Fitbit’s Charge 4 can wake you up when you feel well-rested

You now have more reasons to wear your Fitbit Charge 4 around the clock. The 9to5Google team reports (via The Verge) that a Charge 4 update has introduced two major features to improve your sleep habits and encourage more exercise. Smart Wake sets al...

Facebook just demonstrated what they claim is the world’s thinnest VR headset

Looking at this rudimentary prototype, one wouldn’t assume that a device so thin could be Facebook’s new stab at a consumer-grade VR headset. The company only recently announced it would be terminating sales and support of Oculus Go, its affordable VR headset… and that left a pretty obvious void in Oculus’s catalog of products. The creative minds sitting in Facebook’s Reality Labs (FRL), however, have been working on making VR headsets less clunky/bulky, and more like something you’d want to carry around and wear at work or at home.

Demonstrated at this year’s virtual SIGGRAPH conference, Facebook Reality Lab’s latest prototype VR wearable is, to mildly put it, ridiculously thin, measuring at just around 9mm. Designed to look like a pair of wayfarers, these glasses actually hold display units inside them, and Facebook’s research in viewing optics technology has helped them condense the headset from something that feels like a toaster strapped to your face, to a pair of frames that look like a pretty slick pair of shades.

So how is this even possible? How did Facebook manage to shrink a state-of-the-art headset into something that’s 9mm thick? Well, FB’s research blog’s been kind enough to release a GIF that shows exactly how the spectacles create the illusion of distance between the eyes and the display. It’s sort of similar to how binoculars work, in which mirrors are used to make a beam of light take a longer path within a small chamber. FB’s prototype headset, however, doesn’t use mirrors, but rather relies on a holographic lens. You see, a VR headset has three main components – a source of light (e.g., LEDs), a display panel that brightens or dims the light to form an image (e.g., an LCD panel), and a viewing optic that focuses the image far enough away so that the viewer’s eyes can see it (e.g., a plastic lens). LED and LCD panels can easily be compressed into slim modules that are paper-thin, but the trick has always been to make lenses thinner, and to reduce the large gap between the lens and the image. The prototype headset’s revolutionary holographic lens achieves this impossible feat by not just being thin, but by also creating the illusion of distance in a way that feels like the screen, that’s literally right in front of you, is a couple of feet away (there’s a demo GIF below too). This headset, for now, exists only in a prototype stage as the guys at Facebook’s Reality Labs try to work out the kinks in the design, from creating LED/LCD panels that are high-resolution and eye-strain-free, to accommodating other components like chipsets and batteries into the headset’s slim design.

“While it points toward the future development of lightweight, comfortable, and high-performance AR/VR technology, at present our work is purely research. In our technical paper, we identify the current limitations of our proposed display architecture and discuss future areas of research that will make the approach more practical. To our knowledge, our work demonstrates the thinnest VR display demonstrated to date, and we’re excited to see what the future holds”, say the guys at FRL.

Designer: Facebook Reality Labs

3D print this NASA wearable that prevents you from touching your face!

The pandemic COVID-19 is still plaguing our world and that means we still need to make sure we don’t touch our faces, wear masks, wash our hands. We don’t even realize that we touch our face up to 2000 times a day which is a fundamental behavior of our species to self-soothe according to psychologists. Changing habits is hard enough already, and changing inherent habits while we adjust to bigger life changes might sound near impossible. So NASA has designed Pulse, a DIY wearable necklace that warns you when you are about to touch your face.

NASA isn’t selling these directly, but Jet Propulsion Laboratory has made the 3D-printed concept available as an open-source project so anyone can make this smart wearable for their own health and safety. It works on a simple mechanism – the necklace has a sensor that detects when the user lifts their hands towards their face and it will vibrate to warn them using power from a common button battery. This vibration is a reminder for the user to not touch their face and soon establishes the muscle memory required to turn this into a new behavioral pattern. All the necessary STL files, the list of the parts you’ll need, and the assembly instructions have been made freely available for anyone to make these. Apart from the 3D printer and having the knowledge of basic electrical DIY skills, all the components are easy to source and if you want to learn then YouTube is always there as a resource.

This isn’t a 100% prevention but an aid that goes along with masks, sanitizers, regular hand-washing, and staying home to minimize your chance of contracting the virus to as low as you possibly can. Please wear masks when you go out in public for essential errands or even a stroll, and try to use reusable cloth masks so that health professionals and workers on the frontline can get the priority for disposable PPE which is still in short supply. As Batman said, “I don’t wear a mask to protect myself, I wear it to protect those around me.”

Designers: NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Gucci takes on esports fashion with a $1,600 Fnatic dive watch

Gucci doesn’t want to sit by the wayside while Louis Vuitton corners the (apparently substantial) market for esports fashion. It just introduced a limited edition, Fnatic-branded dive watch — no, not a smartwatch, a quartz timepiece. It not-so-subtly...

This wearable umbrella is designed to keep you and your belongings dry in rains!

