What won’t Amazon know about us…?

Amazon Announces a New Fitness Tracker

Amazon’s new fitness band adds body fat, movement, sleep and mood to the mountain of data Amazon is amassing. Whether streaming on Amazon Prime, shopping on Amazon.com, buying groceries at Whole Foods, Amazon is ready to…errrr…help?

Why it’s Hot – The increasing convergence of our digital and analog lives is brining the questions of privacy and data sovereignty to the forefront, while also creating new potential opportunities for marketers (just think about what a partnership between Microsoft and Walmart to buy TikTok could mean).

From The Verge:

mazonAmazon is getting into the health gadget market with a new fitness band and subscription service called Halo. Unlike the Apple Watch or even most basic Fitbits, the Amazon Halo band doesn’t have a screen. The app that goes along with it comes with the usual set of fitness tracking features along with two innovative — and potentially troubling — ideas: using your camera to create 3D scans for body fat and listening for the emotion in your voice.

The Halo band will cost $99.99 and the service (which is required for Halo’s more advanced features) costs $3.99 per month. Amazon is launching it as an invite-only early access program today with an introductory price of $64.99 that includes six months of the service for free. The Halo service is a separate product that isn’t part of Amazon Prime.

The lack of a screen on the Halo band is the first indicator that Amazon is trying to carve out a niche for itself that’s focused a little less on sports and exercise and a little more on lifestyle changes. Alongside cardio, sleep, body fat, and voice tone tracking, a Halo subscription will offer a suite of “labs” developed by partners. They’re short challenges designed to improve your health habits — like meditation, improving your sleep habits, or starting up basic exercise routines.

The Halo band “is not a medical device,” Amazon tells me. As such, it hasn’t submitted the device to the FDA for any sort of approval, including the lighter-touch “FDA clearance” that so many other fitness bands have used.

The Amazon Halo intro video | Source: Amazon

THE HALO BAND HARDWARE

TheThe Halo Band consists of a sensor module and a band that clicks into it on top. It’s a simple concept and one we’ve seen before. The lack of a display means that if you want to check your steps or the time, you’ll need to strap something else to your wrist or just check your phone.

The three color options for the Halo Band
The three color options for the Halo Band
 Amazon
Amazon will sell lots of different band styles and colors
Amazon will sell lots of different band styles and colors
 Amazon

The band lacks increasingly standard options like GPS, Wi-Fi, or a cellular radio, another sign that it’s meant to be a more laid-back kind of tracker. It has an accelerometer, a temperature sensor, a heart rate monitor, two microphones, an LED indicator light, and a button to turn the microphones on or off. The microphones are not for speaking to Alexa, by the way, they’re there for the voice tone feature. There is explicitly no Alexa integration.

It communicates with your phone via Bluetooth, and it should work equally well with both iPhones and Android phones. The three main band colors that will be sold are onyx (black), mineral (light blue), and rose gold (pink-ish).

There will of course be a series of optional bands so you can choose one to match your style — and all of them bear no small resemblance to popular Apple Watch bands. The fabric bands will cost $19.99 and the sport bands will be $15.99.

Amazon intends for users to leave the Halo Band on all the time: the battery should last a full week and the sensor is water resistant up to 5ATM. Amazon calls it “swimproof.”

But where the Halo service really differentiates itself is in two new features, called Body and Tone. The former uses your smartphone camera to capture a 3D scan of your body and then calculate your body fat, and the latter uses a microphone on the Halo Band to listen to the tone of your voice and report back on your emotional state throughout the day.

Halo’s body scanning feature, which calculates body fat percentage.
Halo’s body scanning feature, which calculates body fat percentage.
 Amazon

BODY SCANS

BodyBody scans work with just your smartphone’s camera. The app instructs you to wear tight-fitting clothing (ideally just your underwear) and then stand back six feet or so from your camera. Then it takes four photos (front, back, and both sides) and uploads them to Amazon’s servers where they’re combined into a 3D scan of your body that’s sent back to your phone. The data is then deleted from Amazon’s servers.

