At times it feels like SXSW has become a mini-CES, with all the hot innovations popping up. Wearables combined with health and well-being are definitely where it’s at and this year Philips are hosting a Dragon’s Den-style Digital Innovation Challenge, with three companies pitching their tech for a week’s advice and guidance at Philip’s High Tech Campus in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
First up are Atlas Wearables, pitching their fitness tracker for the serious workout enthusiast. The Atlas “measures your heart rate, calculates the calories you burned and tracks your body on the x-, y- and z-axes, so it knows how many laps you swam and if you did push-ups or triangle push-ups. It’s preloaded with the most popular exercises and can learn new exercises you teach it so you can instantly see your progress, analyze your form, anticipate plateaus and find what makes you stronger, faster.” Definitely for the hardcore fitness fanatic.
Incomparable Things is very much softer – they’re building an app to bring together the myriad of data sources - “In our app, people scrapbook the stories of their adventures. We collect all the media people already create when they’re being active – from photos to location data, NikeFuel to tweets – and weave them together to tell visual, personal and complete stories that others can collect and aspire to. They are more memorable than a photo album and more inspiring than an activity data score. It is used by everyone from daily walkers to training triathletes, neighborhood arborists to polar expeditionists.” Sounds a bit like Field Trip meets Pose! I love the idea of these apps but I simply don’t have the time to curate the photos and tweets.
Finally, Push is back to circuits and training with another fitness tracker that seems very similar to the Atlas one. “Rugged and durable, PUSH straps comfortably to your arm. It communicates with your phone, transmitting movement feedback that’s too fast for the human eye to capture. The data is displayed on the PUSH App, providing you with crucial, scientifically-validated metrics about each and every rep, helping you optimize your training.” It’s kind of symptomatic of the space that there’s going to very similar devices competing for attention. Push’s USP is that it can measure strength, not simply calories burned.
If you want to see these three companies pitch, you need to get yourself round to the Next Stage in the Convention Centre at 12.30 CDT today.
Did you know that diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in US. and cost $174 Billion US dollars in health care cost. There are 25 million diabetics and 79 million pre diabetics in the US. People with diabetes have to estimate the amount of sugar they eat and monitor the level of glucose in their blood. This can mean carrying around a large kit and sticking yourself with a needle to draw blood. It is messy and painful. Many people will just try to estimate their sugar intake which can lead to life threatening situations. Runware the maker of the Runalyzer a heart rate monitor is coming out with an all in one solutions for the diabetics called the Smart Diabekit System. It has a smart glucometer for measuring blood sugar and sensors that communicates with the included scale and an activity tracker. Now the diabetic can easily keep track the food they are eating, how active they are and of their glucose level.
The Smart DiabelKit System will be available in September 2014 at the Runware website, price is not available at this time. If you are attending CES 2014 Runware a company based out of the The Reunion Island will be in the Venetian Ballroom Hall D, level 2 Booth 7269.
Electric bikes (eBikes) have been a growing trend in both Europe and Asia over the past couple of years. They are just beginning to find a market in the US. From July 2012 to July 2013 the number of units sold in the US more than doubled from 70,000 to 159,000 units. One of the main manufactures of electric bikes is eflow a Currie tech company. Eflow currently has three bikes models in their lineup; the original the 2×10 speed E3 Nitro with RST front suspension. The E3 Flight with 1×10 drivetrain for $3500 and finally the E3 Fit a 350 watt compact folding bike at $3500 MSRP. Eflow ebikes have the following items:
* Lithium battery pack integrated into the seat tube
* internal cable routing
* a quick release wheel
* regenerative braking
* water tight motor connector
* 500-watt hub motor
* four levels of pedal assist
* throttle overdrive
The E3 Nitro won the Gold Award from the IFthe German design group at the 2012 Taipei Cycle Show. It is a great bike for city life. The controls are on an easy to read LCD console with multi-assist options. It has an adjustable front suspension aluminum frame. The E3 Nitro also has fat tires and heavy-duty wheels making it perfect for urban riding. Eflow will be at Show Stoppers @CES on Jan 7 between 6–10pm at booth A–30 to show off what is trending in eBikes.
Does your business require a landline number but you want the convenience of a mobile phone, well Swissvoice may have a solution for you. Swissvoice is showing off the Voice Bridge at CES 2014. SwissVoice’s Voice Bridge links traditional land line telephones and mobile device. It allows you to carry on a call that comes in on your landline phone on your mobile device both smartphones and tablets. Now you can tell who is calling you on your DECT-phone . You can use your mobile device as a walkie talk for communication within a building at no additional cost. Employees can be added to conference calls by simply tapping on the app on their mobile device
The Voice Box is a small box like device which connects directly to any router and has an easy plug and play installation. Then you install the app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device and you are ready to go. You can assign a fixed line to up to five smart phones and tablet at one time. Perfect for a small office, allowing multiple employees to use one landline number, while having the convenience of using their mobile phone.
