Wearables

Pleased to see a very large and action packed Humaneyes booth at CES very much dedicated to AR/VR/3D360º capture and distribution. As with other application sectors, with their prosumer priced camera commercially available, it is now all about relevant content, applications and widespread access to content.  
Was very happy to see the latest Humaneyes VUZE 3D360º camera on show, of course as I covered it in a CES2016 WCME Entry when they also were finalists and then won the Last Gadget Standing award that year. But this year Humaneyes made some big announcements - firstly, an Underwater housing and software needed for their 3D360º camera. This is a mean feat given the difficulties getting full sphere and 3D stitching working underwater. They also announced the selection by the National Geographic Channel of the VUZE camera to capture 3D360º footage inside the International Space Station. European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli will use a Vuze VR camera to document life on the ISS for a VR companion to National Geographic's upcoming series "One Strange Rock." In addition, Humaneyes are also developing a hosting facility (“Humaneyes Zone”) for 3D360º content so VUZE user's content and projects can be stored and made available to others. The Humaneyes…
Wide Field of View is all important fo AR Smartglasses to be valuable to consumers. Nice to see this approach progressing both in technical and user testing areas.The world needs a human friendly digital interface without any trade offs.
Today’s digital life is mostly uncomfortable, unhealthy and reclusive, alienating people from what truly matters: the real world. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are the next digital frontier, but strapping a clunky box to your head isn’t a pleasant way to access the future. AR and VR should be wearable and not just bearable. So it appears that a truly uncompromising wide F0V eyewear solution may be becoming possible: Innovega's emacula Potentially affordable, lightweight and discreet vision enhancement system that lets you enjoy a full field of view while you engage with all your favorite digital content. emacula retina technologies have potential to merge your virtual and real world seamlessly. This approach could finally enable normal looking smart glasses in the consumer sector.   Short video describing Innovega’s Innovative approach to achieving wide Field of View AR This is one to watch! www.innovega-inc.com    
A good example of a "connected sensor" becoming a complete and very portable capability when used with a Smartphone App. Third Eye wireless thermal attachment is a smart solution for thermal capability on the go. Paired with Smartphone or Smartglasses, Third Eye delivers lightweight, hands-free thermal imaging - creating a multitude of use cases and putting them into the hands of anyone. The Signal Sensor can also be clipped to normal glasses to capture a first-person point of view on the Smartphone. At CES2018 I met with Ivan Arbouzov, President of RoundConcept, makers of the Signal Thermal Sensing device and “Third Eye” App (iOS and Android)  Third Eye turns smart glasses and mobile devices into advanced thermal vision systems for real time viewing and analysis or to capture a thermal video or still picture. Even capable of Live-video streaming.The precise remote temperature measurements and scanning are ideal for many applications such as in the medical, industrial, environmental sectors plus night vision applications for professional and amateur uses such as hunting and for search and rescue. Accuracy plus small size and simplicity of operation make this an enabler for many applications where thermal sensing would be valuable, but previously impractical or simply not available.
Panono is a throwable panoramic ball camera which captures everything in every direction for amazing 108 megapixel, 360° X 360° full-spherical panoramic images. It has an unprecedented 36 cameras that trigger simultaneously in the air to deliver images that capture every detail in every direction with a super-high resolution of 108 megapixels. 11cm in diameter and weighs 480 grams and connects over WiFi with iOS and Andriod Apps.The Panono Camera is available for preorder. 
MergeVR make some pretty amazing VR Goggles, but it was the Merge Cube that Caught My Eye. It is a Hologram you hold in your hand. A six-sided "virtual screen" for AR content which you can make yourself, or get on the Merge Cube Miniverse website.   The Merge Cube merges the physical and digital worlds using augmented reality technology and the powerful camera and sensors in your mobile device. According to MergeVR, t’s the first object of its kind, and it’s creating new ways for people to interact with technology. Now you can hold a galaxy in the palm of your hand, examine fossils and ancient artifacts like a real archaeologist, watch as a volcano erupts before your eyes, and play games in ways never possible before! The sky is virtually the limit!