Halo scans your body with four photos
Halo scans your body with four photos
 Amazon video

Once you have the 3D scan, Amazon uses machine learning to analyze it and calculate your body fat percentage. Amazon argues that body fat percentage is a more reliable indicator of health than either weight or body mass index. Amazon also claims that smart scales that try to measure body fat using bioelectrical impedance are not as accurate as its scan. Amazon says it did an internal study to back up those claims and may begin submitting papers to peer-reviewed medical journals in the future.

Finally, once you have your scan, the app will give you a little slider you can drag your finger on to have it show what you would look like with more or less body fat.

Halo uses AI in Amazon’s cloud to create the 3D scan and calculate body fat percentage
Halo uses AI in Amazon’s cloud to create the 3D scan and calculate body fat percentage
 Amazon video

That feature is meant to be educational and motivational, but it could also be literally dangerous for people with body dysmorphic disorder, anorexia, or other self-image issues. I asked Amazon about this directly and the company says that it has put in what it hopes are a few safeguards: the app recommends you only scan yourself every two weeks, it won’t allow the slider to show dangerously low levels of body fat, and it has information about how low body fat can increase your risk for certain health problems. Finally, although anybody 13 years of age and up can use the Halo Band, the body scan feature will only be allowed for people 18 or older.

Halo listens to your voice and guesses at your emotional state
Halo listens to your voice and guesses at your emotional state
 Amazon video

TRACKING THE TONE OF YOUR VOICE

TheThe microphone on the Amazon Halo band isn’t meant for voice commands; instead it listens to your voice and reports back on what it believes your emotional state was throughout the day. If you don’t opt in, the microphone on the Band doesn’t do anything at all.

Once you opt in, the Halo app will have you read some text back to it so that it can train a model on your voice, allowing the Halo band to only key in on your tone and not those around you. After that, the band will intermittently listen to your voice and judge it on metrics like positivity and energy.

It’s a passive and intermittent system, meaning that you can’t actively ask it to read your tone, and it’s not listening all of the time. You can also mute the mic at any time by pressing the button until a red blinking LED briefly appears to show you it’s muted.

Amazon is quick to note that your voice is never uploaded to any servers and never heard by any humans. Instead, the band sends its audio snippets to your phone via Bluetooth, and it’s analyzed there. Amazon says that the Halo app immediately deletes the voice samples after it analyzes it for your emotional state.

It picks up on the pitch, intensity, rhythm, and tempo of your voice and then categorizes them into “notable moments” that you can go back and review throughout the day. Some of the emotional states include words like hopeful, elated, hesitant, bored, apologetic, happy, worried, confused, and affectionate.

We asked Amazon whether this Tone feature was tested across differing accents, gender, and cultures. A spokesperson says that it “has been a top priority for our team” but that “if you have an accent you can use Tone but your results will likely be less accurate. Tone was modeled on American English but it’s only day one and Tone will continue to improve.”

The Halo app’s main screen
The Halo app’s main screen
 Amazon

DATA PRIVACY

BothBoth the Body and Tone features are innovative uses of applied AI, but they are likely to set off any number of privacy alarm bells. Amazon says that it is being incredibly careful with user data. The company will post a document detailing every type of data, where it’s stored, and how to delete it.

Every feature is opt-in, easy to turn off, and it’s easy to delete data. For example, there’s no requirement you create a body scan and even if you do, human reviewers will never see those images. Amazon says the most sensitive data like body scans and Tone data are only stored locally (though photos do need to temporarily be uploaded so Amazon’s servers can build the 3D model). Amazon isn’t even allowing Halo to integrate with other fitness apps like Apple Health at launch.

