Issue 11 preview: Factor Magazine takes on wearable technology

By the time 2020 comes around there will be more than 100 million pieces of wearable technology worn by people around the world, it has been predicted.

Whether this massive level of growth becomes a reality or not,  there’s no doubt that the number of wearables that are available is rising. The launch of the most talked about wearable device, the Apple Watch, is imminent and its release may indeed kick-start the road to 100 million wearables.

Issue 11 of Factor Magazine takes on wearable technology to see how it is developing and where some of the most innovative advances are coming from.

From fashion to medical applications we look at some of the most likely uses for wearables and how they are already emerging today, and cast our gaze further forward to see where the wearable tech industry could be heading in the future.

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Not all wearables are visible to the naked eye, so we also take a look at those that are hidden in plain sight. We explore ideas for incorporating sensors into fabrics and clothes, and find out which new manufacturing challenges are emerging at the point where the worlds of electronics and fashion collide.

One sector that is already incorporating sensors into clothing is the sports industry.

We find out how fitness monitoring and augmented reality are being used as part of training by professional sports clubs and athletes.

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Haptic feedback is fast becoming a tech of choice when it comes to the more subtle, hands-off wearables, as it allows us to escape screens and be led by the sense of touch. Factor asks if haptics could be the future of wearable interaction.

We also investigate how wearable technology has sparked a growing trend of the quantified self. We can gather more data than ever before about ourselves, our movements, the food we eat and more – but is the data any use and will we stick with it in the long term?

As well as this there’s the latest news, reviews and more from Factor Magazine.


Issue 11 will be out next week and will be available to read online, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

In the meantime, why not take a look at the current issue, where we look at everything to do with Transhumanism.


Wanted man captured thanks to facial recognition

A Chinese man who was wanted by police for “economic crimes” – which can include anything from tax evasion to the theft of public property – was arrested at a music concert in China after facial recognition technology spotted him inside the venue.

Source: Abacus News

SpaceX president commits to city-to-city rocket travel

SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell has reiterated the company’s plans to make city-to-city travel — on Earth — using a rocket that’s designed for outer space a reality. Shotwell says the tech will be operational “within a decade, for sure.”

Source: Recode

Businessman wins battle with Google over 'right to be forgotten'

A businessman fighting for the "right to be forgotten" has won a UK High Court action against Google.. The businessman served six months’ in prison for “conspiracy to carry out surveillance”, and the judge agreed to an “appropriate delisting order".

Source: Press Gazette

UK launched cyber attack on Islamic State

The UK has conducted a "major offensive cyber campaign" against the Islamic State group, the director of the intelligence agency GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, has revealed. The operation hindered the group's ability to co-ordinate attacks and suppressed its propaganda.

Source: BBC

Goldman Sachs consider whether curing patients is bad for business

Goldman Sachs analysts have attempted to tackle the question of whether pioneering "gene therapy" treatment will be bad for business in the long run. "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" analysts ask in a report entitled "The Genome Revolution."

Source: CNBC

Four-armed robot performing surgery in the UK

A £1.5m "robotic" surgeon, controlled using a computer console, is being used to shorten the time patients spend recovering after operations. The da Vinci Xi machine is the only one in the country being used for upper gastrointestinal surgery.

Source: BBC

Virgin Galactic rocket planes go past the speed of sound

Virgin Galactic completed its first powered flight in nearly four years when Richard Branson's space company launched its Unity spacecraft, which reached supersonic speeds before safely landing. “We’ve been working towards this moment for a long time,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said in an email to Quartz.

Source: Quartz

Google employees protest being in "the business of war"

Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses AI to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter, which is circulating inside Google, has garnered more than 3,100 signatures

Source: New York Times

Computer system transcribes words users “speak silently”

MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that transcribes words that the user verbalises internally but does not actually speak aloud. The wearable device picks up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalisations — saying words “in your head” — but are undetectable to the human eye.

Source: MIT News

Drones could be used to penalise bad farming

A report by a coalition of environmental campaigners is arguing squadrons of drones should be deployed to locate and penalise farmers who let soil run off their fields. Their report says drones can help to spot bad farming, which is said to cost more than £1.2bn a year by clogging rivers and contributing to floods.

Source: BBC

Californian company unveil space hotel

Orion Span, a California company, has unveiled its Aurora Station, a commercial space station that would house a luxury hotel. The idea is to put the craft in low-earth orbit, about 200 miles up, with a stay at the hotel likely to cost $9.5 million for a 12-day trip, but you can reserve a spot now with an $80,000 deposit.

UK mobile operators pay close to £1.4bn for 5G

An auction of frequencies for the next generation of mobile phone networks has raised £1.36bn, says regulator Ofcom. Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three all won the bandwidth needed for the future 5G mobile internet services, which are not expected to be launched until 2020.

Source: BBC