Child Angel Keeps an Eye on Children

British Inventors Project

Continuing GNC’s coverage of the Gadget Show Live and the British Inventors’ Project, Child Angel is one of the smallest and most advanced child tracking device on the market. Made to be attractive to the child and easy to use in an emergency, the Child Angel wrist-mounted tracker provides accurate location monitoring by combining GPS, GSM and Wi-Fi hotspot triangulation.

Child Angel keeps children safe in three ways. First the parent can view the child’s location on a map using the Child Angel app on their smartphone or tablet (both iOS and Android). Second, the child can send a “Help Me!” alert by taking off the bracelet and third, an alert is raised if the child leaves a geo-fenced SafeZone.

The battery life is about 48 hours and the Child Angel can easily be recharged through the micro-USB. The Child Angel bracelet is available in different colours and can be customised with personalised covers, too.

The Child Angel should be available soon with a retail cost around £100.

Child Angel

XOEye Brings Wearable Solutions To Industry At CES

xoeye logo

Training and assisting employees tends to take up a significant amount of a company’s time and resources, especially in industries such as engineering and manufacturing. But thanks to the innovations that XOEye is bringing to the table, the workplace is about to become much more efficient.

Jamie and Nick interviewed John Calahan from XOEye, a software company that’s working to bring augmented reality solutions to the workplace. XOEye works with wearable and other smart technology companies to create custom solutions to allow employers to train, manage, and support their employees.

For example, if a new employee at a manufacturing plant is having trouble mastering a certain technique, they could connect with a more experienced engineer via smart glasses equipped with XOEye technology to walk them through the process. The flexibility and power of XOEye’s innovations are creating endless possibilities for growth and improvement across the industrial space.

To learn more about XOEye, visit their website.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly and Nick DiMeo of F5 Live.

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Gymwatch Measures Strength And Motion At CES

Gymwatch

Exercise is great, but knowing the specifics about your workout performance and progress can make your fitness regime even more successful.

Don got to talk with Fabian Walke, CEO of Gymwatch, about his company’s product. The Gymwatch is a fitness tracking wristband that monitors your workout performance, tracks your progress over time, and much more.

Gymwatch connects via Bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet so you can monitor your progress on the companion app. One of the coolest features of the Gymwatch is that it senses when you’re doing an exercise wrong and shows you via the app how to do it correctly. With over 900 weight-lifting and strength-training exercises and weekly software updates, Gymwatch will help you achieve your fitness goals in no time.

Gymwatch is available now on the Gymwatch website or Amazon for $199.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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Child Angel Brings Peace of Mind to CES

ChildAngel thumbIt’s every parent’s nightmare scenario. You turn away from your child in a public place only to turn back and see your child is gone. That’s exactly what happened to Andrew Purcell, CEO of Child Angel. Fortunately for Andrew, his child was found quickly and without incident. But the experience gave him the inspiration to create Child Angel, a GPS-enabled tracking bracelet for children (or any loved one you might want to keep track of).

Scott talked to Andrew at the Child Angel booth. Andrew explained that Child Angel is a bracelet designed to be comfortably worn by children of all ages. Child Angel uses GPS to track the location of its wearer and it can transmit data over either Wi-Fi or GSM. Child Angel bracelets themselves can be customized to change the look, making them more appealing to children as an everyday wearable. Also, Child Angel will send a notification to a parent’s smartphone anytime the bracelet strap is undone. If a child is lost or feels endangered, this system could easily be used to send a signal back to the parent.

Interview by Scott of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the TechPodcast Network.

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Fitnet Helps You Get In Shape At CES

Fitnet logo It can be hard to find the time to exercise, especially if there are other things you’d rather be doing. But exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Jamie spoke to Bob Summers of Fitnet about how his company is making getting in shape simple and fun.

Fitnet is an interactive, highly-personalized fitness tracker app that makes it easy to set fitness goals and create a custom weekly fitness plan to help you achieve them. With guidance and video tutorials from real-life fitness trainers, you’ll be getting in shape in no time. Easily squeeze workouts into your schedule whenever you have the time– you only need as little as 5 minutes! It’s perfect for parents, businesspeople, road-trippers, and anyone else with a busy lifestyle and a desire to get fit.

Fitnet is available for free now in the Google Play Store and iOS App Store.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly.

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Kiband Keeps Families Close At CES

Kiband logo

There’s a fine line between keeping a close eye on your kids and being an “overprotective” parent. Kids want to go out and have fun, and parents want to make sure they’re safe. What are families to do when those two well-meaning viewpoints collide? With Kiband, they don’t have to.

