London’s Wearable Technology Show promises global launches and hot prototypes in fitness, healthcare and lifestyle
Expect a packed house at this year’s Wearable Technology Show. Numbers showing their products at the 2015 event have increased 60 per cent from last year, with more than 100 companies on hand, including Microsoft, Samsung, Intel, Jawbone and Misfit alongside exciting entrants Ambiotex, MyBrain, Nuvo and Made with Glove. Running alongside this is a 200-strong speaker conference providing a clearer picture of what the future of wearables will look like.
Just some of the highlights picked out by organisers Evolve Media include the Nuvo baby and mother monitor that passively records foetal and maternal vital signs for pregnancy or health complications; Teliimo’s ‘illation’ jacket that provides heating along with an integrated Bluetooth system and mobile phone charger, and; Activinsights’ wristband helping health professionals diagnose and manage chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
“This industry may have started out as glasses and watches but the product launches at this year’s Wearable Technology Show prove without a doubt that wearable technology is about much more than accessing our emails on the go – it has valid, and valuable, applications across a wide range of industries and the products in development to aid healthcare are particularly impressive,” commented Lisa Doerr, CEO at the Wearable Technology Show.
Sports and Fitness
One of the biggest markets for wearables is for fitness trackers. Big hitters like Jawbone, Misfit and Samsung feature with upstarts SilverLabel, 2 Pure, Decathlon and Clothing Plus – who integrate textiles and electronics for both sport and medical aids.
Runners and riders at WTS 2015 have some intriguing products for the fit and healthy. Ducere Technologies is launching interactive haptic footwear labelled ‘Lechal’, available as an insole or a shoe, which allows the user to issue voice commands – via a smartphone app – or make simple foot gestures, turning the footwear into a fitness tracker and navigational tool. Lechal communicates with the wearer using gentle vibratory responses or touch feedback. Put that together with the cycling jacket from Glofaster, which also connects to an app and uses light and vibration to give cyclists performance analysis. Glofaster featured on, and was rejected by, Dragon’s Den for its running jacket, but it is now on sale at Harrods.
GameTrak from Sports Performance Tracking is a kind of minimal undergarment that will allow wearers to share and compare their statistics. Team or performance coaches can also use data to compare a team player or athlete’s physical work as a way of getting everyone to up their game. German start-up Ambiotex mentioned in the intro are debuting a prototype for a smart garment to measure biometrical data with medical precision. Again the aim is to give a full data breakdown for optimising performance and better health.
For those who lack motivation or give up weeks into a fitness regime, MYZONE is bringing the MZ-3 tracking system to crack the whip. Gamification is the motivator and the MZ-3 features platform rewards and effort points. Users can upload exercise data to the cloud via a smartphone, where social media integration provides friends, peers and fitness trainers with information on how you are doing.
SmartLife will be there with a smart garment sensor system that promises lab accuracy on heart rate, breathing rate and calorie burn. Results from each are delivered to a lightweight electronic ‘brain’ built wirelessly into clothing, which crunches the numbers and gives wearers a better understanding of how they can improve health, fitness and performance levels. For those who need a system to track gym workouts, software company Beast Technologies is launching the Beast sensor.
“The sports and fitness market is a multi billion dollar industry and athletes – amateur and professional – are traditionally early adopters, which is why wearable technology for this sector is advancing so rapidly and is so exciting for both developers and end users,” commented John Weir, COO at WTS. “In addition to showcasing the latest products being developed for this market, we are also hosting a fascinating Sports Performance conference track, featuring speakers from companies including LG and Mclaren Applied Technologies and debating topics such as innovation, performance and tracking.”
WTS is also hosting The Wearable Technology Start-Up Competition, a Hackfest sponsored by IBM, with winners announced at the after show networking party on 10 March at the Fox Pub next to ExCeL. Last year Wearables winners included Reebok, Fleksy and Virgin Atlantic.