Smart gloves aren't a new idea, but most of the models we've seen, like the GoGlove or Beartek Gloves, are designed to work as accessories to smartphones, offering ways to control devices without holding them or fumbling them out of your pocket. Now a London-based start-up wants its smart glove concept, called Glovdi, to act as a sort-of super-smartwatch that replaces your phone with a huge, circular screen.
Before you write Glovdi off as a 50 shades of wacky headline-seeking gimmick, consider that it's targeted at the niche market of athletes needing an easily-accessible – and easily visible – screen on places like ski slopes and city streets.
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The device's main screen is circular and positioned on the back of the hand, while below it is a smaller smartwatch interface. Other than that, the device has most things you'd expect from a phone: cellular connectivity, GPS, fitness tracking sensors and a camera (literally in the palm of your hand), all built into a glove that can register gestures as input.
The company says its concept is aimed at athletes and sports enthusiasts who may need the functionality of a phone but not the awkwardness of trying to hold one while on a bike or teeing off. Whether anyone should be using a smart device in those potentially dangerous situations is another question altogether.
So why wouldn't aspiring Shaun Whites or NYC food delivery bikers not just go with a smartwatch? Well, the company is quick to point out that watches offer relatively limited functionality, and still need to be paired with a phone. That doesn't, however, account for smartwatches with cellular functionality baked in, something we'll see more of in the coming months and years. By the time this concept turns into a commercial product (if it ever does), it's possible standalone smartwatches will be seen on most wrists you pass on the street.
That leaves active people who need not just hands-free access to a standalone smart device, but also hands-free access to a big screen that can be seen easily, even in poor visibility conditions. Hence the very niche athletes, bikers and skiers target audiences.
It's still early days for the concept. Glovdi began as the subject of a Masters thesis, and will, according to the company, evolve over the next few months and years, through a research and production campaign.
You can heck out the Glovdi concept in the following video.