices emitted a distinctive blue LED glow when in use. They're useful while driving a car. They're not so great in a restaurant or other public place—the Bluetooth look even earned the mockery of Saturday Night Live.

    Courtesy Jawbone
  6. Pebble Watch
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    Pebble Watch

    Known as the best-funded Kickstarter project in history, Pebble Technology's lightweight smartwatch reaped around $10,266,844 from 68,928 donors. The device synchronizes wirelessly with smartphones, and can display text, music, or e-mail updates on a white e-paper display. Its simple, minimalist design has attracted legions of fans. Mass production started in January 2013.

    Courtesy Pebble Technology
  7. Smart Sneakers
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    Smart Sneakers

    We're still a ways off yet from having power-lacing shoes like Marty McFly's in Back to the Future Part II, but smart shoes are right around the corner. Nike's LEBRON X+ shoes interface directly with a special Nike+ Basketball app that allows users to measure their performance on the court. Apple's 2012 patent for "smart garments" has sketches for similarly tech-laden footwear, and Google showed off a prototype of talking shoes at this year's SXSW festival.

    Courtesy Nike Inc.
  8. Light-Up Dress
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    Light-Up Dress

    Samsung teamed up with the London College of Fashion in 2009 for a competition in innovative digital clothing design. The winner, 20-year-old Georgina Davies, developed a Bluetooth-wired cocktail dress that lights up with each incoming call. In 2010, designer Amanda Parkes developed the Twinkle Dress embroidered with LEDs and microphones that yielded colorful responses to ambient sounds. These one-off items are not available in stores.

    Photograph by Getty Images for Sony Ericsson
  9. Memoto
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    Memoto

    An around-the-neck pendant camera, unveiled at SXSW, that snaps photos at 30-second intervals. “It’s not only the stuff you thought you would want to remember,” Memoto founder Martin Kallstrom told the New York Times.“Ordinary moments can turn out to be special. But the only way to see that is to capture everything.” The 8 GB device costs $279 and comes with a year of free online photo storage.

    Courtesy Memoto
  10. Keyboard Pants
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    Keyboard Pants

    Design firm Nieuwel Heren's Beauty and the Geek trousers come equipped with a wireless mouse, keyboard, and speakers and can be easily tethered to a monitor via Bluetooth. Despite the innovative combination of fashion and functionality, PC World’s Elizabeth Fish notes that "the keyboard's placement might make you look a little odd while typing on it." There are no immediate plans to bring the product to retail, though Heren told WebProNews in 2012 that the estimated price would be $400.

    Courtesy Nieuwe Heren
  11. Sensor Suit
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    Sensor Suit

    STMicroelectronics unveiled a smart-suit prototype with motion sensors at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, geared to helping people with injuries recover faster and enhancing the performance of athletes. The suit is filled with multisensor nodes that capture details about how the body is moving. It's meant for researchers, and isn't available for retail.

    Courtesy STMicroelectronics NV
  12. Solar Charging Backpack
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    Solar Charging Backpack

    Voltaic Systems' solar-powered bags and backpacks are designed to help consumers charge their electronics on the go. Laced with solar panels, Voltaic's products range from $49 to $399 and work with mobile phones, tablets, and laptop computers. Voltaic's products are fairly effective—one hour in the sun yields three hours of talk time—but really only work if you spend a lot of time outdoors. City dwellers may be better off carrying an extra battery or charger.

    Courtesy Voltaic