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© lavitreiu-dreamstime.com General | August 14, 2013

Wearable electronics - the next big thing?

Wearable electronics is one of the new interesting industry emerging – while the concept might not be all that new, the amount of focus put in it sure is. And element14 is doing its part.
So what am I talking about? Well, its a competition, and out of 121 entries element14 has chosen eight competitors to build wearable electronics projects through to mid-September as part of its “Get Closer” Challenge.

The focus is encouraging design engineers and hobbyists alike to design a wearable project, using the Adafruit FLORA platform, and document their progress on the element14 community.

“We were thrilled with the response during the enrolment period and are looking forward to the results of the Get Closer Challenge,” said Global Head of Community Dianne Kibbey. “We’re excited to see what the finalists develop and how these ideas spark new ones.”

Adafruit Director of Wearable Electronics Becky Stern added, “Our participation in the ‘Get Closer’ Challenge has provided great opportunities to engage with makers, and we can’t wait to see the finalists bring their fun, unique project suggestions to life.”

Estimates show consumers will spend between $6 billion and $50 billion* on wearable technology in the next five years. First-generation wearables such as the Pebble watch and Google Glass have paved the way, so why wouldn’t anyone want to be a part of this market.

The finalists, as well as their location and design proposal, are listed below:
  • Katie Dumont (U.K.) – FLORA-powered compass sleeve
  • Leslie Birch (U.S.) – FLORAbrella with rain and rainbow-inspired light shows
  • Linda Kaspers (Netherlands) – Color-teaching children’s camera
  • Ryan Cain (U.S.) – FLORA baseball cap to track travel destinations
  • Chris Carter (U.S.) – Light-up costumes controlled by the FLORA microcontroller
  • Catherine Jones (U.K.) – Wearable feedback device for London Science Museum
  • Alex May (U.S.) – GPS glove
  • Bill Shaw (U.S.) – Roller coaster evaluation; geocaching; and health monitoring

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