Tag Archives: wearable

ProGlove Scans from the Back of the Hand at Wearable Technology Show



Laser barcode scanners have revolutionised stock management and inventory processing in a wide range of industries and they’re ubiquitous at the supermarket checkout. Many of these scanners are handheld models that are constantly picked up and put down as needed, but ProGlove offers an alternative with the barcode scanner that’s fitted on the back of a glove. I chat with Aaron from ProGlove as the company brings to the scanner to the UK.

Even to someone who doesn’t work in this space, the benefits are obvious. A worker isn’t constantly picking up and putting down the scanner and the scanner comes with the worker without any thought; it doesn’t get left behind on a shelf. It’s ingenious and solves a couple of problems in one go. The scanner follows all the major standards and integrating the ProGlove scanner into an existing setup should be straightforward.

ProGlove have already worked with a number of big names – Audi, BMW, Skoda, John Deere, Bosch – so it looks like they’ve a good thing going here.


Silver Threads from Statex at Wearable Technology Show



At the Wearable Technology Show, there were many vendors demonstrating clothing with built-in sensors and lights – I think there was even one with a Raspberry Pi tucked away in the lining. All of them have the problem of how to get power from a battery pack to the electronics and one solution is to use a conducting thread or yarn. Statex have a silver-based yarn which can be woven or embroidered into a cloth to make a circuit. The silver and polyamide mix gives a balance of lightweight and elasticity while still conducting electricity. I discuss the practicalities of silver threads with Robert from Statex.

Statex were demonstrating the properties of the silver yarn with a small keyboard that was embroidered into a cloth along with a small circuitboard to produce the tones and flash some lights. It’s not a baby grand piano, but it’s lots of fun and shows off the potential. They were embroidering some of them at a nearby stand and I’m sorry I didn’t snaffle one!

Statex is a world-wide leader in the silver-coated fabrics industry. The company has successful developed silver-based yarns, textiles, bandages and carpets which provide a range of benefits from electrical conductivity and RF shielding to anti-bacterial and fungicidal properties.


Get the Right Light with Lys at Wearable Technology Show



It’s well established now that blue light has a disruptive effect on sleep as it affects the production of melatonin more than any other wavelength of light but it’s not only effect of light in the hour before bedtime that’s important. Much of our day is spent indoors in often poor quality light conditions. But how bad is it? The Lys light tracker can help with that, and I find out more from Christina, CEO and Founder, at the Wearable Technology Show.

UK firm Lys Technologies have developed Lys as a light tracker for the indoor generation and physically it’s a small round device that clips onto clothing. The intention is that you get Lys as close as possible to your eyes so that the tracker receives a similar amount of light radiation. Lys not only measures the intensity of light falling on it, but also the quality, which for light is represented by its wavelength. Most of us are familiar with the light spectrum which runs from infrared through the ultraviolet but white light is not a single colour: it’s made up of many colours (remember the experiment with the prism in school?). By slightly adjusting the composition of the light, you can end up with bluish whites and warm (reddish) whites – you might have seen these descriptions on LED lighting.

The other side of the coin is that humans have a circadian rhythm that’s aligned to the 24 hours of the day (give or take). This rhythm is reinforced by daylight received in the eyes but as we now spend so much of our time indoors, sometimes the rhythm becomes disrupted and we have difficulty sleeping. One of the key differences between natural and artificial light is that daylight is “full spectrum” with a broad range of wavelengths, whereas most bulbs only approximate daylight with a smaller number of wavelengths.

Anyway, that’s all by-the-bye. The important thing is that the Lys tracker can measure the light falling on it during the day, and provide this information to you via an app, showing you the quality, intensity and duration of the light. This guides you to help get the “right light” to reinforce the circadian rhythms and get a good night’s sleep.

Just in case you are wondering, Lys means light in Danish, and is a nod to Christina’s Danish roots.

The Lys tracker is available to purchase now for GB£89 but what I’m most interested in are some of the possible future developments where information from Lys is fed into smart lighting systems like Philips Hue or LIFX which can adjust their colours to prepare you for bed. That’s really where the smart home becomes smart.


Mio Heart Rate and Activity Trackers at WTS



Mio Logo Mio‘s range of heart rate and activity trackers compares well with the big names in the fitness space, but it’s perhaps not the best known brand, though it does have history behind it. At the Wearable Technology Show, Andrew chats with Michael about Mio’s products and the background to the company.

Specialising in heart rate tracking during activity, all the models in Mio’s range have optical sensors built into the wrist bands to measure the wearers pulse. Typically, the trackers are accurate to one beat per minute when compared with a medical grade EKG. There are four models, Link, Velo, Fuse and Alpha, with the Velo aimed at cyclists.

Communicating with smartphones is done via Bluetooth (what else?) and the Mio’s are compatible with a range of appsANT+ devices and bike computers (not Alpha). In addition to the heart rate, the trackers will give the usual fitness metrics like calories and steps.

All the trackers are available now, with prices from GB£75 to £120. A new model, the Slice, is expected out later in the year.

