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Entertainment

Viral Style: Night Vision Contacts, Cellphones-Turned-Drones, And A Tool To Never Lose Your Wallet Again

Viral style #46 brings you some crazy ideas that maybe the world doesn't technically need (but who cares?).

by Charlotte McManus and William Edwin Wright
Apr 11 2014, 1:45pm

TECH-ENABLED SKIN OF THE WEEK

You might have heard of tight-fitting clothing that feels like a second skin—but what about an electronic device that actually works together with your skin? In America, two university professors (Yonggang Huang at Northwestern University and John A. Rogers at the University of Illinois) have teamed up to develop a soft, lightweight electronic patch that's stuck on the surface of the skin, allowing for wireless health monitoring using commercial chip-based tech. Beats the free pedometer that comes with your phone, I guess.

MUSIC-MAKING SOFT ACCESSORY OF THE WEEK

Remember Imogen Heap? Well, even if you weren't a fan of her music back then, looks like she's been pretty busy over the last few years, working on a new Kickstarter accessories project alongside Mi. Mu. Themed around the fusion of interactive sound control with a wearable element, these gloves register finger gestures/hand movements and map the information to musical control messages, effectively freeing people from the drag of being stuck behind a computer screen when creating tracks. Users can then wirelessly transmit the directions to music software like Logic Pro via the x-OSC board on the accessoru, allowing for complex sound control with just the flick of the wrist. Handy.

COLOR-CHANGING SPORTS GEAR OF THE WEEK

Another Kickstarter project, Radiate Athletics is a brand that's all about harnessing the heat your body generates during exercise to maximise your workout potential—whilst making a vibrant fashion statement (well, kinda). Each garm uses re-engineered NASA technology to create colourful thermal vision on the fabric, visually conveying the temperature changes in the wearer's body as he/she pumps iron. The textile also utilizes heat management to keep gym rats cool and even incorporates a technology-driven sewing pattern to fit to the body perfectly. Impressive as all this sounds, this is one trend that's probably lost on all us twice-a-year exercisers out there.

WI-FI TRACKABLE ACCESSORIES OF THE WEEK

Speaking as someone who's had to cancel six misplaced debit cards in as many months (no, really), there really is nothing more annoying than realizing you've lost an essential piece of kit when you're out and about. Enter Parabellum, a high-end accessories label that has incorporated TrackR tech into their latest leather-based collection to ensure you'll never lose your wallet or keys again. Each design can be tracked wirelessly through a hookup to the TrackR app, meaning you can be (nearly) as careless as you want with your stuff.

TRICKED-OUT CONTACT LENSES OF THE WEEK

While contact lenses can be a right pain in the arse for those who need to wear them, researchers at the University of Michigan are looking into new ways to enhance these optic tools with a 2.0 reboot. Utilizing graphene (a compressed layer of carbon atoms), said scientists have managed to develop an infrared sensor that could potentially be used to create lenses with night vision capabilities. This lightweight, super-thin technology could also be applied to smart phones. Just imagine the possibilities: seeing in the dark, going for walks at night spying on your neigh—well, you get the idea.

WEIRD FLYING ACCESSORY OF THE WEEK

Why not treat yourself to a bizarre new accessory for your smartphone this weekend? 'ORBIT' is a device designed to give your mobile wings through the use of miniature motors, so it can hover alongside you wherever you go (easy access for both you AND all your local pickpockets). Its creator, Thomas King, asserts that ORBIT can be voice-controlled, and is able to take pictures, make calls and play music accordingly. #lazeelyf