PCMag’s Coco Rocha Explores CE Week’s Wearable Tech - The tech-savvy supermodel gets her hands on enhanced glasses, dresses, and clutches.

By Chandra Steele

The mini mid-year preview of CES that is CE Week landed in New York City last week, and PCMag made the crosstown pilgrimage with one of our newest columnists, Coco Rocha. On display were Wi-Fi-enabled cars, Made in NY startups, the biggest of big-screen TVs, and, of course, wearable tech.

Rocha wrote about Google Glass and other wearable tech in her column this month, and got hands-on with some at the show. Google invited her to try out Google Glass back in January, but at CE Week Rocha tried on an entirely different type of wearable glasses-based technology, PSiO. It combines sound and light therapy for a sensory experience designed to relax and reenergize the wearer.

Rocha also donned a cap outfitted with Cynaps, a Bluetooth-enabled, bone-conduction alternative to earphones. Once an Indiegogo project and now a shipping product, the system lets you listen to music and take calls without headphones interfering with sounds from your surrounding environment.

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Google Glass: Getting In Your Face - Is Google Glass the future of wearable tech?
By Coco Rocha for PCMag
At the beginning of this year, Google asked me if I’d like to try out a prototype of Google Glass. Being a complete gadget junkie, I’d read all about them and was as excited as anyone to actually put them on. A future of augmented reality in the form of computer glasses has long been the dream of many a science fiction fan who imagines a world where information is superimposed into his vision, where his every move is documented and archived and thus no memory is ever lost and every experience can be relived. (That may also be a dream function for the NSA.)
Given time, Google Glass definitely has the potential to give us that fully augmented reality that so many have been asking for. But in answering that desire, it’s also brought up some new questions: will we still want it when we have it? Will it overwhelm and shorten our already-minute attention span? Will it make life chaotic or simplify it? And will its intrusion into our perceived privacy and personal space be a cultural issue? The debate has just begun, but so has the technology. From my hour or so with the prototype of Google Glass I got the feeling that it was sort of like the Wright brothers’ flying machine—that we still have a way to go before we get to something more like a Lear jet.
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As obvious as this may sound, I felt keenly self-conscious that I was wearing a small computer strapped to my head. To be straightforward, I think the main problem with most examples of “wearable tech” is that the emphasis is overwhelmingly put on the tech rather than it being truly wearable. To widen their appeal for when Google Glass becomes commercially available, Google would do well to mind its approach to design so that we don’t risk looking like Geordi from Star Trek or a Terminator. It would be smart to partner with established eyewear designers such as Tom Ford or Ray-Ban to create something truly aesthetically pleasing that people would want to wear. Such collaborations could ensure that wearable tech is actually wearable. If not, I feel that Google Glass could quickly go the way of the Bluetooth headset—something that only obnoxious bro-types wear on their heads in 2015.
With Google Glass, I felt the most uncomfortable when I had to announce commands verbally. This is also my problem with Siri and other voice-activated technology; who wants to be the crazy person speaking to a computer? At the time I suggested to the reps from Google that maybe they could have Glass read some kind of rudimentary sign language. Perhaps you could wear a ring or bracelet with a small accelerometer embedded that reads your movements and reports it to Glass. Yep, in my mind’s eye I was sorting through files like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Then again, maybe looking like you’re conducting an invisible orchestra is just as crazy as speaking to an invisible computer assistant.
By the sound if it, Google Glass will have immediate competition in the wearable tech space from Apple and Samsung when it hits the wider market in a few months. As you’re undoubtedly aware, Apple has reportedly been testing 1.5-inch curved OLED screens that would be perfect for an “iWatch." It’s even started trademarking the name in many countries. And this spring, Samsung confirmed development of a smartwatch. From the rumors alone it sounds like the smartwatch concept could be a much more comfortable and acceptable apparatus to use, even if its form means it can’t offer the same level of interactivity.
The era of wearable tech that Google Glass and smartwatches are moving us into will be something like the smartphone market seven years ago; we will see wildly different takes on the idea that will filter down into a few tried and tested models that make sense for most people. The one rule I see dominating this emerging industry is that for wearable tech to really make sense it has to enhance our life, not complicate it or intrude upon it.

Google Glass: Getting In Your Face - Is Google Glass the future of wearable tech?

By Coco Rocha for PCMag

At the beginning of this year, Google asked me if I’d like to try out a prototype of Google Glass. Being a complete gadget junkie, I’d read all about them and was as excited as anyone to actually put them on. A future of augmented reality in the form of computer glasses has long been the dream of many a science fiction fan who imagines a world where information is superimposed into his vision, where his every move is documented and archived and thus no memory is ever lost and every experience can be relived. (That may also be a dream function for the NSA.)

Given time, Google Glass definitely has the potential to give us that fully augmented reality that so many have been asking for. But in answering that desire, it’s also brought up some new questions: will we still want it when we have it? Will it overwhelm and shorten our already-minute attention span? Will it make life chaotic or simplify it? And will its intrusion into our perceived privacy and personal space be a cultural issue? The debate has just begun, but so has the technology. From my hour or so with the prototype of Google Glass I got the feeling that it was sort of like the Wright brothers’ flying machine—that we still have a way to go before we get to something more like a Lear jet.

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Fashion Forward: How Tech Is Revamping the Runway

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Coco Rocha has come a long way since she was spotted by a modeling scout at an Irish dancing competition. Since then, she’s become a fixture on the fashion scene — appearing on the runways for Marc Jacobs, Versace, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Anna Sui, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Balenciaga.

More recently, though, she’s become a fixture on the social media scene, positioning herself as one of the most digitally-savvy models of her generation. Hers was one of the first fashion insider blogs in 2008, and Rocha was an early adopter of Twitter, Pose and Instagram. Across all social platforms, Rocha has more than 7 million followers on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tencent Weibo, Sina Weibo and others, earning her street cred as an socially savvy supermodel and role model for anyone looking to learn a thing or two about branding (she runs her accounts herself, and the New York Times recently noted her prowess). Her social savvy explains why Rocha will soon be a coach on Oxygen’s upcoming show, The Face, where she’ll teach aspiring models how to represent a brand and build one’s own.

SEE ALSO: Introducing Mashable’s 2012 Innovation Index

Her social media deftness and high-fashion expertise are also why we thought it appropriate for Coco Rocha to curate the fashion category of Mashable’s Innovation Index. Take a look at her picks below and then cast your vote in Fashion and the 14 other categories.

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