Vuzix stole the show with Best in Show AR Glasses at CES this year - the Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses. Also declared so by all the major technology news publications and networks. A full spec, non-tethered pair of glasses which will be targetted for the industrial/enterprise space due to the rich portfolio of applications that will already run on the Blade Smart Glasses (and initial price). They are also real evidence that proper consumer grade (style, price and function) AR glasses are just around the corner. Consumer applications writers, start your engines! These are certainly a potential prosumer “item” now with improvements in price and styling surely coming soon I suspect. Vuzix also upgraded their well established M100 smart glasses now used by in many industrial applications, and showed a better, brighter M300 model complete with a suite of out-of-the-Box applications for industry. Ready to turn on and deploy - as easy as Click - Connect - Collaborate. These two products will now move us rapidly from the Smartglasses technology emphasis of the past to the real world applications and valuable use cases.
The Lumus display continues to look better each year and wins the prize for the best (currently available) display in my opinion, but yet to find its way into a finished and commercially available products. This display may be destined for consumer Smartglasses, but seems to be relegated to one eye industrial applications so far. Manufacturing cost seems to have been the the major problem to date. They showed me lenses with 40º and 55º FoV. and both were bright and vivid displays with quite good, clear see through as well.Perhaps the Quanta Computer investment and their manufacturing expertise will yield a viable component for lower cost smartglasses? Also the potential of link up with Apple looks interesting.  I will be monitoring progress...
FITT360, one of the two "First Person Shooter" 360º cameras I saw at CES. Both claim to be the first and only!  Very interesting and encouraging to see this new category of 360º photography emerge at this time. This whole sector will depend on content, storytelling and distribution posibilities, but devices and apps like this really turn things on.  A very wearable design, around the neck so handsfree water/heatproof, with three cameras on board and fixing/steadying/stitching in the Smartphone App. For taking "selfless" situational selfies (without you in them).  Great idea and I am excited, but a Crowdfunded/preorder product, not yet fully baked so I will let them make the claims! (I have added a few points in brackets)      Connected to the Cloud, the FITT360 automatically saves all of your footage with a single tap on the mobile application.With shareable VR-Ready contents, your loved ones at home can enjoy your point of view in real time.Smart Camera – Connected System – VR ReadyFull HD 360° Recording – Up to 90 Minutes3 Full HD Cameras surrounding the (neck worn) FITT360 captures surroundings of each user in the True First Person View (FPV) with up to 90 minutes of recording time.Companion…
ORBI 360 Sometimes products appear just because they can - in other words the technology is there, but so often the appliications and valuable use cases are not. A sad sight for me to see as someone doing due diligence on consumer targetted products being developed for a (IMHO) non-viable market. Two bits of good news here - the technology exists to support the application, and I believe there is a real market for this. This is another one of the two "First Person Shooter" 360º cameras I saw at CES. Both claim to be the first and only! Very interesting and encouraging to see this new category of 360º photography emerge at this time.  This whole sector will depend on content, storytelling and distribution posibilities, but devices and apps like will this really turn things on. A very wearable design, a pair of glasses with four cameras on board and Smartphone App. For taking "selfless" situational selfies (without you in them). Great idea and I am excited, but another Crowdfunded/preorder product, not yet fully baked so I will let them make the claims!         ORBI specializes in developing innovative hardware and software that unlocks extraordinary new ways…
I am sometimes a skeptic about VR/AR gaming. Seems to be rather too techy and even often quite low resolution for my liking. And the storytelling and educational aspects often seem a bit lacking. But I would say that, being one who is always looking for the bigger story and valuable use cases rather than just for killing time.  The Lenovo STAR WARS:Jedi Challenges technology and Smartphone games Application is of a different breed. Very clever how they use the smartphone at 45º in the headset in a way that lets you see the room you are in (visual see-through, not video) and then lets you play Star Wars Chess or challenge the various Star Wars charactors to Light Sabre duels. But first, to qualify to fight, you need to learn how to use a light sabre! Light Sabre Training also done well, and fun. The light sabre itself is stunning to look at and hold and in your virtual vision and hearing pops out just like in the movie. Lots of virtual charactors and action in your living room or kitchen. Virtual Star Wars charactors and in fact everything in your line of sight is life-sized and lifelike and…