Mio Alpha


Bonnie Binary Demos E-Textiles at WTS



BonnieBinary Logo For me, this was one of the highlights of the Wearable Technology Show. Bonnie Binary is a design consultancy offering creative skills and prototyping for e-textile and associated wearable technology products.

The team at Bonnie Binary have created impressive demonstrations of e-textiles, with lights sewn into the cloth responding to touch on other areas of the fabric.

Rather than explain what Bonnie Binary can do, here are two short videos demonstrating their e-textile capabilities and founder Annie Lywood tells me more in the interview.


PitPat Activity Tracker for Dogs at WTS



pitpatIt’s all too easy for both humans and dogs to get a little overweight with a few extra inches round the tummy. The PitPat activity tracker is designed to help dogs (and their owners) stay healthy and fit. Andrew from PitPat explains more.

Around the size of a matchbox, the lightweight PitPat attaches to the dog’s collar using Velcro and records the animal’s activity throughout the day. Given the breed and age of dog, the PitPat app (free download from the Apple and Google app stores) shows suitable activity goals.

Pressing the tracker’s orange button transmits the data to the owner’s smartphone and the app shows the owner what the dog has been doing and whether the goals have been met. Future enhancements to the app will let owners share the activity with friends and social media networks.

The PitPat is waterproof for splashing around (IP67) and the user-replaceable battery will last about a year.

The PitPat has been on sale since January and is available from pet shops and on-line for around GB£40. Cuddly toy not included.

PitPat Dog Activity Tracker

 


Bittium Designs Wearables at WTS



Bittium LogoLet’s say that you are a major manufacturer of sportswear and you need an activity tracker to keep up with the market. You’ve no experience in electronics or wearables, so what do you do? If you’re Adidas, you turn to Bittium and get the professionals on the job. Martti, Senior Specialist at Bittium, takes Andrew through the company’s offering.

Finnish firm Bittium are a technology design house, specialising in connectivity solutions, from 4G base stations to mobile phones, IoT and wearables. Bittium will take an idea for a product and develop it to a finished product, including physical design, hardware and software.

Here’s the tracker that Bittium did for Adidas, the MiCoach Smart Run.  It’s a few years old now (2013) but it’s interesting to hear the development story.

Bittium Adidias


TomTom’s Golfer 2 GPS Watch at WTS



TomTom LogoTomTom are well know for their in-car navigation devices with over 75 million of them sold since 2004, including specialised variants for motorbikes and trucks. Building on their success with GPS, TomTom has launched wearable devices for runners and golfers. Tom tells Andrew all about the company’s latest developments.

TomTom GolferAnnounced at the Wearable Technology Show, the new TomTom Golfer 2 is a GPS watch designed to help golfers improve their game by using automatic shot detection for detailed post-round analysis at the nineteenth hole. Incredibly, the Golfer 2 has knowledge of over 40,000 courses worldwide. It will cost 249 € when released in May.

Although not a brand-new product, I was impressed by the TomTom Bandit, an action cam with a killer feature. After a fast off-piste descent down a mountain, just shake the Bandit and it will assemble a highlight clip in minutes using sensor data to figure out the most exciting parts of skiing. As Tom mentions in the interview, the pain of video editing is one of the main reasons action cam owners don’t use their cameras. The Bandit costs from GB£269. I want one!

(Apologies to Tom – the last part of the interview didn’t record properly)


MainTool Smart Strap at Wearable Tech Show



Maintool logoUndoubtedly smart watches have their place but few watch aficionados are going to replace their Swiss timepiece with a mass-produced device of limited lifespan. MainTool have a potential answer for those who want both the horology and the smarts. Andrew finds out more from Asier.

The MainTool’s concept is simple. Instead of building the sensors into the watch, put the electronics into the leather strap. Brilliant! Like many activity trackers, the MainTool smart strap measures steps, heart rate, sleep and temperature. For smartphone owners, the strap provides alarms and call notifications passed from the phone via Bluetooth. Calls can be rejected from the MainTool strap too. As expected, there’s a complementary smartphone app.

On the practical side, the MainTool smart strap is waterproof and has around 2-3 weeks of battery life. The picture shows the naked electronics before it’s put inside the leather strap.

Aimed at the B2B market, expect to see this coming to market within the next few months.

Maintool Smart Strap


The Gator Watch Phone Tracker at Wearable Tech Show



Gator WatchThe Gator watch phone and tracker is for kids who need a little independence but are too young for a smartphone. Andrew interviews Colleen from Techsixtyfour to find out the benefits of this Tracy-esque watch.

The Gator watch looks like a stylish smart watch with both analogue and digital displays, but it’s also a wearable mobile phone that lets the child call two pre-defined numbers, e.g. mum and dad, whenever needed. The watch can only receive calls from registered numbers so while family and friends can call the child, there’s no danger of strangers or bullies calling. For further peace of mind, parents can track the location of the child on a map.

The SIM card inside works with multiple carriers to minimise the risk of being in a dead spot and the Gator can roam through most of the EU. Battery life is around 4 days.

The Gator will be shipping next month and can be pre-ordered for GB£89. The RRP will be £99 when on-sale. A mobile contract is needed too, costing £9 per month.

Gator Watch for Kids