Some of the key points include:

  • Your Halo profile is distinct from your Amazon account — and will need to be individually activated with a second factor like a text message so that anybody else that might share your Amazon Prime can’t get to it.
  • You can download and delete any data that’s stored in the cloud at any time, or reset your account to zero.
  • Body scans and tone data can be individually deleted separately from the rest of your health data.
  • Body scans are only briefly uploaded to Amazon’s servers then deleted “within 12 hours” and scan images are never shared to other apps like the photo gallery unless you explicitly export an image.
  • Voice recordings are analyzed locally on your phone and then deleted. “Speech samples are processed locally and never sent to the cloud,” Amazon says, adding that “Tone data won’t be used for training purposes.”
  • Data can be shared with third parties, including some partners like WW (formerly Weight Watchers). Data generated by the “labs” feature is only shared as anonymous aggregate info.
Halo’s activity tracker does more than count steps
Halo’s activity tracker does more than count steps
 Amazon

ACTIVITY AND SLEEP TRACKING

TheThe body scanning and tone features might be the most flashy (or, depending on your perspective, most creepy) parts of Halo, but the thing you’ll likely spend the most time watching is your activity score.

Amazon’s Halo app tracks your cardio fitness on a weekly basis instead of daily — allowing for rest days. It does count steps, but on a top level what you get is an abstracted score (and, of course, a ring to complete) that’s more holistic. Just as Google did in 2018, Amazon has worked with the American Heart Association to develop the abstracted Activity score.

The Halo band uses its heart monitor to distinguish between intense, moderate, and light activity. The app combines those to ensure you’re hitting a weekly target. Instead of the Apple Watch’s hourly “stand” prompts, the Halo app tracks how long you have been “sedentary.” If you go for more than 8 hours without doing much (not counting sleep), the app will begin to deduct from your weekly activity score.

Halo’s sleep tracking feature
Halo’s sleep tracking feature
 Amazon

The Halo band can automatically detect activities like walking and running, but literally every other type of exercise will need to be manually entered into the app. The whole system feels less designed for workout min-maxers and more for people who just want to start being more active in the first place.

Speaking of heart tracking, the Halo band doesn’t proactively alert you to heart conditions like a-fib, nor does it do fall detection.

The Halo band’s sleep tracking similarly tries to create an abstracted score, though you can dig in and view details on your REM sleep and other metrics. One small innovation that the Halo band shares with the new Fitbit is temperature monitoring. It uses a three-day baseline when you are sleeping and from there can show a chart of your average body temperature when you wake up.

The Halo Band’s sensor array
The Halo Band’s sensor array
 Amazon

HALO LABS, PARTNERSHIPS, AND THE SUBSCRIPTION

Finally,Finally, Amazon has partnered with several third parties to create services and studies to go along with the Halo service. For example, if your health care provider’s system is compatible with Cerner, you can choose to share your body fat percentage with your provider’s electronic medical records system. Amazon says it will also be a fully subsidized option for the John Hancock Vitality wellness program.

The flagship partnership is with WW, which syncs up data from Halo into WW’s own FitPoints system. WW will also be promoting the Halo Band itself to people who sign up for its service.

There are dozens of lower-profile partnerships, which will surface in the Halo app as “Labs.” Many of the labs will surface as four-week “challenges” designed to get you to change your health habits. Partners creating Labs range from Mayo Clinic, Exhale, Aaptiv, Lifesum, Headspace, and more. So there might be a lab encouraging you to give yoga a try, or a set of advice on sleeping better like kicking your pet out of your bedroom.

Amazon says each Lab needs to be developed with “scientific evidence” of its effectiveness and Amazon will audit them. Data crated from these challenges will be shared with those partners, but only in an aggregated, anonymous way.

Virtually all the features discussed here are part of the $3.99/month Halo subscription. If you choose to let it lapse, the Halo band will still do basic activity and sleep tracking.

In charging a monthly subscription, Amazon is out on a limb compared to most of its competitors. Companies like Fitbit and Withings offer some of the same features you can get out of the Halo system, including sleep tracking and suggestions for improving your fitness. They also have more full-featured bands with displays and other functionality. And of course there’s the Apple Watch, which will have deeper and better integrations with the iPhone than will ever be possible for the Halo band.

