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 apps, ANT+ 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.
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.
It’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.
Let’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.
TomTom 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.
Announced 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)
Undoubtedly 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.
The 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.
Parkinson’s is a terrible condition and while some drugs can ameliorate its effects, it can be tricky get the dosage regime right. Too much and the side effects include involuntary movements called dyskinesia. Andrew interviews Dr Stephen Smith from ClearSky and University of York about their wearable technology and software algorithms that can identify when a patient is receiving too high a dose.
The ClearSky LID-Monitor uses six trackers that are attached to the sufferer for a day, measuring and recording the wearer’s limb movements over the period. At the end of the day, the data from the six trackers is uploaded to a PC and analysed, showing the clinician the parts of the day when the patient suffers from dyskinesia. On the screen below, these periods are shown in green, giving the clinician guidance on suitable changes to medication.
Many people in the UK will have seen advertisements in the past for emergency call necklaces and bracelets aimed at older people who live alone, providing them with reassurance that they can call for help in the event of a fall or other emergency. Typically these products are an older technology, relatively expensive and aesthetically uninspiring. Acticheck aims to bring the idea up-to-date with an inexpensive wearable solution using consumer technology. Andrew interviews Bill to find out more.
Acticheck Assure combines a ruggedised waterproof bracelet with a monitoring hub which connects back to a cloud portal using an broadband Internet connection. In the event of a fall or other emergency, the wrist alert communicates with the hub to send messages to relatives and friends asking for help. The portal can be accessed through desktop computer, tablet or smartphone to manage settings and view personal information.
Acticheck is available now for GB£239 which includes the hub, wrist band and a year of service. The wrist band does need replaced every year or so when the internal battery runs out at a cost of £89.
Earlier this week, GNC visited the Wearable Technology Show in London, England, to check out the state of this developing area. Part trade show and part conference, this was very much B2B territory with “I’ll give you a call next week” and “I’ll send through an NDA” being heard on more than one occasion. Although not a big show, covering only two halls at ExCeL, it incorporated IoT Connect and Augumented Reality VR. There was a strong international presence with exhibitors from Spain, Finland and China, and one person commented that he felt this was probably the #4 event after CES, IFA and MWC, which puts it in illustrious company.
There was an interesting range of exhibitors from the big names like Samsung and TomTom to small entrepreneurs looking for help to take their products to the next level. Check out this embroidered jacket from Bonnie Binary with lights and controls sewn into the coat.
Jaguar were there showing off the F-PACE, a performance SUV stuffed with technology. Prices start from GB£35,000 but the First Edition model at the show was nearly twice that at £65,000. If you’re wondering how this ties in with wearables, the car comes with a waterproof “activity key” wristband that replaces a traditional key fob. The car can also detect when the driver is tired and suggests taking a break. Stunning looking car.
Smart fabrics were much in evidence too. With perhaps the longest track record in the industry, Infi-tex had a cloth that could do multipoint pressure sensing. See how the peaks correspond with the pressure from the fingers.
For the first time I left my trusty Olympus digital voice recorder behind and relied on my OnePlus 2 smartphone with IK Multimedia’s iRig Mic Cast and Sony’s Audio Recorder app for interviews. The iRig seems to cope with the background noise well and Audio Recorder records 44 kHz, 16 bit WAV files and I’m hoping that this will reduce the processing time for each interview. I bagged about 25 interviews and these will be pushed out over the coming weeks.