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Lifestyle Tech Coverage for Amber Mac

This post was originally published for technology journalist and personality Amber Mac’s blog. I’m pleased to announce I’ll be contributing to her channels to help cover fashion and lifestyle tech.

In a world increasingly filled with screens, what are the consequences for our eye health? That’s what we asked Optometrist Michael Kaplan at Alcon’s recent event promoting their high-performance multi-focal contact lenses. The luncheon—an elevated affair complete with floral arrangements, marble tables, and velvet love seats— was organized by Cohn & Wolfe and took place at the Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto.

Read the full article on Amber Mac’s blog 

Speaking

Amanda Cosco on the Lucky Few Podcast

Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Aaron Parker of The Lucky Few Podcast. In case you haven’t heard of it, The Lucky Few is a podcast about people who absolutely love what they do. The host, Aaron Parker, gravitates towards characters that have unusual trajectories and career paths.

While I’ve spoken publicly about fashion tech and wearables, less told is the story of my entrepreneurial journey—how I started Electric Runway and how it grew (and continues to grow) into an internationally recognized brand covering the intersection of fashion and technology. I had a heartfelt time sharing this story with Aaron. You can listen to the episode via Stitcher below or find it on iTunes here (Episode 28)

If you find our conversation about cyborgs, smart fabrics, and future fashions, please give it a five-star rating. For more fashion tech in your head, subscribe to the Electric Runway podcast, where we interview the makers and shakers that make this industry tick.

Aaron is also a budding photographer like me, and he took these shots with his new mirrorless DSLR (The Sony Alpha 7000. I am absolutely coveting this camera right now! Not an add!) Photo taken by Aaron & edited by me! 

 

 

Podcasts

Holograms, Avatars & Eye-Tracking: Conversations from Dx3 Canada

Earlier this spring, I wandered the show floor at Dx3 Canada, Toronto’s largest digital retail conference. For those not familiar with the event, Dx3 looks at the future of technology, digital marketing, and retail. Companies come from all over Canada (and all over the world, for that matter) to network, exhibit, and learn from leading players working at the intersection of retail and technology.

As I spoke with startups like HoloCube and retail tech giants like Shopify, it became clear to me just how volatile the landscape is at the moment. Everything from payments to advertisements have gone digital, and many companies are still struggling to keep up. At the same time, we’re ushering in a brave new way of engaging consumers. Service is becoming more tailored, targeted, and personalized, which can only be good for customers.

As I revisited these conversations from the show floor, I realized that all of the companies I gravitated towards at Dx3 were changing the way data is captured and presented, as well as transforming the way we see things—whether that’s merchandise on a retail display or even the way we see ourselves.

Tune in to hear my conversations with HoloCube, Selftraits, and Tobbipro. Holocube is a fully integrated 3D projection platform that makes your product look like never before; Selftraits is a Toronto-based company offering custom 3D printed selfies; Tobiipro is a world-leader in eye-tracking tech that’s used for consumer research. Here’s some additional media I made from Dx3 Canada. Enjoy the episode, and let me know what you think in the comments, or by tweeting @Electric_Runway. We’re also on Instagram and Snapchat!

Got turned into a gif today with @selftraits. High jump in my #FutureisFemale sweater on #InternationalWomensDay ✌?

A post shared by FashionTech | ElectricRunway (@electric_runway) on

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Canadian Apparel Company Myant Launches Skiin Smart Underwear

Hey, here’s a weird question for you: how smart is your underwear?  If you’re anything like me, the idea of wearing technology near your parts may make you uncomfortable, to say the least, yet that’s exactly what one Canadian startup invites us to do.

Last week, at a by-invite launch held at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, apparel manufacturer Myant introduced Skiin, a platform for connected clothing. Their first consumer product? Smart underwear.

Positioning itself as “the world’s first smart underwear,” Skiin leverages ECG sensors, robotic knitting, and machine learning to offer boxers that track everything from your heart and breathing rate to hydration levels and body fat.