Overall, Halo is a curious mix. Its hardware is intentionally less intrusive and less feature-rich than competitors, and its pricing strategy puts Amazon on the hook for creating new, regular content to keep people subscribed (exercise videos seem like a natural next step). Meanwhile, the body scanning feature goes much further than other apps in directly digitizing your self-image — which is either appealing or disturbing depending on your relationship to your self image. And the emotion tracking with Tone is completely new and more than a little weird.

The mix is so eclectic that I can’t possibly guess who it might appeal to. People who are more serious about exercise and fitness will surely want more than what’s on offer in the hardware itself, and people who just sort of want to be a little more active may balk at the subscription price. And since the Halo band doesn’t offer the same health alerts like fall detection or abnormal heart rate detection, using it as a more passive health monitor isn’t really an option either.

That doesn’t mean the Halo system can’t succeed. Amazon’s vision of a more holistic health gadget is appealing, and some of its choices in how it aggregates and presents health data is genuinely better than simple step counting or ring completion.

We won’t really know how well the Halo system does for some time, either. Amazon’s opening it up as an early access program for now, which means you need to request to join rather than just signing up and buying it.

get in the game digitally, by getting in the game physically…


Addidas just announced “GMR” – a digital insole that connects to FIFA Mobile. So, when people play football in real life, it scores them points in the game.

Why It’s Hot:

Clearly at least part of the appeal of games like FIFA is to feel like you’re truly making moves and scoring. What’s even better is to be able to be the one making those moves and scoring, but getting digital points for it. It’s an interesting example of the digital transformation of physical things around us, especially with all the talk about e-Sports being a big part of sporting future.

[link]

Apple Watch Users Can Now Get Rewards for Going to the Gym

For years Apple Watch customers have been walking and running to meet step counts just for the satisfaction of meeting their goals. Now Apple is upping the ante with a new rewards program called Apple Watch Connected.

Apple GymKit

Apple Watch Connected will allow any fitness entity to integrate with the Apple Watch so members can track their health and earn rewards such as gift cards and discounts.To participate in the program, gyms must have equipment enabled with GymKit, a platform that lets users sync their Watch to cardio machines and collect their workout data. GymKit first launched two years ago, and since then Apple has worked with manufacturers like Technogym, Life Fitness, and Octane Fitness to incorporate hardware and GymFit code into their treadmills, stair climbers, and other equipment. It works like this: Users can scan their watch against an NFC reader on a piece of equipment anytime during their workout to capture their progress and send it to their Watch. It’s particularly useful for garnering metrics the Watch might have a hard time calculating on its own, like how many steps were taken on a stair climber, for example, where a person stays static in space.

The Apple Watch Connected platform pulls in the data from GymKit and pipes it into the fitness brand’s Watch and iPhone app, where members can then view and plan their workout schedule.  Through the Apple Watch Connected integration, fitness studios will also be able to offer prizes based on member activity. Since Apple Watch can give studios insight into how active its members are wherever they are, the programs launching today will give out points to members whether they go for a run outside or do yoga in the studio (as long as they get their heart rate up).
Each reward program is designed by the fitness brand. At Crunch Fitness, for example, goals are set each week and members can earn credits toward their membership—as much as $15 a month. The new program will start at 17 locations with plans to encompass all 350 locations nationwide by the end of the year. Going forward, Crunch Fitness will only purchase new cardio equipment that has GymKit as part of its offering, so that eventually all of its cardio equipment has that feature.

Gyms do not have to pay to join Apple Watch Connected. Apple says it is primarily interested in helping its users be active. But there may be another incentive for the company–fitness centers that hook into Apple Watch Connected must accept Apple Pay at their studios to participate. Having Apple Pay accepted at more fitness studios gives Apple more opportunity to cash in on transaction fees, a growing source of revenue for the company.