Nice to see combinations of existing technology and innovative development and integration exploited to create a highly valuable aid for the partially sighted.  Whether reading use-by dates on products, magazines and books or anything in between. Also recognising everyday things and people. The product was a finalist in the Last Gadget Standing event at CES (I was one of the judges) and the MC handed the presenter his stage script, and OrCam MyEye read it flawlessly! Very impressive! But OrCam MyEye is not just about reading. It also assists with Identifying products, money notes, colours and recognising faces and other everyday encounters that sighted people take for granted OrCam MyEye 2.0 is an advanced artificial vision device for people who have vision and reading disabilities. The breakthrough device instantly and discreetly communicates vital visual information: printed and digital text – from any surface, faces, products, colors, and money.The headset is designed with the needs of these users in mind. Many innovative technologies have been deployed in the design, this revolutionary wearable device is small, comfortable, and easy to use.The newly-designed OrCam MyEye 2.0 exemplifies a revolution in wearable artificial vision technology for people who are blind, visually impaired or have…
Looxid Labs explores the user's mind and their unspoken emotions! Using human physiological signal sensors, their VR Headset monitors your eyes and brainwaves to determine your emotion, attention and interest while watching VR content. Two eye tracking cameras and six brain-wave sensors are built into the specialised VR headset. Theoretically allows the tracking of what the user themselves can't describe. Potentially valuable use cases! Similar to well established MyndPlay VR in the UK who have been doing this for a few years, but the MyndPlay brain sensors can be worn and user response analysed in conjunction with most existing VR headsets and the actual VR content can be triggered to change depending on user's emotion and reactions. A very interesting area, so carry on Looxid and Myndplay!
I have noted Bebop's sensing fabric for a few years now and knew that it would find it's way into some valuable applications spaces soon. Princpally being applied to wearables such as shoe insoles, sleeve control, etc. But it was this year's featured product that Caught My Eye - an interactive input glove for VR. The fabric specification was impressive, but it's the Touch and Haptics AI that make this a potential component for many applications.  So I was very pleased to see the BeBop Sensors Forte Wireless Data Glove system, a fully featured affordable data glove to incorporate haptics and super accurate, rapid sensing for gaming and AR/VR environments for a more realistic VR experience. The hand tracking system tracks fingers and fingertips with haptics, the Forte Glove is an ultra-comfortable one-size-fits-all glove, conducive to lengthy Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality sessions due to its light weight and open airy design. Light and simple looking, it also can be worn inside a glove, for example. Sensing speed and accurately sensing finger movements are key features along with tactile feedback to the fingertips.   The glove provides Super Accurate Rapid Sensing with data rates at 150 frames per second. With lag time eliminated,…
I am always seeking what I call “technology enabled, consumer driven change”. There is growing evidence that health conscious consumers will instigate much of the rapid change in healthcare, rather than organically in the healthcare industry itself. This is effectively where  personal emphasis on wellness and preventative healthcare will emerge rather than from the reactive nature of your relationship with your healthcare provider. So here is one more personal item that could change the dynamics of heart health not just in terms of monitoring vitals, but also in building a very valuable contextual database of clinical data specific to the wearer! Normal Looking, and according to Omron, “Clinically Validated & Accurate”  The HEARTGUIDE Wrist Watch works with a smartphone App and has a long list of vital sign monitoring sensors, but now Omron adds one measurement that has been missing from wrist wearables to date - a Blood Pressure Monitor. It syncs with the Omron app to track and share vital data about your heart health and keeps track of physical activity and sleep as well.Currently undergoing FDA testing, available later this year for about the same price as an Apple Watch.But the real bonus for me came from a discussion…
Last Gadget Standing finalist    Modius from Neurovalens - a few short, relaxing sessions a day apparently does the trick! More and more, consumer wearables are making meaningful improvements to people’s well-being. Helping people achieve leaner, healthier bodies improves quality of life and could radically reduce healthcare costs and even save lives. So this one got my attention! This product - Modius, is a non-invasive headset which, through vestibular nerve stimulation claims to do just that. The device was designed to “activate the epicenter in the brain - the hypothalamus - that causes people to struggle with their weight”. Neurovalens, a neuroscience technology company headed up by Dr. Jason McKeown, launched the product last year after a successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and secured orders on a global scale. Results from users in 80 countries are now pouring in: they claim 80% of users have experienced significant weight loss from using the device and 1 ton of collective weight has been shed!This one caught my eye and is one to watch in my opinion. I will be watching :-)
