This week in wearables: A braille smartwatch, stretchable batteries, and more

Written By Allie Quill

It can be tough to keep up with all that’s going on in wearables, so we’ve got the top stories from the week compiled below. You’re welcome!

1. One South Korean company, Dot, has developed a smartwatch for the visually impaired. The Dot Smartwatch will allows users to receive notifications from texts, emails, and social media — all in braille. Although only about 10 percent of legally blind Americans can read braille, Dot hopes to inspire learning and start a conversation about the lack of technology for the visually impaired.

2. Adidas fell behind Under Armour last year as the second largest sportswear maker and has made careful, impactful decisions ever since. This time, Adidas has purchased popular app developer Runtastic for a reported $230 million. Fingers crossed that Runtastic’s 70 million user database will give Adidas the boost that it needs to get back on top of the wearables game.

3. Fitbit finally released the first numbers on their earnings and completely blew Wall Street’s original assessments out of the water. Estimated at $0.08 a share with a revenue of $319.5 million, Fitbit posted earnings of $0.21 per share for a revenue of $400.4 million. Wow.

4. For those of you that had complaints about the Garmin Forerunner 15’s lack of Bluetooth connectivity, your pleas have been heard and answered with the recent release of the Garmin Forerunner 25. This basic to midrange watch can now connect to iOS and Android smartphones, as well as receive smart notifications like incoming texts, calls, and emails. With all of its snazzy new features, this smartwatch is taking your average piece of tech to the next level.

5. A research team at Arizona State University is coming up with a “stretchable” battery that can fit flexible wearable designs. Associate professor Hanqing Jiang and his team have drawn inspiration from a form of origami called “kirigami” as a way of adding extra flexibility to batteries. They’ve been testing prototypes on devices like the Samsung Gear 2 and could ultimately be the smartwatch’s solution to bulkiness.

6. Gamers, rejoice! Microsoft is working to make their augmented reality headset, the Hololens, compatible with Xbox Live. No one is really sure what the integration of this technology will look like, and Microsoft’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, has been vague on the details, only letting the public know that the headset will be released “sometime this year.” Hopefully that actually means “really soon,” and we can all stop sitting on pins and needles.

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