Why It’s Hot

Apple Watch Connected will help motivate gyms to integrate GymKit, making Apple Watch significantly more useful and accurate for gym goers.

Source

Phone a Friend: a mobile app for predicting teen suicide attempts

Rising suicide rates in the US are disproportionately affecting 10-24 year-olds, with suicide as the second leading cause of death after unintentional injuries. It’s a complex and multifaceted topic, and one that leaves those whose lives are impacted wondering what they could have done differently, to recognize the signs and intervene.

Researchers are fast at work figuring out whether a machine learning algorithm might be able to use data from an individual’s mobile device to assess risk and predict an imminent suicide attempt – before there may even be any outward signs. This work is part of the Mobile Assessment for the Prediction of Suicide (MAPS) study, involving 50 teenagers in New York and Pennsylvania. If successful, the effort could lead to a viable solution to an increasingly troubling societal problem.

Why It’s Hot

We’re just scratching the surface of the treasure trove of insights that might be buried in the mountains of data we’re all generating every day. Our ability to understand people more deeply, without relying on “new” sources of data, will have implications for the experiences brands and marketers deliver.

Wearables & Augmented Reality: Your New Workstation

By Brian Lee

Unless you’ve been living under a rock at the bottom of the ocean, you probably remember Google Glass, the sleek, futuristic looking smart glasses that Google released back in 2013. While it wasn’t the first piece of wearable smart technology, it was the most significant product announcement in the space for multiple reasons. At the time wearable tech was not as ubiquitous as it is today. Google was a $250 billion company and by far the biggest name to release a product of this type. And yet, with all the hype, fanfare, and the Google branding, the product failed to catch on with the world as hoped.

While Google Glass did a great job in stimulating the imagination with all of its potential applications, there was no stated purpose. Finding the demand or a problem in the world should be a prerequisite to developing the product that solves that problem, not the other way around. It was unclear whether this product would be best served for enterprise users, or if this was a consumer product, aimed at making the day-to-day of users’ lives easier. Rather, it was a hotbed of ideas without proper execution.. Or maybe it was the $1,500 price tag. Maybe it was too futuristic. Looking back, they were simply a pair of glasses that lacked vision.

Why it’s Hot

Google Glass was discontinued in 2015, reborn in 2017 as an enterprise solution, and earlier this week, the latest version was announced as Glass Enterprise Edition 2. With a price tag of $999, it becomes the latest product in an increasingly digital world where businesses are adopting smart technology and AR solutions to market to their customers, as well as to enhance their workplace efficiency, innovation, and collaboration.

Currently, the benefits of augmented reality and smart technology in the workplace are most evident in industries where manufacturing, production, and design are key functions. Healthcare is also a field where AR technology is being applied. Companies in these fields are well in the process of adopting and implementing this technology. However, the benefits and the incremental efficiencies of using such tools are not as clear for the corporate desk warriors that many of us here at MRM are. With more companies adopting tools like Google Glass or Microsoft HoloLens (Microsoft’s AR headset), it’ll be interesting to see all the applications that become preferred solutions and how we could apply those to the work that we do as a digital creative agency.

Imagine being able to use an AR headset for analyzing and visualizing massive data sets, being able to see more rows of a spreadsheet than what a screen limits you to, or projecting charts in front of you and walking around it like the guys below (as an analyst, I chose to use spreadsheets and charts as examples, but you can think of your own applications.. journey maps, creative concepts, Gantt charts, etc).

And yes, the guys above are looking at a city not a chart, but if you think about it, city skylines and bar charts are basically the same thing.

These tools already exist. They’re not mainstream yet, because laptops are still the preferred work machines of choice, but when the eventual shift happens, it’ll fundamentally change how we do things. From collaboration to efficiency, to how we present to our clients, it opens up a whole new set of tools for the world to learn and become experts at. Before you know it, working on laptops and monitors will be as antiquated as pen and paper. This will be the new normal, so prepare yourselves accordingly.