The Voice Bridge will be available in the U.S, South America and Europe during March or April 2014 for $79 USD or 79 euro. Swissvoice will be at Booth 31417 in the South Hall during CES 2014.
WakaWaka, which means shine bright in Swahili is a company that is built around providing power and light in areas and situations where electricity is not readily available. Their products including the WakaWaka Light and the WakaWaka Power have been used around the world in both natural and man-made disasters in places as diverse as the Philippines and Syria. In areas where electricity is not readily available many people will use Kerosene lamps which are costly, inefficient and dangerous. The WakaWaka Light which is solar-powered can replace the kerosene lamp and provide a safer and more efficient light. The WakaWaka solar power charger will charge up a smart phone within 2 hours while still providing light. Perfect for power outages when your phone is your main communication device with the outside world.
WakaWaka is meeting its mission by selling the WakaWaka Light and the WakaWaka Power at competitive prices in the first world and taking those proceeds to sell the products at an affordable price in areas around the world that are off the grid. WakaWaka is making its CES debut in 2014 in the Venetian Ballroom at booth 70306. Camille van Gestel, the Founder & CEO of WakaWaka, will be attending Unveiled and International CES to present the WakaWaka portfolio, including several exciting new products. He will be available for interviews from January 5 – January 11.
iDevices is releasing two new devices in time for CES 2014, the iGrill2 Bluetooth® Smart Meat Thermometer and the iLP® BluetoothSmart Liquid Propane Monitor. These are app connected products and if you grill often they will make your job easier and more enjoyable. Right now they work with iOs only, but an Android version is in the works.
The iGrill2 allows you to monitor the temperature of your food on the grill from up to 150 feet away with the free iDevices Connected App. The devices have a bright LED display with a proximity wake-up, magnetic mounting, four probe ports and 150-hour battery life. It is more rugged than the original iGrill. The magnetic backing allows you to mount it anywhere you want on the grill. If you want to mount it on a non-magnetic surface there is an optional magnetic disc. Due to the bluetooth capability there is no need for manual paring and the connection is more stable. You can track four different temperatures with a multiple probe monitor. You can check the temperature quickly and easily with the bright LED display. It has 150 hours of battery life on just 2 AA batteries. The iGrill2 will be priced at $99.99 and be available through the iDevice website
If you use a propane tank for your grill you know the feeling when you run out of propane in the middle of grilling. Admit it we have all done it at least once, well the iLP® Bluetooth Smart Liquid Propane Monitor can help to prevent this from happening. The device mounts to the bottom of any propane tank and can be used over and over again. It will automatically tell you when the propane is getting low. It uses patented technology using ultra-sonic sensors to get the most accurate reading. You can track it from your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch using the 30 Ft. Bluetooth range. You can use one app to track multiple devices. The battery has 2 years of use in it. The pricing for the iLP will be released in 2014.
IDevices will be showing off the iGrill2, the iLp and other new products at CES 2014 at Booth #355866 in the Upper South Hall. They will be also having a press session by invite only on Monday, January 6 at 11:30 AM at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center.
I use a Fitbit Force to track the number of steps I take each day and I use the Lose it to count the number of calories I am consuming each day. What I can’t measure is how this is effecting my heartbeat and respiratory rate that is what Tinké does. The Tinké is a smart sensor about the size of a matchbook that can not only measure your heartbeat, respiratory rate but it can also measure blood oxygen level and heart rate variability. This is all done with the touch of a finger. It can also be used to measure your relaxation or Zen level which is created by controlling your breathing. You can use it to monitor your day-to-day changes and share your progress with your friends who also use Tinké. It is now available with a lightning connector so it can be connected directly to your iOs device.
Based on its engineering and design qualities and it’s intended purposes the Tinke by Zensorium has been awarded an International CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree. “It is an honor to have Tinké named on the honoree list of CES Innovations,” says Juliana Chua, Principal of Zensorium’s Business Innovation Group. “While the current Tinké is built for iOS devices, we like to inform our Android fans that they are not forgotten and a brand new compatible version will be revealed at the 2014 International CES.”
If you are going to CES 2014 the Zensorium’s Tinke will be displayed in The Venetian, Las Vegas Convention Centre, South Hall Booth 26613 at the 2014 International CES from January 7–10 2014. I personally look forward to a Tinké model that works with Android.
I received my Fitbit Force on Saturday, although I wasn’t able to pick it up at the apartment rental office until Monday. I have now been using it for two days now and overall I love it.
In the package is the Fitbit Force, a charging cable and the wireless syncing dongle. The only directions you get is to go to the Fitbit setup site. It is there that you down load the software to link the Fitbit Force to your computer and finish the set up. The one thing I did appreciate was the fact that the Fitbit Force was charged up enough when I received it so that I could use immediately after the setup. After two full days of usage I am currently charging it. With a full charge it is supposed to last 7–10 days. It actually finished charging in about an hour.