ReSound has upped it's "Smart Hearing" capability with a further link back to your audiologist. GN Hearing’s ReSound LiNX 3D brings telehealth to audiology as the world’s first hearing aid with comprehensive remote fine-tuning capabilities. Had a great briefing on this at CES from ReSound’s Vice President Global Medical Affairs Dave Fabry.  But they are not stopping there.  ReSound LiNX 3D’s advanced Made for iPhone capability also enables users to easily and discreetly personalize settings through an app and stream audio such as phone calls, music, and turn-by-turn directions from their smartphone or Apple Watch to their hearing aids.But most interesting were the discussions about where ReSound is going in this area in terms of taking advantage of the platform to go many steps further to increase the awareness of the users to what is going on around them. And even to start using the ear as a very effective place to monitor various aspects of wellness.  The key is that a hearing aid wearer has them in 100% of the waking hours so all these potential features could make that person actually much more aware and alert than a person with a phone in their pocket or sometimes wearing music…
Context is King! Lifefuels is a smart bottle that mixes drinks on the go - with nutrients and to your taste and situation. Personalidsed drinks designed to keep you at your best. Just add water, select your "fuel pods" and go!  Smartphone App, Hydration & Nutrient Tracking Syncs with Wearables. Why shouldn't we have great-tasting, personalized, tasty, nutritianally functional beverages to compliment our busy lifestyles? According to Jonathon Perrelli, CEO, the Lifefuels waterbottle delivers personalised drinks designed to keep you at your best. Their simple mission: to help people thrive and keep them on track by letting them make beverages on the go that are tailored to fit their day. 
Keeping an eye on things around the home so that you can be somewhere else. And being able to watch, listen and talk back is being more important now to our "virtually There" lifestyles. A very nice and versatile device to keep an eye on your home, inside and out, regardless of the conditions. Unfazed by tough weather, Canary Flex is designed to withstand rain, snow, heat, or cold. Canary Flex keeps a record or let’s you Watch Live what’s happening inside and outside of your home, whether it’s catching a burglar approaching your front door, seeing special moments of your children, or witnessing your pet getting into mischief. Alerts, real time video, and two way conversation with whoever is at your door, or anywhere around the house, inside or out. Easy to deploy and connect. Also an optional casing for use away from home with long battery life and connectivity via cellular. Great for keeping an eye on your boat, vacation home, etc. Reported by: Juan Picazo, EANA Marketing
More can be less! We have evolved from once functional but basic kitchen appliances to more complex ones (many more features, same knobs, thick manuals!) so unfortunately, we tend to stick to the basics and leave the manuals in the drawer. Fact is though that it is usually possible in one sentance or less to describe what we want our kitchen or utility room appliances to do. My stated Mantra: "The role of complex technology is to create simplicity." There is now more evidence that technology is coming to the rescue in this area too to making it possible to easily take advantage of all the new appliance features at our disposal. So one thing that caught my eye and interest at CES2018 was Whirlpool's Smart Home appliances that now have Smartphone and voice command control to break through the usability barrier. A very informed discussion with Whirlpool's corporate brand Manager, Poncho Eddie filled me in on the transformation that Whirlpool has made in this regard. Amazon Alexa, Google Home (and Apple Siri coming soon). In the utility room for example Voice Control lets consumers simply ask to pause and to start the washer and dryer; tell the dryer to run certain cycles…
Went to BETT yesterday in London (Europe’s largest Technology in Education exhibition). Past years have been all about interactive whiteboards, then large touch screens (basically blackboard replacements and teaching aids) This year was much more about “Interactive Learning” and student involvement. BETT2018 was all about Robots and learning how to code and having fun doing it. And being introduced into classrooms at and early age. I am 100% behind this and at CES2018 (Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas) saw some really good examples of this too (for example ROOT). I have captured only some of the “Learning Coding through fun with Robots” examples here, but not sure how a teacher or an educational curriculum decision maker, can chose from these. Lots of early stage stuff. This will no doubt mature a bit and become more focussed by next year. Four other significant findings that also caught my eye at BETT:1. If you follow the wearable technology, IoT, IoMe, IoCar, IoHome and AI areas as I do, you will have noticed the innovation in the Smartphone + Sensor’s area. Saw some interesting education tools in this area from Vernier and IDS Education (their distributor in the UK) at BETT2018. “Go…
My Mantra: "The role of complex technology is to create simplicity." Mission accomplished! The Meater Wireless Meat Thermometer from Apption Labs creates great results, but now that I have set one up and used it, it delivers great results as well. The slick device plus Smartphone application couldn’t have been easier to use. This small skewer-like device produces perfectly cooked meat every time, to your specification on BBQ, oven or grill.Dual sensors monitor internal meat temperature plus ambient temperature inside oven as well.Simple to setup and simple to use. Connect the thermometer to your phone via Bluetooth. Also works with AppleTV, Kindle Fire and Alexa skill.Enjoy drinks with your guests, your phone will alert you when your meat is ready!Smart app on iPhone and Android suggests timing for all types of meat and walks you through every step of the cooking process.   I have one, use it and couldn’t be more pleased with it. And my non-technical gourmet cooking wife loves it too!
