AURA Strap for Apple Watch - an accessory for an accessory for an iPhone! This clever watchstrap improves some of the Apple Watch's health/fitness tracking features and adds some sensing in the strap and analysis in their App and adds to the Watches capabilities to keep on top of performance and wellness when doing sports, on a diet or just want to stay fit and be healthy. The new strap and companion app (for Apple Watch and iPhone) help users to measure their body composition (fat/muscles percentage) and hydration levels to track fitness/diet progress and get more personalized insights to improve their lifestyle. Bioimpedance is the core technology which expands the Apple Watch health tracking capabilities. Analyzing the upper body, it can track lungs and breathing changes, compare them with pulse data and even assess risks of heart failure and notify the user, his doctor, or emergency contact about it. AURA Strap cleverly transfers results to the Watch via ultrasound, which is much more energy-efficient than BLE.

Oh, and it's quite a nice looking band as well. Noone will know what you are up to unless you tell them!

I have seen a number of stand alone, smartphone app and accessories over the past few years appearing on the scene. None of them have seemed to make it to critical mass in the consumer space. I'm not sure what the best form factor is, but if in fact the quality of the translation is not right on the money, that will be the stumbling block. This area was often inaccurate, at times humerous and sometimes created misunderstandings. Since this has improved greatly in the last year, the products now have a chance. I came upon this product as I was Judging entries for the Last Gadget Standing Event at CES 2020. The judges selected the Ambassador Interpreter as a finallist. It appears that it is a high quality translation tool for professionals and consumer travelers of all backgrounds. From training to travel, groups to solo, the wearable Ambassador allows you to have smooth conversations free from the constraints of language barriers. A frequent traveller's dream. Its wearable over-the-ear design makes it versatile for natural and professional-grade live translations.

Three main application areas are:
To Listen - As an interpreter, Ambassador actively listens for someone speaking near you and translates their speech into your native language. To Lecture - Ideal for groups and conferences, set your Ambassador to translate everything you say and stream it through your smartphone’s loudspeaker or a paired audio system for your audience. To Discuss and converse - Share one of the Ambassador units with the other person so you can both understand and communicate in your native languages real time.

Withings, pioneer of the digital health movement and connected analogue watches, unveiled its ScanWatch, a clinically validated hybrid smartwatch to detect both risk of arrhythmia (AFib) and sleep apnea – all from the wrist. Helping users and their physicians monitor overall health with a smartwatch that identifies highly prevalent cardiovascular and sleep issues early.
Worn throughout the day and night, ScanWatch can provide an early warning system, collecting and sharing critical health data. 

Although not a new capability in a smart watch/smartphone combination, it does increase the availability of AFib watches to most consumers from the top MHealth brands.  The real groundbreaker in this area was AliveCor who later merged with and incorporated the capability into OMRON’s watches. The latest version of Apple Watch now includes the capability as well. This all bodes well for the wellness/preemptive healthcare area for consumers. Giving early warning of conditions and acquiring important ECG data for personal early warning/physician diagnosis plus a database for further analysis across consumer sectors.  Through continuous monitoring of heart rate and detection of irregular heartbeat,the user can then take an ECG reading and in just 30 seconds get a more in depth analysis and storing of both data and initial determination for further action.

One thing for sure, there were plenty of AR headsets and glasses on show this year at CES! I saw 25 or 30, and probably didn’t see all of them. Lots of new ones. This is a good indication to me that AR has now graduated into the “…it’s going to happen and it’s going to be big…” category. This may also be driven by the emphasis that Apple and to some degree Google (and others) are placing on AR. But most that I saw were just the headgear, not the complete operating systems, apps platforms, ecosystem in place that the likes of Vuzix, Hololens and others have labored over for the past 10+ years and have in place.  For the most part the ones I saw were just headgear without the total solution, sectors and applications in the package or even fully understood. This is really where AR was 5 years ago, so I wish these Google Glass copycats the best of luck, but not where I would invest. There were a few that did catch my eye as being behind the leaders, but moving in that direction, and I have highlighted here six that I will be watching for progress over the next year or two.

 Select "Read More" below to click on the weblinks in this entry.

Published in VR, AR, 3D/360.

The FlexPai Foldable Smartphone is interesting, but it’s the flexible screen technology from Royole that really Caught My Eye! Screens as “Thin as a Butterfly’s Wing” they claim. Their overview of Flexible Display Technology:   “Flexible displays offer many advantages over conventional display technology. They are ultra-thin, light weight, bendable, portable, shatter-proof, unbreakable and low energy”.  Flexibledisplays such as these could profoundly affect the next generation of personal, even wearable products. Potentially enabling technology for brand new form factors and applications. I will be watching this space.

 Select "Read More" below to click on the weblinks in this entry.

Published in Other Amazing Stuff

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 :-)

Published in Digital Healthcare
For me, the hit of CES 2015 and the most significant announcement this year was the collaboration between Misfit and Swarovski to produce a "collection" of wearable tracker jewellery accessories that enable a Swarovski brand fan to wear the tracker device in all aspects of their daily routine, yet never look out of place or the least bit geeky. 
A lilac-colored crystal version to be released later in the year will have a multifaceted crystal face that harnesses the sun's energy, feeds it into embedded solar panels, and powers the device. Swarovski says you can charge with almost any light source, and only 15 minutes will ensure that the device never needs recharging. 
All very impressive technologically, but most women will buy the Shine because it’s a beautiful Swarovski crystal (with hidden functionality). 
They will then buy the practical workout band plus other pieces of jewellery that can house the Shine crystal for daily leisure activities, work routine or for evenings out. 
BTW, the jewellery looks good and some can be worn without the Swarovski Shine in them as well. See their promotional video here.
Noticeably different than most videos produced describing fitness trackers!
Published in Wearables

This was one of the interesting discoveries that caught my eye at the JETCO Japan Pavilion. A Google Glass-like wearable display which could be carried like a pen in the pocket, and then "transformed" into a one-eye display with camera, battery and software on board. On the table was a working Vuzix M100 I suppose to show how the concept model could be used in various applications.

i found the concept interesting for someone who would use Smart Glasses off and on in the course of the day in their profession. Sort of like taking out your glasses to get a clearer, close up look at a situation, but in this case with image capture, remote assistance and relevant information on tap.

A nice concept, but not sure of the useability aspects. 

I say, let's just move on quickly to the next phase - normal looking glasses with lenses that augment your vision with relevant info, and do a bit of life blogging and sharing at the same time!

Published in Smart Glasses

There was an impressive demo at the Fujitsu booth showing how a maintenance engineer could observe and adjust flow rates in pipe and valves and make sure they were operating properly and even make adjustments to controls. Smart Glasses from Vuzix were coupled to a "smart gesture" glove to put the engineer in control of a number of complex operations.

it was quite an impressive demo from the Augmented Reality perspective, but I'm hoping that the technologically impressive, but somewhat cumbersome "glove" will be replaced with hand gestures and voice command recognition in the near future.

Published in Smart Glasses

DoCoMo had a very effective demo of face recognition at their booth. They were showing how headworn Smart Glasses with both camera and display on board can see, analyse and then display to the user info about the person being looked at. Leads to all kind of questions about privacy, etc. But the state of the technology is well demonstrated by this demo. 

It illustrated well the art of the possible in terms of image recognition and the resulting display of relevant information which has many applications and in professional and industrial terms, would be quite empowering especially in situations where the user needs access to info about what he is looking at and needs to operate in a handsfree mode.

The demo was shown using Google Glass which is still in developer only mode ("Explorers") and commercially available Vuzix M100 which is already being deployed in several industrial applications.

Published in Smart Glasses
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