Sources/further reading:

https://9to5google.com/2019/05/20/glass-enterprise-edition-2-launch/

https://mytechdecisions.com/unified-communications/augmented-reality-in-the-workplace/

https://venturebeat.com/2019/05/20/google-glass-enterprise-edition-2-levels-up-with-qualcomms-xr1-and-smith-frames/

Lithium batteries in shoes…what could go wrong?

At long last someone has designed a digital smartshoe. Cue the obligatory eye roll. And a pair of these can be yours for the whopping cost of $599.

Digitsole Smartshoe integrates street style with wearable technology, featuring auto tightening, accurate tracking, and individual coaching based on your movements.”

The shoe has a lot of features, including smart heating, activity tracker, cushion monitor, stair counter, pedometer, speedometer, calorie counter, auto tightening and an app that analyzes your stride.

Why It’s Hot
Well, I never said it was hot. I guess the shoelace tightener is kind of cool.

To be fair, the company has also developed a product that fits into any shoe as an implant, which is a much better idea.

Why It’s Not so Hot
Where to begin? Shoe styles are highly subjective and the cost is very prohibitive for an item that most people have more than one of. Seems like over-engineering. It’s a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist.

Germany and Addidas take wearables local

Berlin’s metro, BVD, has partnered with shoemaker, Addidas to give customers free year long transit. The shoes, that retail for $215, have a yearly metro card built into the tongue. There are only 500 pairs available.

Why it’s hot:

Though likely low tech, this innovation gives us a glimpse into the ways we can make our lives easier through wearable technology.

Overcoming the Challenges of Wearable Tech

Project Jacquard, an experimental initiative from Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, has partnered with Levi’s to create the Commuter Trucker denim jacket.


Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/40473911/google-and-levis-stitch-up-a-connected-jacket

“Aside from a couple of visual tells—subtle patches of raised stitches and a plastic button on its cuff—the Levi’s Commuter Trucker looks exactly like what you’d expect from the 144-year-old brand: a timeless jean jacket that keeps you warm while looking cool. But appearances deceive. The jacket is actually an interface between you and your phone. Brush, tap, or cover the right spot and you can answer or ignore calls, switch up your music, or get travel-time updates, all without looking at a screen.”

The Challenges

  1. Creating durable conductive thread. Tech is treated with gloves, textiles are meant to endure tough situations from being exposed to fire (to remove extra cotton fibers) to heated presses and pre-skewing (Levi’s process where toothed grips latch and torque the fabric).
  2. Figuring out how the wearer would interact with the interface, which is stitched onto the sleeve). “Levi’s and Google arrived at four main motions: brush in, brush out, tap, or cover the connected area. The actions are subtle enough so you can silence an incoming phone call during a conversation and it just looks like you’re brushing dust off your sleeve.”

Although relatively primitive, the gestures don’t do much more than what the remote control on earbuds, this is a starting point.

Why it’s hot:

  • Because although voice-based interactions are becoming more an more prevalent (Siri or Alexa), touch still has an important role to play in our future interactions with new technology meant to disrupt and replace our screens.

FDA’s Digital Health Innovation Action Plan Targets Software – Not Hardware – For Regulatory Approval

A few weeks ago I posted an article that spoke to the value connected medicine dispensing could bring to healthcare.

What I neglected to mention is the plethora of HIPAA hurdles that the healthcare industry faces when it begins collecting patient-specific healthcare data on mobile devices such as phones, tablets or wearables.

Thankfully there may be a solution on the horizon that significantly circumvents this challenge.

In the past, if a client were to build an app that collected patient-specific medical data, the entire phone would then be considered a “medical device.” The challenge with this lies in the relative inability of a healthcare company to effectively to manage HIPAA compliance on a device they rarely have contact with.

However, the FDA’s new Digital Health Innovation Action Plan is looking at ways to view the software as the components of a tech solution that needs to be regulated. This effectively paves the way for healthcare companies and the companies to more deeply integrate mobile technology with healthcare.

