Category Archives: Special Media

Special Media Events

Get Smart about Sleep with the Oura Ring at Wearable Technology Show



When I saw the second generation of the Oura smart ring at the Wearable Technology Show, I was impressed. The Oura team has managed to cram their smart ring with everything you’d expect to find in an activity tracker – motion, pulse, temperature. What you might have expected to wear on your wrist, you can now wear on your finger, and it looks like a piece of jewellery, not a tech gadget.

And while steps and pulse rate are interesting, the Oura ring isn’t only about the day and motion. It continues the prevalent theme of getting a good night’s sleep. The smart ring measures in detail blood flow, motion and temperature to track sleep, and the Oura app shows the wearer their sleep patterns, including the amount of deep sleep. With this information, the wearer can adjust their behaviours before bedtime and see the impact of the changes the next day via the Oura app (available for iOS and Android). The ring syncs wirelessly via Bluetooth to nearby smartphones.

Like jewellery, there’s plenty of choice in the models and colours. There are three models; Heritage, Balance and Balance Diamond, and four colours; silver, black, and premium rose and stealth. Not all combinations of model and colour are available – check here.

The Heritage and Balance models are priced at US$299 / 314€ and the Balance Diamond is US$999 / 1049€. Yes, those are real diamonds. Pre-orders are open now with delivery expected in June or July for orders taken now. There’s $50 / 50€ for orders before end of April.

There’s more in my interview with Marjo and Hannu, Oura’s Chief Scientific Officer.

Ok, so the Oura ring doesn’t show the time, but I’ve a perfectly good wristwatch for that.


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.


Digital Health London Innovates with NHS at Wearable Technology Show



The British National Health Service (NHS) is often thought of as a single organisation but it’s more of a Hydra-esque organism made of many semi-autonomous agencies each with their area of expertise and sources of funding. Consequently, it can be hard for entrepreneurs and startups to engage with the NHS – where do you start? I chat with Rose from Digital Health London, a programme aiming to speed up the development and scaling of digital innovations across health and care, and pioneer their adoption by the NHS…matching innovators with NHS need, and supporting them to navigate the UK health environment.

The Digital Health London accelerator programme works with small-to-medium companies to help these firms access NHS providers through an NHS Navigator. The Navigator is someone who has good understanding of how the NHS works and is funded, and can guide the company to make the right contacts.

The programme also provides guidance on how to work within healthcare, such as running clinic trials, patient safety and handling confidential information. Hopefully these startups can avoid some of the pitfalls seen recently with some of the larger social media companies!


From Idea to Product with Thrive at Wearable Technology Show



Specialists in wearable technology, Thrive Wearables helps companies and entrepreneurs take ideas and concepts through to finished products. At the Wearable Technology Show, I chat with Jacob, Thrive’s founder, about their design service and the challenges facing the wearable market in 2018.

To understand what Thrive do, think of a big company that sells goods that aren’t electronic in any way. Say, clothes or shoes. The clothier can see complementary wearables as an opportunity but has no knowledge or experience in the space. In this instance, it can turn to Thrive Wearables to help deliver the imagined product without the need to develop in-house skills.

Alternatively, the Thrive team can mentor startups to get their ideas to a prototype. The startup can then seek the funding needed to take the prototype to finished product.

For example, Thrive worked with BioSelf on their Sensate stress management wareable which is currently in a beta phase and taking pre-orders.

Looking to the future, Jacob sees wearable tech disappearing into clothing and becoming more modularised and seamless. Key to delivering this change are higher quality sensors, better power sources and improved communication networks. Here’s to the next few years.


Really Smart Shoes from Tinker Design at Wearable Technology Show



While most tech shows have their headline acts like Apple and Samsung, I really enjoy talking to the the entrepreneurs, artisans and artists who come up with ideas and concepts that are unlikely to be on the shelves PC World anytime soon. Here’s a great example from the Wearable Technology Show: Thushara from Tinker Design has these beautiful smart shoes. Not content with the normal smart features of steps and distance, these shoes give the wearer a gentle foot massage under control of their smartphone. It’s a great combination of design, aesthetics and electronics.

Supported by Centre for Fashion Enterprise, a fashion business incubator, Thushara hopes to bring these to market in around six months. No details on price but as these are handmade shoes, they’re not going to be cheap.


Safe Cyclists Save with Nomi at Wearable Technology Show



Kicking off GNC’s coverage of the Wearable Technology Show, I chat to Valentina of Nomi. Their bright backpack LED display keeps cyclists safe while doubling up as a mobile billboard. The Nomi uses GPS to locate the cyclist and then show adverts relevant to the local area, with the rider earning a small commission from the advertiser.

Alternatively, the display can be programmed to show pictures or other information from, say, Twitter or Facebook.
 

The Nomi display is expected to come to market within a year and will be relatively inexpensive at around 30 euros.


Aveine: Breath of the Wine at CES 2018



As serious wine connoisseurs know, you have to let red (and some white) wines breathe after opening, allowing them to aerate for the best aroma and taste. As a generalisation, the younger the wine, the longer it needs to rest before drinking. Very young wines might need a few hours, but half-an-hour is the minimum. And simply taking the cork out doesn’t count: the wine needs to be decanted (or double-decanted back into the bottle) for proper aeration. If this sounds like too much effort, then take a look at Aveine, a connected aerator and winner of a CES Innovation Award. Don and Matthieu get every wine tasting its best.

Thanks to the connected aerator Aveine, you can immediately taste any wine in ideal conditions without having to wait 30 minutes or more. Place the aerator on the bottle, scan the label with your smartphone and serve. The smartphone checks for the wine in its database, connects to the Aveine and adjusts the aeration so that the aerator breathes the right amount of air as the wine is poured allowing it to breathe in an instant. Any red wine will benefit and there’s no waiting around or pouring into decanters.

The Aveine aerator is launching on Indiegogo in March – signup for notifications at Aveine. Retail pricing is expected to be US$200 with deals on Indiegogo. Delivery in June.

Don Baine is the Gadget Professor and gives lectures at TheGadgetProfessor.com.

P.S. This is possibly the funniest CES video – a few things are lost in translation.

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