If you are unfamiliar with the Fitbit family of products, they are basically pedometers on steroids. They measure the number of steps you have taken, how far you have walked or run and how many stairs you have climbed (except the Fitbit Flex). You can also use them to measure your sleep profile. The Fitbit Force is similar to the Fitbit Flex in that unlike Fitbit’s previous products you wear it on your wrist instead of clipping it to your clothing. However, unlike the Fitbit Flex the Force has a screen so you can see everything right on the device. I have used it both at night and during the daytime and the OLED screen can easily be seen in both bright sunshine and in the dark. There is one small button on the side that you use to toggle through the various screens and to start or stop the stop watch if you are timing your walk or run. It can also be used as a watch, although you do have to hit the button for the screen to become visible. If you want to use it to track your sleeping habits you simply tap on the button twice just before you fall asleep to start the timer. Then in the morning tap it twice again to stop it. The Fitbit Force can tell when you have been awake at night or restless and when you have been asleep. It is also water-resistant, I wore it while bathing and washing dishes without any problem. However I wouldn’t recommend wearing it swimming or snorkeling.
Now the bad news, the Fitbit Force is ugly. The band is made of a rubber like material and at this point comes in only two colors, black and a dull metallic blue. It is ugly but it appears to be durable. It is slightly wider then the Fitbit Flex for the screen. Everything is in one piece, so if you have a problem with the wrist strap or the screen you have no choice but to send the whole device back. It is also a pain in the neck to put on if you are doing it by yourself. You have to put little nibs into their corresponding holes and then press them together. Try to do that with one hand it is not easy.
I previously had the Fitbit Ultra which basically does the same thing as the Fitbit Force, except tell time. I liked it also; however I kept forgetting to clip it to my clothing, I would lose it or it would accidentally get put through the washer. I don’t have that problem with the Fitbit Force, it just stays on my wrist. However it is about two times as much in price. Whether it is worth twice as much is something you will have to decide. Some people have tried to compare it to a smart watch, it is not a smart watch, so if you are looking for a smart watch this is not the gadget for you. However if you are looking for something that measures your steps and the distance you have walked and then syncs back to your computer or smart phone then the Fitbit Force maybe just what you are looking for. I am happy with the decision I made and I would recommend the Fitbit Force.
Bicycle helmets are great pieces of equipment and take the brunt of an impact instead of your head in the unfortunate event of an accident. Most things that a cyclist is likely to hit are pretty hard, whether it’s a car, tree or the road itself, and a helmet can genuinely save your life. The sad fact is that in 90% of cycling fatalities the rider was not wearing a helmet.
However, the shape of a helmet means that they’re not that convenient to carry round in a bag or rucksack and take up lots of space. All too often the helmet gets left behind for the sake of convenience. In an attempt to solve this problem and save more lives, inventor Jeff Woolf has developed the world’s first folding bicycle helmet, the Morpher Helmet.
As you can see from the picture above, the helmet folds flat from front to back making it much easier to carry around in bag with other flat things, like notepads, magazines and tablets. With an emphasis on safety from the start, the helmet exceeds all safety requirements worldwide and will be independently CE tested before the full launch. The inventor Jeff Woolf is no lightweight either having twice been awarded “British Inventor of the Year” and awarded an OBE for services to innovation and business.
To fund the production of the helmets, Morpher is launching an Indiegogo campaign. Early birds will be able to snap up helmet for US$59 (about GB£35) with a second tier at $79. The RRP is expected to be $110 so it’s a bargain but you will have to wait until April 2014 before the helmet arrives. The goal is to raise $35,000 over the next 47 days. As with all crowd-funded projects, bear in mind that there is not yet a finished product for you to buy.
Watch the video below to learn more about the Morpher helmet and the man behind it.
Looks like a great idea and I hope the project succeeds, especially as I’ve contributed myself for a Morpher helmet.
Apple’s a master at the complete end-to-end user experience and has elevated product packaging to an art form. Tech companies aren’t the only ones at this; I recently ordered some swim shorts from Orlebar Brown and this nondescript box arrived in the post.
Pretty dull on the outside but open the box up and everything is a visual and sensory treat. The inside of the box is a rich red, the swimwear (not shown) is neatly folded within a branded drawstring bag, the clothing tags are quality card, and with Orlebar Brown one doesn’t simply get a receipt stuffed in the box; one gets a receipt in a crisp brilliant white envelope, reminiscent of an invite to an exclusive event. Glorious.
In all honesty, I have never seen mail order done better – I’m sold and I’m now customer for life. And that’s before I’ve even put on the swim shorts, which are equally fabulous. Now, if I can just get that six pack sorted over the winter.