As part of the plan, the FDA is seeking 9 that meet the following criteria for its pilot initiative;

  • Business is developing or planning to develop tools that meet the FDA’s definition of a device — one intended to be used to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent a disease;
  • Company has an existing track record in developing, testing, and maintaining software products use key performance indicators for quality control;
  • Must agree to provide access to performance measures during the pilot
  • Collect real-world post-market performance data and provide it to the FDA;
  • Availability for consultations and site visits from FDA officials
  • Provide quality management system information

So who did the FDA deem worthy this past week from the pool of over 100 applicants?

  • Apple
  • Fitbit
  • Verily (the health unit of Google parent Alphabet)
  • Samsung
  • Roche
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Pear Therapeutics
  • Tidepool
  • Phosphorus.

“We need to modernize our regulatory framework so that it matches the kind of innovation we’re being asked to evaluate, and helps foster beneficial technology while ensuring that consumers have access to high-quality, safe and effective digital health devices,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. “These pilot participants will help the agency shape a better and agiler approach toward digital health technology that focuses on the software developer rather than an individual product.”

The end goal of the program is to develop a regulatory framework for software as a medical device so that companies with established, tried and tested quality assurance protocols would be able to update their products faster.

Why It’s Hot:

in the past, mobile devices such as wearables, phone or tablets that collected patient data weren’t HIPAA compliant. This new FDA initiative opens up the potential to build technology that makes these devices HIPAA compliant opening up vast new opportunities for the healthcare industry.

Once a Mother, Always a Giant

Strapping a GoPro to your dog is so 2015. These days, to get the best pint-size footage, you have to strap Snapchat Spectacles to your kid!

And that’s just what Cutwater did for its new Mother Day’s commercial for Brawny, which was shot from the point of view of children wearing the socially connected eyewear.

The San Francisco agency hired director and producer Karen X, enlisted four real families and shot in their homes over two days. The glasses have no playback function, so the creative team had to capture as many “happy accidents” as they could—all in 10-second bursts.

Source

Why It’s Hot

Along with Brawny’s new brand positioning, a campaign focused on mothers makes sense. Not to mention that it’s a natural fit with wearables, allowing for some fun to be had with new technology.The only thing missing is an Elmo lens.

Smartwatches suck, according to one of the largest makers

Recently, CEO of Chinese electronics maker Huawei raised eyebrows when he publicly trashed smartwatches.

“I am always confused as to what smartwatches are for when we have smartphones,” Eric Xu Zhijun said, adding that he would never ever wear one himself — despite the fact that his own company makes them.

This underscores something that tech enthusiasts have been dancing around for a while…that the smartwatch seems to be on life support if not fully dead.

Pebble, for example, was one of the original Kickstarter success stories. It was acquired late last year by FitBit and it’s future is uncertain.

 

Why It’s Hot

Whenever tech industry tries to anticipate trends instead of trying to understand what people actually want, it feels like the tail wagging the dog. For that reason, like the 3D TV, wearables may’ve been doomed from the start.

I hate the idea of “Smart clothes” but its happening. Levi’s and Google to blame.

Some interesting new technology has hit SXSW and is coming to a store near you this fall. Levi’s and Google have partnered to create a denim shirt enhanced with tech for $350 a pop. I don’t know how I feel about it because enough is enough, right? WRONG. According to Juniper Research, wearables are expected to be a $19 billion industry by 2018.

The smart Commuter jacket, which was introduced over the weekend at SXSW in Austin, is aimed at those who bike to work. It has technology woven into its fibers, and allows users to take phone calls, get directions and check the time, by tapping and swiping their sleeves. That delivers information to them through their headphones so that they can keep their eyes on the road without having to fiddle with a screen.

Why its hot!

