Last year's CES brought us Belty, a monstrosity of a wearable that aimed to track changes in your waistline as a means of delivering health insights. It was hideous. This year Samsung is trying something similar, and it miraculously succeeded. Samsung's smart belt looks indistinguishable from a standard belt, but contains an array of sensors packed into the back of its buckle and a micro USB port for charging on its side.
There's just one catch: it's called the Welt ... as in wellness belt. The device is made by a team within Samsung's Creative Lab, which is an in-house incubator that lets company employees play with ambitious ideas and turn them into full-fledged startups. The products aren't exactly designed to be fast-tracked as consumer products. They're mostly proof-of-concepts and prototypes, though you wouldn't guess that by looking at Samsung's smart belt. Created by three employees, the gadget is surprisingly fully formed and even quite a bit dressy when it comes to style.
The Welt pairs with a smartphone app that immediately identifies your waistline and counts your steps throughout the day. There's also a feature to monitor your over-eating, which the app infers from changes in belt tension. Because the Welt is a Creative Lab project, there's no pricing or availability. But the team says it is considering turning the belt into a consumer product some time in the future.