Nick got to talk with Jeff from Kiband at CES. Kiband is a smartband for kids that connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to a parent’s smartphone to prevent getting lost. Parents just use the accompanying smartphone app to designate a range in which they can monitor their child’s whereabouts. When the child nears the boundaries of this range, their band will vibrate, and the parent will be alerted. Kiband gives kids the freedom they crave and parents the peace of mind they need.

Kiband will cost between $100-$120 and is available for preorder on Kiband’s website for delivery in June or July.

Interview by Nick DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology

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FreeWavz Wirefree Wearable Earphones

FreeWavz LogoBluetooth headphone are commonplace these days but usually there’s a connector between the two earphones, either as a wire or a band. The FreeWavz wirefree earphones are different, using Bluetooth to transmit the music to both earphones, so there’s no physical connection between the earphones. The earphones are smart too, as the blend between sound from the smartphone and the surrounding environment can be adjusted to match the wearer’s preferences.

That’s the “wirefree” part taken care of. What about the “wearable” bit? Aimed at the fitness enthusiast, FreeWavz aren’t only earphones, they’re fitness bands for the ears, measuring the wearer’s heart rate. As you’d expect, the data is reported back to the connected smartphone but the wearer also hears about his heart rate, calories burned, distance and steps in his ears via the FreeWavz. It’s all clever stuff and there’s more revealed in the interview.

The FreeWavz earphones are expected in the summer and are on pre-order for $219 (RRP is $249).

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor for the TechPodcast Network.

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SmartSafe Brings Data Security To Your Wrist At CES

Ionosys Smart Safe

Our personal data is valuable. With the endless stream of hacks and security breaches flooding the news these days, protecting our private information is more important than ever.

Scott spoke with Stephane Blondeau of Ionosys about the Ionosys SmartSafe. SmartSafe is a wristband that securely stores your passwords, account numbers, and other personal data right on your wrist. The wristband uses a combination of encryption and your personal biometrics to ensure that only you as the owner have access. And with NFC capability, SmartSafe can connect to your other devices, including doors.

SmartSafe will be available in September or October. Price is still to be finalized.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Hexoskin Smart Shirt Now Comes In Small

Hexoskin LogoCanadian outfit Hexoskin has been in the wearables market longer than most, starting out in 2006 and now has a range of smart shirts with a built-in body metric system to measure heart rate, breathing, activity and sleeping using sensors woven into the fabric of the shirt.

Hexoskin, with the support of NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, created sensors made of textile, leaving almost no hardware in the shirt – there’s no watch or tight fitting chest band required. There is a small recording unit that slips into a side pocket on the shirt and communicates with a smartphone via Bluetooth. Both iOS (Apple) and Android phones are supported, and a downloaded app keeps track of all the data. With over 42,000 data points recorded every minute, there’s a fair amount of data.

In addition to the usual metrics, the Hexoskin system also measures heart rate recovery, heart rate variability, breathing rate, breathing volume, activity level, acceleration and cadence, all in real time. These metrics give users the information they need to plan their training programmes and surpass their fitness and athletic goals. Essentially a wearable precision lab, Hexoskin provides its users with high quality metrics in real time – these are tools for people serious about their performance.

Today, Hexoskin announced child and youth sizes for the Hexoskin shirt, making it the world’s first biometric smart shirt tailor-made for kids and teens. Adapted to fit all the same sensors of the adult shirts into the smaller shirt size, the Hexoskin Junior will be available in sizes XXS to XL.

Hexoskin Kids

Youth athletics are popular all over the world,” said Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, Co-Founder and CEO of Hexoskin.  “Whether it’s hockey, baseball, football, soccer, volleyball or track & field, kids are part of intense training programs that are training them to become champions and Olympians.  With the addition of Hexoskin Junior, we’ve set out to provide coaches, parents and kids the invaluable tools our adult shirts provide.

By reviewing the data before, during and after workout sessions, users can exert maximum training effort, while still avoiding fatigue, overtraining and injuries.  This is particularly important with young athletes, especially since they are still growing and can be at a greater risk for injury than adult athletes.

Hexoskin Junior is available for pre-order in sizes XXS to XL and will retail for $149 for the shirt alone. A full starter pack with monitoring devices is $379. Not cheap but if you are going for gold, it’s probably money well spent. For more information, visit www.hexoskin.com.

Fitbit Flex Review

Fitbit LogoOver the past year, I’ve noticed more and more people wearing activity tracking devices and here in Northern Ireland I tend to see Fitbits rather than anything else.  Fitbit has been advertising on TV lately too with “It’s All Fit” and I’m sure that there will be a good number of Zips, Flexes and Charges under the Christmas tree come 25th December. I’ve worn a Zip for nearly two years as part of my efforts to keep my weight down and on review today I have the next model up, the Fitbit Flex. Let’s take a look.

