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Brief Published: 7 Oct 2013

CES Unveiled: Solar Headphones


Solar headphones and unobtrusive wearables, including a button-sized activity tracker and a shoe-mounted running monitor, were among the product highlights at CES Unveiled in London (October 1) – a preview event for CES, the consumer electronics trade show staged in Las Vegas (January 7-10 2014).

At the event, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), identified five global consumer tech trends for 2014: 3D printing; electronic and driverless cars; digital health and fitness; the Internet of Everything; and motion and sensor technologies.

Highlights from the event included:

  • Aimed at the lower end of the market, the Orb is a button-sized wearable device from UK fitness tech firm Fitbug that can be worn as a wristband or clipped to belts and underwear. The device, which is due to be released in the fourth quarter of 2013, tracks the wearer’s activity and sleep patterns, and transmits this data wirelessly to an accompanying mobile app.
  • Glasgow-based Onbeat has developed a set of headphones connected to a flexible solar cell, which is capable of generating a power output of approximately 0.55 watts – enough power to simultaneously recharge any smartphone or tablet while playing music. The energy is stored in lithium-ion batteries in the two ear cups. The product, which won backing from a private investor less than a month after it appeared on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, is due to launch early next year. It can be pre-ordered for £89 ($143).
  • Ireland’s Grasp Wearable Technologies plans to sell a shoe-mounted monitor next year that sends real-time feedback on the wearer’s running technique to a mobile device.

For more on wearables, see Wearable Tech: Business Opportunity, SXSWi: Wearables and Nymi: Heartbeats as Passwords.