While we’ve seen cheeky products in past (think Billie Whitehouse’s “Fundawear,” a set of vibrating underpants for couples in long-distance relationships made in collaboration with Durex), Skiin is taking itself seriously with a product that’s not for play but for everyday wear. Because after all, what’s more everyday than underwear?

 

Until now, one of the main hurdles with wearable technology is continued use (it’s difficult to glean insight into biometrics and well-being when you stop wearing your wrist-tracker ten days in). As such, manufacturers have turned towards textiles as an alternative. While connected clothing may seem like a simple solution to bulky accessories, other challenges arise, including washability and battery life.

In addition to being machine washable, Skiin’s 24-hour battery can be charged wirelessly. Users just need to place the battery in the vicinity of a hub. While for now the battery is a bulky processor that sits on the band of the underwear, the company says they plan to reduce its size over time, and eventually eliminate the need for a separate battery altogether.

Skiin’s vision is to evolve clothing and push it into the digital age, and they hope to create a textile computing platform that can be used by other developers to create unique applications depending on people’s needs. So, for example, a textile for diabetics can be programmed differently than a textile for weightlifting or endurance, with its own customized alerts and triggers.

According to Tony Chahine, Myant’s CEO, the smart underwear will be sold in packs of seven with two swappable electronic pods and one wireless charger. This starter kit will retail for around $300.

While we’re certainly impressed with the idea of high-tech underwear, it’s obvious to us that Skiin has many challenges ahead, most prominently overcoming people’s concerns for safety and security. The company claims their products are safe to use around genitalia, and even state that the fabric includes a shield that protects the wearer from other harmful emissions. Additionally, they promise that biometric information generated from wearing Skiin is anonymized and stored privately, ensuring data stays in the hands of the users.

Even if concerns for safety and security are overcome, there’s still a versatility problem. Judging from their renderings, it looks like Skiin has dudes in mind as their target audience, although they do promise alternative designs for women in the near future.

What do you think about smart underwear? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @Electric_Runway. 

FashTechTV

Tech Tuesday: Electric Styles LED Shoes Review & Try-On

With music events like Way Home and Coachella attracting influencers from around the globe, it’s safe to say that festival fashion is just fashion. Floral headbands, flowing skirts, and oversized sunnies are setting the style scene beyond the fences of these events and ushering a new wave of free-wheeling, fun-loving self-expression.

While apparel and shoe brand Electric Styles has been around for a few years, light-up apparel is just now finding its way beyond the EDM and Burning Man crowds and into mainstream consciousness.  In this video,  Fashion Tech journalist Amanda Cosco shares her experience with Electric Styles LED Shoes and shows some outfits for incorporating wearable light into festival fashion.

This video is not sponsored by Electric Styles. 

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Here’s What we Know About Bellabeat’s Smart Water Bottle

As the Internet of Things promises to digitize everything from our wallets to our fridges, wearable tech startups are expanding their product offerings. Companies like Under Armour and Misfit were quick to notice the potential for connected ecosystems, and now more accessory-based businesses are coming out with new ways consumers can engage with their brands.

This week, women’s wellness company Bellabeat unveiled Spring, its smart water bottle. Dubbing itself as “the smart way to stay hydrated,” spring promises to track your hydration, help you meet custom intake goals, and remind you to drink up. The 16-fuild ounce bottle is dishwasher safe, BPA-free, and comes in four shades. In line with Bellabeat’s other offerings such as their Leaf and Leaf Urban fitness tracker, Spring is cordless, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to charge it every night.

With no price tag and no release date announced, we think Bellabeat is just testing the waters (no pun intended) with a connected hydration product. Whether or not the smart water bottle will make it to market is yet to be seen—but we’ll sure be watching.

What do you think about a connected water bottle for tracking and improving hydration? Do you get your eight glasses a day? Let us know on the comments below or tweet us @Electric_Runway.