Category Archives: wearable

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.


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 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.

Mio Alpha


Atheer Uses Android for AiR at WTS



logo_atheerAtheer‘s AR smart glasses provide an interactive experience for industry, overlaying digital information for manufacturing, construction and medical uses. Andrew explores Atheer AiR and augmented reality with Theo from Atheer at the Wearable Technology Show.

Atheer has worked hard to develop a set of easy-to-use and self-contained augmented reality smart glasses with a familiar user interface. Simply, the glasses run Android with familiar apps and navigation, though Atheer have built additional features and apps, such as 3D depth. Atheer have used their experience in UI to ensure that the digital world doesn’t interfere with reality, positioning content on the periphery while keeping central vision clear. The built-in camera detects hand motion and gestures. Tap on a virtual icon and the app launches.

AtheerAir AR Googles

I tried out Atheer’s first generation smart glasses and I was surprised at the experience. While there’s a certain element of novelty, I could see how they’d be useful in a range of industries and beyond that, I don’t think it’ll be too long before AR is common in the office and at home.


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


Beats for Baby from Babypod at WTS



Babypod Logo

The article and interview concerns an intimate feminine product for use during pregnancy. If this is likely to offend, please stop reading now.

Most children enjoy music, rhythm and dance so it doesn’t take much of stretch of the imagination to think that even unborn babies would respond to music while in the womb. Unfortunately there’s a great deal of sound-deadening material between the baby and the outside world. Remember those times when you could feel the music inside? How loud was the music then? Going by my experience, it was ear-ringingly loud, and consequently the problem is getting the music through to the baby without deafening mum. Fortunately, Babypod have the answer to this problem; Andrew finds out what it is from Alex.

As you’ll see from the pictures, the Babypod is a small silicone rubber ovoid with a built-in speaker. To use, the Babypod is inserted into the vagina, bringing the music much closer to the unborn child in the amniotic sac. The attached stereo cable is plugged into a smartphone or mp3 player to play music, and there’s a secondary audio jack to share the music with mum. When in use, scans have shown babies to respond to the music by sticking their tongues out or shaking their heads, with 87% of babies responding to music.

The Babypod website has much more to say on the benefits and the safety of the Babypod itself but it does appear to have been trialled scientifically and safely. The Babypod is available now for just under GB£100.

Babypod