CES did great job of laying out specific "Tech Zone" sectors for all the companies innovating with technology in emerging areas of consumer lifestyle to be grouped together so one could visit and see many products and products all together. This helped me with discovery of many types of eye-opening tech, but also showed how crowded some product categories were as well as helping to find gaps in what is available, or that the pieces are in place but for example, the ecosystem or end user value propositions are not.
This is what caught my eye about Krusell Phone Cases.   The percentage of consumers that like Tech that looks like Tech is becoming marginalised. Apple led the way to “function with fashion” (even sex appeal), so why would you put your IPhone into something that hides the beauty behind pure tech looking function? Want to shake the techie image of your current Smartphone? Put it in a leather Krusell Case! The Swedes are known for their unmistakably passion for great design and genuine craftsmanship, but never at the cost of function or smartness. The case I tried out was a lovey leather notepad looking Case that protects, props up and has a place for credit cards. Even has a secret pocket where I put emergency cash. Starting to wonder if I really need to carry a wallet anymore... Oh, by the way, I didn't realise it until I talked to Ulf Sandberg, the Krusell CEO, that you can talk on this phone with the cover closed! Fabulous! I was opening the front flap to talk on the phone and then it just awkwardly hangs there. Love this Krusell case!
So everyone reported on Wearables as the feature of CES 2014, but I just couldn't believe how little variety there was in the functionality and also noted how ugly they all were! this picture is of the showcase of an Asian manufacturer who manufactures a large number of the step counters and Smart Watches for brands that I saw and tried on their booths too. How many companies can survive, all marketing a single sensor device? Especially since Fitbit and Nike seem to have captured 2/3 of the sales so far. i was personally wearing four different step countersa CES and all of them were telling me that the eight miles a day I was averaging cruising the exhibition halls was making me healthy. Not taking into account other factors like what my body was actually telling me, not to mention what I was eating and drinking. The user experience, ease of use, and interpretation of what it all means is still lacking for the average consumer to get interested IMHO. So I am not going to list and review a lot of wearable devices. But a few did stand out as being innovative and better equipped to serve mankind…
Saw a really useful measuring device and Smartphone App which lets you spend less time thinking and more time creating your home improvements projects and in decorating your house. Met with Plott Founder and CEO David Xing at CES who demonstrated how the tool allows you to design “virtually” so you can change your design easily without marking up your walls. The Plott brings your design to life by guiding you to points like a GPS so you can then make the change or addition in the real world without any need for measurements or use of math. This reduces the time spent on DIY projects (and risk of error). Plott takes the real world into the virtual world using AR where you can edit and perfect your idea before bringing it back into the real world. Use Plott to import objects and arrange it the way you want it. Then shows you the hanging points for perfectly level and eye-pleasing finished projects.And you can then share your projects with the Plott community and also import and use projects from others or download from a product brand.
As I said lots of devices - over a hundred that can be considered to be called products and almost all are step counters of some description (accelerometers). The focus on lifestyle, fitness and medical is important to note as these are the areas which have potential to have real value to consumers.
