Gadgets & Wearables has attended this year’s Wearable Technology Show (WTS) at London’s ExCel to try out devices we might all be using in the near future. Now in its fifth year, this is the place to be if you’re interested in wearables, smart technology and IoT.
It is estimated that some 6,000 industry professionals and consumers attended, along with around 100 exhibitors from 20 countries. More than 30 products were launched exclusively to UK media.
Here are some of the gadgets and gizmos that caught our eye.
Smart clothing made a strong showing this year. This is where electronics meet textiles to create fashionable, functional, comfortable solutions to meet your everyday needs; whether it’s in sports and fitness, outdoor and leisure, home and health care.
Blaze Wear displayed its range of electrically heated garments for people of all ages across all sectors. Instead of having to add extra layers or wear heavier and bulkier garments when it’s really cold, you simply heat what you’re wearing. Powered by a portable rechargeable USB power bank or rechargeable battery, the heating elements flex and bend as you do, so they never restrict movement.
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Then there were the smart textiles from a company called Footfalls & Heartbeats. For the show, they tasked their team with creating a practical demonstration showing the potential of what their technology can do. This turned out to be a pressure sensing sock which provides live visual feedback to the user. The innovative element is that the textile is the sensor – the innovative knit structure is what monitors your stats.
Nottingham Trent and Southampton universities and research partner Bonnie Binary demonstrated their light-up clothing. The flexible electric yarns are embroidered onto the dress, maintaining the drape of the fabric. The manufacturing of the yarn is being developed into a process that is now semi-automated, speeding up production.
Moving on from smart clothing, the Northern Irish health start up called Neurovalens demonstrated their Indiegogo funded gizmo that helps you lose weight without changes in your diet and exercise. The headset is non-invasive and does not rely on drugs of any kind. It works instead by sending a signal to the part of the brain that controls fat storage, shifting your metabolism to burn more fat.
In a sense, Modius tricks your brain into thinking you are engaged in physical activity, which speeds up metabolism and suppresses your appetite. The company says that their customers lose between 12 and 15 pounds in an average period of eight weeks.
Smart rings also made a decent showing. Oura was in fact one of the event sponsors. Their high tech ring is marketed as the world’s most advanced wearable for getting more restorative sleep. Designed to be worn around the clock, it empowers you to see how your lifestyle affects your body and mind. Now on its second generation, the device is smaller, more beautiful and more powerful than its predecessor.
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The ring automatically detects and analyzes the quality of your rest, sleep stages and recovery by measuring your heart rate and heart rate variability, pulse wave form, respiration rate, body temperature, movement and more. All these physiological signals are used to let you know how to get more restorative sleep and align to your circadian rhythm, i.e. your body clock’s natural 24-hour rhythm. While you are awake the ring keeps tabs on your physical activity and time spent sitting. The company is taking pre-orders now for a launch sometime in April.
Here is another innovative solution. QuietOn are noise cancelling earbuds that are a powerful snoring killer. Founders came up with the idea after discovering that noise cancelling technology could drastically reduce stress on their business flights.
The technology has since been optimized to cancel out low frequency sounds. The company has had great success in promoting the product, and raised more than $1.3 million via several campaigns on Indiegogo to develop the product.
The conference programme was perhaps the strongest part of the event. With 225 speakers and over 60 hours of conference programming, the organisers constructed a number of seminar tracks that focused on key vertical markets. This included contributions from some of the biggest names in wearables, digital health, AVR and IoT, including Microsoft, Samsung, HTC, Sky, Toshiba, NHS, Hugo Boss and Stella McCartney.
The two day event concluded yesterday.
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