Here at T3.com we are totally enthused by the emerging field of wearable tech. There are some really innovative products out there - such as the Fitbit Charge HR, Apple Watch and GoPro Quick Clip - and, without doubt, wearables are not suddenly just going to go away. That said however, there are also some absolute monstrosities on the market that both insult you in terms of functionality and pillage you financially, plundering your wallet like a drunken pirate.
Here we round up some of the weirdest and worst wearables that you should definitely steer well clear of.
One ring to control it all? No, not by a long shot.
We kick things off with a real doozy of a bad product. In fact, the Logbar Ring is now infamous for drumming up over $880,000 on Kickstarter, only to then pour it all away developing what some reviewers called ‘the worst product ever made’. The Ring promised to allow you to ‘Shortcut Everything’, using the ring to execute a series of gestures to control the tech world around you. Everything from opening the camera on your smartphone to controlling the lights and television in your home was reportedly possible and, in partnership with a slick marketing video, people bought the Ring en-masse despite its outrageous $269 price tag.
The Logbar Ring is certainly not small or, reportedly, in any way a good, functioning product.
In reality however, the Ring barely functioned. Not only was it so big that it actually prevented its users from closing or bending their fingers fully, but the gestures barely ever worked. One reviewer stated that they worked ‘about five per cent of the time’ and, when they did work, they necessitated the Ring app on the user’s smartphone to be not only active but open and running constantly. As such, every time a user wanted to, say, open their camera app on their smartphone, instead of just tapping on the camera app, instead they needed to unlock the phone, open the Ring app, wait for it to actually open, wait for the Bluetooth connection to the Ring to take place and only then execute the command gesture. Of course, they then needed to repeat the last step multiple times until the gesture was finally detected. Not much of a shortcut!
You'll certainly stand out from the crowd with a 3RDi!
From finger to forehead now as we delve into the weird alternate world of a wearable that is currently attempting to raise $250,000 on Indiegogo. The 3RDi is, according to its marketing material, ‘a techwear device that allows you to enjoy your present moment while capturing it’. What that means in terms of real world hardware is a headband with embedded camera in the front. Yep, that’s it. Details are sketchy on the quality and type of camera delivered on the 3RDi, however 3RDiTEK, the makers, do state that it is a HD 1080p 30+ FPS camera capable of taking still photos and videos. Apparently by tapping or swiping on the 3RDi’s band dictates whether you take a photo or start shooting a video.
For those rare times when you're not wearing the 3RDi, the makers suggest you 'just hang it round your neck.'
The thing is though, who is seriously going to walk round with that cyclops-style centre eye protruding from their forehead? Maybe in an alternate reality that guy in the photo above is you, your best mate and your mother, with all of them recording every element of their exciting, glamorous lifestyles in beautiful cyclopean fidelity. From our experience with head-mounted cameras however, there usage is, in the real world, far more restrictive. Look, here at T3.com we understand the desire for hands-free experiences, but not at $194 (that price only available to those who crowdfund the project; the 3RDi will retail at ‘between $450 and $500’ for the general public; postage is not included) and certainly not based on some vague promises of potential fidelity. Unfortunately for the 3RDi, right now it has only raised just over 1 per cent of its funding goal, with pledges currently sitting at $2,698.
That's right, the guy on the left is playing his pants as a drum.
Have you ever just been sitting there, sipping your frappé, and suddenly thought ‘I must drum right here and right now.’ If you answered yes, then if you had been wearing a pair of DrumPants 2.0 you’d have been in luck, as you’d be able to smack out a beat right there on your Levi. Yes, thanks to some industrious and just plain bonkers chaps at DrumPants Inc you can now convert your clothes into a musical instrument, with a series of flexible drumpads capable of being strapped within your trousers of choice. The drumpads are each equipped with two velocity-sensitive MIDI / OSC triggers and, as they are connected to a small wearable control box, allow a wide variety of scales to be utilised.
You are supposed to slot these flexible drum pads into or around your pants.
Unlike some of the other wearables in this roundup, you’ve got to at least tip your hat to the guys at DrumPants Inc for creating a wearable product that works, however… just what? DrumPants? How many Tequila Slammers did you have to consume before you landed on the idea of wearable drums within your pants? Maybe if you’re a musician - most likely a drummer - and you want to experiment or incorporate a one-man band-style ‘bit’ into one of your shows then they might have some usage, but if you're the other 99.99 per cent of the population then here at T3.com we severely doubt you’ll get much out of your $189.99 investment (for the Pro Kit; the Neil Peart edition is $269.99).
Belty Good Vibes
Belty Good Vibes apparently 'plugs you into the present moment'.
Yes, you read that right, this smart belt is called ‘Belty Good Vibes’. It’s also made out of French leather, rumbles when you’ve sat down for too long and loosens or tightens depending on whether you are sitting, standing or stuffing yourself with chips. According to Emiota, the maker, Belty Good Vibes ‘empowers you to know yourself better, by reinforcing your ability to connect to your visceral knowledge. Communicating via vibrations with your sense of touch, it plugs you into the present moment. Belty Good Vibes is the very first smart belt integrating Artificial Intelligence that contextualises the activities of your everyday life.’ Here at T3 Towers we’re not sure what that means, however from the limited hands-on experiences commentators have had (the belt is currently up for pre-order), it means that the belt acts as a glorified pedometer, tracking your steps while also adjusting depending on your verticality and total food consumed.
This man is wearing Belty Good Vibes. You could maybe look as good if you wore Belty Good Vibes too.
The idea of sitting down at Fatty Arbuckle’s American Diner and ordering half a cow without worrying about your belt digging in to your expanding midriff is appealing, however, we think that merely putting the belt onto the next notch up is preferable to spending a yet to be disclosed chunk of change on the Belty. In addition, other products in the wearables field already handle the Belty’s other features and, in most cases, do it better and more comprehensively. For example, most activity trackers and smartwatches already monitor steps and user orientation, however they also monitor other biometrics such as heart rate and floors climbed. As such, based on current information, we’re really not getting any good vibes from the Belty.
DareDroid 2.0 Cocktail Making Dress
A dress crossed with a mobile drinks dispenser! Of course, it's so obvious!
We finish up our exploration of the weirdest and worst wearables ever with the DareDroid 2.0, a dress that allows you to dispense cocktail drinks to people around you on the go. The dress, which looks like a costume reject from The Fifth Element, apparently ‘uses medical technology, customised hardware and human temperament to provide freshly made cocktails’ and ‘playfully transgresses and explores human interaction in public spaces and inverts the normal social experience by asking people to reveal personal information.’ After watching the dress in action, what this actually means is playing a game of truth or dare with the dress’ host, with your responses and ‘natural charm’ determining whether you actually get a drink or not. Luckily, the DareDress 2.0 is not on general sale and, quite frankly, it's obvious as to why - it's all a bit bobbins. Maybe the dress would get some uptake in Shoreditch’s most hipster bars, however in the real world, after a long-day at the office, the last thing a member of the public is going to want to do is dance like a performing monkey for a shot of gin and tonic. Bars and bartenders exist for a reason!