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BearTek II glove | Riding Gear + Equipment | Tested

The latest in wearable tech, this is what happens when gloves get given brains.

It was never going to be long before wearable technology broke into the motorcycle sphere, after all, as riders we’re constantly removing this or that in order to check, answer, activate or stop one device or another. A crowd-funded startup in Dallas, USA, is about to launch its second-generation bluetooth-enabled glove which takes the idea of touch-screen friendly gloves to the next level.

So as well as being able to use your touchscreen devices without removing your gloves, the first-generation BearTek glove allowed the wearer to control any bluetooth device within 30 metres via six touchpoint on the left-hand glove. With two touchpoints on each of the first three fingers, one at the top of the finger and one half-way down, the wearer could touch different points with their thumb to perform different tasks, eg, wirelessly control music, answer the phone, activate Siri or have wireless, hands-free control over a GoPro.

Now, the crowd-funded BearTek organisation is about to launch the second-generation of its bluetooth-enabled glove. And for US$155 (A$216) plus shipping, you could have your hands in a pair by this Christmas.

First-Gen BearTek

While BearTek produces gloves for motorcycle riders, skiers, hunters, horse riders and cyclists, BearTek founder Willie Blount is a keen motorcyclist, so the technology was developed around riders before being adapted to other genres, and therefore was designed to work around a bike’s complex hand controls. After pulling on a pair of BearTek gloves and familiarising themselves with the six different touchpoints and their various functions, the wearer could tap their thumb on one of the six touchpoints to make, answer, ignore or hang-up calls. In music apps, the wearer could play music, skip songs, adjust volume or activate Siri. They could turn on their GoPro, record video, activate the burst function or take photos.

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What’s new

Where the first generation BearTek glove required two seperate modules (bluetooth and wifi) to be able to connect and control both your smartphone and your GoPro, the latest generation will feature one module that can do both. As all new startup tech ventures worth their salt should, the firm has also introduced an app which increases the glove’s functionality while also allowing the wearer personalisation options. So, as well as being able to customise the touchpoint for your specific needs and preferences, the app will allow you to toggle between your phone and camera connectivity, and even let you instantly share your photo or video to social media as it happens.

Best of both worlds

If it has taken you a long time to find a brand of glove that fits you well and ticks all of your comfort and aesthetic boxes, and you love the connectivity functionality of the BearTek glove, then the firm is one step ahead of you. It has begun developed a thin liner glove fitted with the same technology that you can wear underneath your favourite gloves. Presumably the actuation would be slightly different, since touch-sensitive points in close proximity would be difficult to distinguish through thick winter-weight gloves. Speaking of winter weight gloves, you may not actually need them anymore — because BearTek will also offer a heated version of the inner glove.

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