Samsung Wearables Get Buzz Ahead of CES 2016

Samsung Electronics devices are getting plenty of exposure as anticipation builds for the CES 2016 show, taking place in Las Vegas next week. Although several aren’t actually intended for sale to consumers (or enterprises, for that matter), they offer glimpses into the lines of research the company is currently pursuing.

Chief among them: wearable devices. Three of the products the company plans to unveil next week come from its Creative Lab (C-Lab) division, a research group within the company tasked with exploring new ideas. The division was founded in 2012, and has since given birth to more than 100 different projects. For 2016, that includes an advanced earpiece, fitness tracker, and virtual reality gear.

Tightening the WELT

This year’s exposition will mark the first time Samsung has unveiled projects under development at C-Lab. Of the three new projects, the one most likely to raise eyebrows is the WELT: a healthcare and lifestyle tracker designed as a belt. The company is pitching the WELT, which looks indistinguishable from any other men’s leather belt, as a more discreet way for individuals to monitor their health stats.

“WELT is capable of recording the user’s waist size, eating habits and the number of steps taken, as well as time spent sitting down,” the company said in a statement. “It then sends this data to a specially designed app for analysis, and the production of a range of personalized healthcare and weight management plans.”

Another project the company is unveiling at CES is the “rink,” a small band worn around the palm of the hand that acts as a hand motion controller. Somewhat similar in concept to the Wii controller developed by Nintendo a decade ago, the rink allows users to control applications using only their hand gestures. It also provides a way for gamers to interact directly with video game environments using their body motions.

Talking TipTalk

Perhaps the most futuristic of the three wearables is the TipTalk, a device that allows users to listen to audio from their smart devices just by touching their fingers to their ears. Although the publicity photos call to mind images of Secret Service agents touching their earpieces to communicate, the TipTalk doesn’t require the use of headsets or earphones. Instead, the device is shaped like a watch strap that can be paired with either a traditional watch or a smart watch.

The company said the technology makes for clearer audio, allowing users to take calls in public even in loud environments such as concert halls or construction sites. It also lets users listen to audio without the risk that their calls will be overheard by other people, while also offering text-to-speech functionality.

Samsung is so bullish on the potential uses for TipTalk that it has already helped the project team spin itself out into a fully-fledged, independent startup. The new company, Innomdle Lab, split from Samsung Electronics in August.


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