The rains bring with it a feeling of comfort – there is nothing quite as relaxing as curling up with a book and hot cuppa with the rain gently pattering on your window. That is unless you’re stuck out in the rain, wetting everything from your head to your toes and the contents of your bag along with it! To save us from the pain of being caught in the unprecedented rain, Anna Cserba designed the After You umbrella.

The After You umbrella is a multipurpose product designed to save you from the rains and to help you carry stuff when the skies are clear! Anna, a student at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest, created this design as a part of her design course. The aim of the course is to completely redesign an everyday object – an umbrella in this case. The After You revolutionizes the humble umbrella in quite a few ways – first is by making the design hands-free! One of the most tedious things about carrying the umbrella is the juggling act of holding onto your umbrella with one hand with the tons of stuff we carry in our hands. By wearing the product over your shoulders like a backpack, After You leaves your hands free to answer back to that text or browse your phone. The next thing we love about this design is the foldable design – the five layers made from rigid polycarbonate layers fold and unfold to form a cocoon that keeps you protected. When not in need, the After You umbrella can be carried around with ease – either on your back or on the side where it doubles up as a bag to hold your shopping!

Wearing it almost like a bag, the After You umbrella keeps you and your bag safe and dry. Comfortable, lightweight, and is extremely resistant to mechanical impacts, the After You acts almost like a wearable shield, meeting our futuristic, multi-purposing needs while keeping us safe on a rainy day and in the sunshine!

Designer: Anna Cserba

WatchOS 7 is Apple’s best chance to get me to switch from Android

“Oh shit, all this is making me want to switch to Apple.” I actually Slacked my colleague that as I watched Apple’s WWDC keynote. I first felt the longing when I saw the changes coming to Messages in iOS 14, though as an Android user I was less impre...

Apple’s watchOS 7 includes sleep tracking and an upgraded Fitness app

Apple has previewed watchOS 7, and it’s clear the company is bent on addressing some longstanding omissions. For one, it finally has sleep tracking — you can not only choose to wind things down on both your Apple Watch and your iPhone, but measure th...

Your Apple watch gets a nostalgic vibe with this iPod-inspired watch case!

Is that a new iPod?! Nope! It’s the new Apple Watch in its coolest, old-schoolest external case yet! Joyce Kang and C.O Design Lab’s Pod Case gives the Apple Watch a much-needed history lesson, introducing it to the ancestor that started the Apple craze. The watch’s screen roughly matches the screen size found in classic iPod Nanos, while its body is only a slight bit thicker. The Pod Case, made in silicone, slides right over the Apple Watch body, giving it a funky throwback, while also letting you use the watch as-is.

With Apple’s WWDC only a day away, we are expecting to be shocked and awed in equal measures. On the other hand, it’s a very comfortable feeling to use the latest tech with a product we have loved for a while. Obviously, the jog-wheel on the front is a dummy one (although it could work if it connected via Bluetooth), but the watch can easily be navigated using the touch-screen. Besides, this one comes with heavy-duty speakers of its own too!

Designers: Joyce Kang & C.O Design Lab

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This article was sent to us using the ‘Submit A Design’ feature.
We encourage designers/students/studios to send in their projects to be featured on Yanko Design!

This wearable mouse ring is designed to work at the tap of your fingers!

Ever since we all started working from home, the objects that would otherwise go unnoticed have gotten so much attention now – especially if they are related to making WFH more comfortable. Innovative mouse designs are the latest trend in the design world and this one certainly blows our mind because it looks nothing like a mouse! This wearable fitness tracker-looking ring is actually a mouse designed to be as lightweight as possible so there isn’t excess load on your joints.

Usually, users experience the inconvenience of wrist pain, stiff fingers, or aching finger joints when using the traditional mouse. The weight and shape of the mouse initially don’t seem worth investing in for the user till these issues arise and that is what the designer wanted to address through the ring mouse. The PC market continues to grow and it means the need for an ergonomic lightweight mouse like this ring exists stronger than before as people take more notice of their health and well being. The ring mouse’s design works intuitively, it reacts to the movements of the fingertips and does not interfere with the natural movement of the wrist since it is a wearable ring. Due to its unique shape for a mouse, it makes the experience smoother while reducing the stress on your wrists as it won’t be awkwardly bent at an angle for hours!

The ring has sensors which provide the functionality of a mouse such as ‘click’, ‘sweep’, ‘scroll’ through different gestures that are similar to how we use the trackpads on a laptop. You only require two fingers to operate this mouse as opposed to your whole palm and it is more versatile – you can use it everywhere freely like on top of a desk or on your legs, it doesn’t need a specific pad or surface. You can continue using your keyboard while wearing the ring mouse, just tap the end of the inside twice to disconnect so it won’t misinterpret any gestures.

Designer: Ijhoo Yoon

This article was sent to us using the ‘Submit A Design’ feature.

We encourage designers/students/studios to send in their projects to be featured on Yanko Design!