KITSOUND VOICE - Smart, Voice command activated, great sound - all for £129.99 Last Gadget Standing finalistBlending the style of the past with the technology of the future, the Voice One’s component-like sophistication oozes rich sound with stunning clarity – making a statement anywhere you care to appreciate good music.Developed in collaboration with Amazon, combining the intelligence of Alexa with KitSound’s audio expertise, the Voice One features a stain-resistant Nano coated grill to protect against those little stains and splashes.With built-in multi-room technology, you can connect up to 8 Voice One speakers together wirelessly. Stream your favourite playlists or connect an external music source to one of the speakers and re-distribute the sound to other speakers via Wi-Fi, allowing you to enjoy your music in every room – regardless if it’s online or a vinyl.Immerse yourself in the deep, warm, hi-fi audio that’s been carefully hand-tuned to give you the smart speaker you’ve been waiting for.
Well what about watches?I didn't have time to see all the watches! They are all trying to jam too much Tech into a package that looks ugly and is too big. Not to mention the problem of battery life. it took 15 years to see enough utility in the mobile phone to learn that it should be religiously charged every night.  Watch batteries last  four or five years. How can people get their hands around charging a watch every three to six days. when I see so much technology and features jam packed into something called a watch, it gives me nightmares of the past working with tech companies just putting in everything because they could. And they didn't exactly know what people would find useful, so didn't want to take chances! Seeing big companies like Qualcomm in the game though, and producing software platforms rather than science projects tells me that this is going to start coming good this year.  I have been wearing a Pebble watch for about three months and found it large, difficult to keep charged and buggy (e.g. Notifications seem to go in and out of operation). But lately now that there are third party…
There was a well produced and very entertaining fashion show at CES this year focused on wearable technology. Many things caught my eye, but the emphasis was much more on fashion than than utility and consumer technology for my liking. Of course all the clothing that sparkled and garments with screens built in so that they could be whatever they wanted to be fit the occasion very well and was entertaining.  Next year I would like to see business and lifestyle enhancing technology blending in or invisibly being worn on the catwalk with descriptions of super powers and augmentations that happen without it being glaringly obvious. And where were all the Smart Glasses? Well, I just don't think Smart Glasses are ready for the catwalk yet. Maybe next year? This is the year of industrial and professional applications for these. Small enough to wear, but still a bit too big to wear out.
In the process of judging the entries for the Last Gadget Standing event at CES 2018 we found some real gems. The Root Coding Robot was one of them.  Root is an easy-to-use coding robot that has a custom smartphone app and 50+ sensors on board to turn fun into skills for kids. Turning young people's creativity and imagination into real world actions for the Root Robot to follow, also turns actions into coding that can be saved for later use or added to. This innovation produces an opportunity to learn new logic, problem-solving and coding skills using creativity energy. Coders of any age or skill level can use Root as their creative tool in defying gravity and climbing walls (magnetic white board), or moving about on smooth surfaces to draw artwork, play music, respond to touch and color, or use many of its other unique qualities. Starting out simple, the accompanying app features three levels of coding interfaces designed to grow with the user as their skills and knowledge improve. This includes simple sequences, patterns and loops, working up to advanced programming languages like Python, JavaScript and Swift. The world needs more code saavy warriors! This is one Root to…
Saw one of these last year at CES, but it was a huge expensive machine and although folding clothes is a tedious household task, I couldn't picture this as a household item then.  This Foldimate unit looks a lot more viable now, but In our house we all share the task of folding clothes, so altghough this caught my eye, I'm not sure...  The size of this machine is about twice that of a clothes dryer and also twice the price. Is this a viable addition to the utility room? Also not sure... The application of robotics to menial tasks is good and one year to go from non-viable (IMHO) technology to possibly an applience some people would buy is encouraging.  I don't know what else to say about this, so I will list some of what they had to say about it:   "FoldiMate will fold any type of shirt, blouse, or pants from age 5 to adult size XXL. It will also fold standard size towels and pillowcases. Estimated Price: $980 First Shipments: Late 2019.""Imagine, getting your laundry folding done in less time than it takes to brew a cup of coffee!""Ergonomic designed and fast folding technology allows you to feed…

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