One of the liveliest presences at this year’s Wearable Technology Show was the Intel stand, featuring companies that were finalists in Intel’s ‘Make It Wearable’ competition.
Intel were an energetic lot at WTS 2015. Leading from the front, they had an appearance by British distance runner and 2014 European Championship gold medal winner Jo Pavey, who was there to demo the SMS Audio BioSport heart-monitoring headphones, while running full tilt on a treadmill.
Make It Wearable finalists Arc Wearables and Open Bionics were there too, showcasing innovative products that Intel thinks will evolve the wearable market in exciting ways. Arc’s Pendant is a discreet piece of jewellery that operates using a touch feedback system, understands voice commands and monitors the body, and which Arc COO Tom Shrive thinks has multiple uses in navigation, gaming, sports and sport strategy – especially team games – and military applications where visibility is low or zero.
3D print and robotics maestros Open Bionics have made it their mission to bring down the cost of prosthetic limbs. Actress Grace Mandeville modelled the company’s bionic arm studded with Swarovski crystals at WTS 2015, giving the show a shot of glamour and prosthetics wearers an inexpensive entry point to medical innovation.
Grace was a huge hit with her easy-going personality and bling robotic arm. Open Bionics’ tagline is ‘We’re arming the masses’ and with its robotic prosthetics aiming to offer advanced functionality for well under £1,000, the team is bringing advanced lightweight technology to people who really need it, at low cost. The company works with the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, which encourages partnerships between local businesses and universities.
Elsewhere there was a fantastic haute couture dress from Turkish designers Ezra + Tuba called the ‘Wearable Butterfly Effect’, powered by the Intel Edison computer module and featuring electronic butterflies that flew off on command to create a sensational fashion statement. Picking them up afterwards, not such a strong statement, but definitely good manners.
Intel also had space dedicated to the highly luminous Visijax cycling jackets, in-built with LEDs in a variety of colours and powered by a USB rechargeable Li-ion battery. Visijax has a simple one-touch operation for its self-cancelling turn indicators – practical at any time of day or night. Stand out even more with one of its rechargeable LED belts, lighting up the daily commute.