Wearable technology is unleashed

Courtesy of www.weartechdesign.com

First there was the freedom of streaming data via a device that can be worn on the body. Now, wearable technology is taking another step forward with new ways to transmit data, freeing up the wearer and developer.

By Caroline Hayes

u-blox-ub053fig1Two recent announcements promise to change the way wearable technology is worn and used.

The first is news that Whereable Technologies will release RiskBand, the first personal safety device that does not have to be connected to a cell phone, later this year.

The bracelet can be used to summon help, and to steam audio and images and is one of the first devices to incorporate the SARA-U201, penta-band HSPA/GSM cellular module from u-blox.

Available with a two-year subscription service, wearers will be able reach the RiskBand Emergency Response team from anywhere that has cellular service. The bracelet incorporates the cellular module, claimed to be the smallest to support both 2G and 3G connectivity. It also has global radio regulatory approvals. U-blox’s GPS smart-antenna module with omni-directional reception is also incorporated, for location-based functions.

The second item that caught my eye, was the contactless payment ring, by NFCRing. Worn on a finger, it can make proximity payments using near field communication (NFC) and is based on a contactless security chip from Infineon Technologies. It is claimed to be the first EMVco-compliant ring available for short-range, secure transactions with EMVco members, such as American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, UnionPay and Visa.
The ring is waterproof and also has a passive, contactless antenna so that the security chip can communicate with the terminal to trigger the secured payment and initiate cryptographic processing.

The ring operates at a distance of up to 40mm from a reader, or as we shoppers would say, less than the length of a shoe box!

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