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Intel wearables show models' stress levels on Paris runway

Engadget Engadget 30/09/2016 Cherlynn Low
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Intel's continuing experiment with wearables is getting pretty serious. The company teamed up with British designer Hussein Chalayan to create smart glasses and belts for five models in Chalayan's Spring/Summer 2017 show today. The devices are powered by Intel's Curie module for wearables, and neither company has expressed plans for making them more widely available.

The glasses have capacitive EEG electrodes on both temples to read brainwaves, while the nose bridge houses an optical heart rate sensor and a microphone for measuring heart rate variability and breathing rates respectively. The information is combined by the onboard Curie module using what Intel calls "sensor fusion" for more accurate stress detection. It's then sent to a 3D printed belt around each model's waist over Bluetooth Low Energy. These belts also sport Curie modules to receive the data, as well as an Intel Compute Stick to process and visualize the stress metric. Finally, a pico projector on the waist casts the image and animations onto a wall in front of the models to show their real-time stress levels.

As they strut down the runway, models will be instructed to reduce stress by inhaling through the nose for six seconds and exhaling for four seconds. If all goes well and every gadget works as it should, the audience should see the projected animation change. Of course, having to focus on relaxing during such a high-stakes event is no easy feat, so it wouldn't be surprising if the animations didn't seem to change.

Based on the pictures, both the glasses and belts seem somewhat chunky, although they do house an awful lot of components. It's hard to see a real-world application for this particular device pairing, but it certainly is a cool tech demonstration for Intel. The company is clearly hoping to encourage more wearable makers to adopt the Curie tech, and this does seem like an intriguing way to show off what it can do.

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