WTS 2015 featured the Wearables 2015 Awards with winners announced in categories including consumer product, medical technology, augmented reality and best innovation, as well as one overall winner.
Winners in eight categories were revealed after the first day’s play at the Wearable Technology Show (WTS) 2015. Best Consumer Product and title of Overall Wearable Winner went to Withings – a company founded in France by two former Thomson Electronics employees – for its stylish and elegant Activite smartwatch made in Switzerland. Activite ticks all the right boxes: fashionable yet understated (tick), provides performance and lifestyle data (tick) actually looking like a watch and not a science fiction prop (tick).
There are some neat features on board the Activite: scratch resistant sapphire glass face, water resistant to 50m, couples to health mate mobile app that monitors physical activity and sleep patterns, calorie tracker, wireless charging, iOS and Android compatibility, plus a button cell battery with eight months of life.
Back to Basics
Winner in the Best App category was medical devices company Hocoma for its Valedo digital back coach. Valedo picks up information from sensors on the patient’s back and translates that into specific exercises to alleviate lower back pain, caused by – among other things – sitting down a lot and playing with computers or mobile devices. How ironic. Valedo gamifies the back exercise to make it more appealing and their promo video below gives some details. Please backs, don’t give up on us…
Technology and product development company Cambridge Consultants picked up the Best Innovation award for Xelflex sensor technology. Xelflex is a smart textile that uses optical fibres stitched into it to gather information on a wide range of motion and performance activities. Traditional smart fabrics are bulky and sensitive to moisture, but the Xelflex suit has only a small credit card sized electronics pack associated with it and integrated fibre optic cables. By tracking the way that light bends in fibre optics, the Xelflex can be used for fitness and performance coaching in tennis or golf, or in physiotherapy to improve posture and movement.
For the Best Medical Wearable, Biovotion was chosen for its body sensing physiological programme. Biovotion has developed a wireless sensor called the vital sign monitoring (VSM) sensor that won awards at the Nokia Sensing Challenge XChallenge in 2014, as well as a mobile monitoring and secure cloud-based platform for accessing data.
Choosing a winner for the Best Start-Up Business Award must have been quite a task, but it eventually went to women’s intimate wearable, the Elvie. This headline from The Mirror sums it up succinctly: ‘Elvie is a fitness tracker you insert into your vagina’. Designed to train the pelvic floor muscles with kegel exercises, the Elvie’s strapline is ‘Your most personal trainer’. I doubt you’d want to borrow it from a friend that’s for sure.
Runners up and shortlisted companies in this category were many and varied but included some excellent prospects and exciting technology propositions, including:
- Active In Time – software and mobile app creator for leisure operators, including GymJam gym locator and the Speedo Fit swimming fitness app.
- Augmented Pixels – retail AR specialists who have developed for retail, real estate, furniture sales and interactive brand experiences.
- Beast Technologies – makers of a smartwatch and a creative fitness sensor that can be worn or attached magnetically to weight lifting equipment to give workout data.
- Polar OLED – inexpensive liquid crystal polymer OLED displays for wearables, signage and medical diagnostic devices.
- PitPat Pets – an activity monitor and app for pet owners and their dogs.
- Team Turquoise – developers of the Doppel, a touch interactive activity monitoring wristband that works on the body’s natural response to rhythm.
AR and VR
Rounding off the awards were the Best AR Company award – won by Daqri, whose smart helmet could be a winning concept in work wearable training and maintenance programmes – and the Crunchwear Editor’s Award, which went to Samsung’s Gear VR headset. Crunchwear is a great site for keeping up with what is going on in wearables, so have a look and bookmark it. Incidentally, Samsung’s Gear VR was one of the hits of the wearables show this year. Everyone wanted to test out its 360 video demo in the nifty VR swivel chair.
“In addition to shining a light on the best products, the awards also reward the best wearable businesses, recognising those that have offered the highest level of innovation, performance and service over the past year,” said John Weir, COO of Evolve, organisers of the Wearable Technology Show. “The level of this year’s entrants was outstanding. It was a hard fought battle and our winners really are the crème de la crème of the wearables industry.”