FItbit Flex Package

The Fitbit Flex comes in a neat transparent package that shows off the coloured wristband and opening the packaging reveals the fitness tracker itself, large and small wrist bands, a USB sync dongle and a USB charging dock.

Fitbit Flex Contents

The fitness tracker itself is the small black rectangular unit and it’s slipped inside a small pocket in the wristband to be worn both during the day and asleep at night. The wristbands are made of a soft plastic and are available in ten different colours with additional coloured bands on sale from Fitbit’s online store. The large size fitted me well and the smaller one will suit women and children. It’s not obvious in the pictures, but the Flex uses a push-through buckle to keep the band on. It’s a little tricky to get clicked in sometimes, but it keeps the wristband on and in the two weeks of testing I’ve not had any problems with the Flex falling off accidentally. The Flex is supposed to be water resistant to 10m (30ft) and while I didn’t go that deep, it did survive 1000m of surface swimming.

The tracker has a set of LEDs which show through the transparent plastic window on the wrist band. The user interface is simple with five round LEDs used to communicate with the owner and at a basic level, each dot represents a fifth of the way towards the daily target. For example, if the target is 10,000 steps, one LED is worth 2,000 steps. The picture below shows the tracker has measured 6,000 steps, give or take. Normally none of the lights are on but tap on the band at the tracker and the lights come on.

Fitbit Flex

The Flex has an internal rechargeable battery which lasts about 5 days between charges. To charge the Flex up, the tracker unit is taken out of the wristband and placed in the USB charging cradle which in turn is plugged into any available USB port. Charging is relatively quick, typically taking less than an hour.

Getting the activity data off the Flex is easy too, with syncing available between the Flex and both PCs and smartphones. Fitbit is agnostic with clients available for Windows, Macs, Android and iOS, though check compatibility to be sure as the phone or tablet has to support the Low Energy (LE) version of Bluetooth. Syncing with a desktop or laptop is a case of downloading and installing the app, sticking the USB dongle in and getting going. The dongle and Flex are pre-paired so there’s nothing to worry about there. Sync to a phone is similar – download the app from the relevant store and run it. The app will automatically search for the Flex and connect up. A Fitbit login is needed from fitbit.com and signing up for that is free. There’s a full lifestyle portal online which gives access to fitness stats from any web browser.

Personally I used my Flex almost exclusively with my Android phone (Nexus 4) and tablet (Nexus 9). The app shows daily activity, sleep patterns and can record exercise, weight, food and water if the information is added in conscientiously.

Flex Summary  Flex Summar

Different views of the data can be shown – on the left below is a weekly view. Contrary to indications, I didn’t spend Saturday lounging in front of the TV, but forgot to put the Flex on! The Flex can also track sleep patterns, though it can’t automatically detect sleep and needs the wearer to indicate the approximate time of going to bed and getting up.

Weekly Flex Summary  Flex Sleep Tracking

The Flex unit can vibrate too and vibration is used to give feedback to the wearer on attaining goals. It can be used as an alarm as well and although I wasn’t really keen on wearing the Flex in bed, the wake-up alarm worked well for me, prodding me to stir when I’d turned my other alarm off. I don’t normally wear a watch in bed so I did find wearing the Flex at night a little odd but that’s very much a personal feeling.

In the two weeks I used the Flex, I didn’t come across any other problems bar one time that the unit needed reset. I’m not sure what happened: I think I might have tried to sync with the Flex from both phone and the tablet at the same time but resetting the Flex was simple using the normal paperclip-in-reset-hole and no activity data was lost.

I came to this review as a Fitbit Zip wearer and to start with, I did think that the Flex was a little bit of a backward step as I couldn’t see the number of paces that I’d taken – the Zip shows this information on a small LCD screen.  However, over the course of the trial, I’ve got used to it and if I really want to know, I can do a quick sync with my phone to get the data. The Flex is much better than the Zip when it comes to wearing during activity and doesn’t get accidentally pulled off or left in the locker on trousers. The water resistance of the Flex is a bonus too. One downside is that the Flex doesn’t tell the time, so it can’t replace a wristwatch. For many people this isn’t an issue as they don’t wear a watch but for those who do, the Fitbit Charge is perhaps the answer.

The Fitbit Flex is priced at £79.99 RRP but can be found a little cheaper on-line.

Thanks to Fitbit for providing the Flex for review.