  • Wearable’s like Fitbit have seen a decline in sales, resulting in job cuts and budget cuts, its interesting that Google and Levi’s have decided to move forward with an idea like this given the market.
  • This is a wearable but its more so about the fabric.
  • Wearables are expected to be a $19 billion industry by 2018 or this jacket could be the first of many new clothing options.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/03/14/how-google-and-levis-smart-jacket-shows-whats-coming-next-for-wearables/?utm_term=.4079a6ae4642

feel your unborn messi kick from anywhere…

A company called First Bond Wearables has created a FitBit-like “bracelet” that lets expectant fathers and non-carrying expectant mothers feel some semblance of the physical sensation of a baby kicking in its mother’s womb. According to First Bond: “The mama is wearing a kick monitor patch…which detects the baby’s actions…So when the baby kicks or moves, it sends a signal via GSM to an elegant smart bracelet that imitates the movements. The sharing happens instantly so the person wearing the wristband will feel the movement in real-time…The bracelet uses rotating beads in order mimic a baby’s womb movements, rather than vibrations that many wearable devices currently employ to deliver notifications.”

Why it’s hot

In the past, you could have argued that the more technology takes over, the less we feel. But with the rise in virtual reality, haptics, wearables, and the like, we’re seeing a swing back towards technology augmenting what we can physically feel as human beings. Whether it’s to be able to empathize, or just to be able to share an experience, it’s another example of technology filling in the gaps that exist in our humanity. Just another example of how technology is changing the way we physically experience the world.

Ready Player One?


A company called “Tesla Studios” has teased the idea since 2015, and last year teased us again with the “Teslasuit”, a full body haptic suit to provide an extra sensory touch/feel experience, enabled through digital means. The suit would allow those wearing it to physically feel the effects of any virtual interactions – which could be triggered through a phone, gaming console, or virtual reality experience, among other ways – as if they were happening in the so called real world. They’re not the only ones working on the idea, but they do seem to be the most prominent.

Why it’s hot:
It shows what could be the ultimate culmination of the trend toward digital invading our everyday physical world. Right now we’re interacting with each other and brands through websites, messaging, apps, chat bots,etc. A lot of the applications of this have been focused on gaming, but imagine if you could touch and feel the things you want to buy, get yourself physically examined by a doctor, or just rub a friend’s back virtually. While this may be further off, it shows the trajectory of digital’s invasion into our physical world – how the physical world is being transformed by digital means.

Netflix Will Read your Mind

As part of “hack day”, an internal event at Netflix that brings employees together to “casually experiment with new technologies”, this wonderful device emerged. Essentially, it will allow wearers to control their television screen by moving their head and “thinking” watch. This headband, being called Mindflix, is a “modified version of The Muse headband — which is designed to monitor brain activity for meditation purposes” and which is described by Mashable  as a “thinkable” (as opposed to a wearable). While Mindflix is not a consumer product (The Muse is), brain sensing technology may be the next voice recognition technology.

Why It’s Hot

  • The implications are endless when it comes to personalize experiences based on your thoughts.
  • Thinkable technology isn’t exactly new, but then again, neither is virtual reality, eventually someone will get it right. Not to mention, having Netflix know what you want to watch could save hours of needless browsing.
  • There is something to be said for Netflix hosting these types of events in their offices. Who knows what will emerge when smart, creative people are given the chance to be smart and creative

Mindflix

The Muse

AR glasses from Facebook

Earlier this week, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, the clunky VR headset, shipped to the market. But Facebook has hopes for the tech and form factor to be reduced to the size of a normal pair of glasses.

During a recent developer conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated a concept pair of smart glasses that he envisions being able to view both virtual reality AND augmented reality. It would be similar to what Google Glass has tried to establish.

To distinguish, AR provides you overlays of data and information while you view the real world through the glasses vs VR, which is a virtual rendering of worlds.

There may be a race to market heating up as Microsoft just shipped its HoloLens headset to developers and Snapchat is apparently working on its own augmented reality glasses.

facebook-augmented-reality-virtual-reality-glasses

Why It’s Hot

AR and VR show true integration of the real world with information and data that can enrich our experiences. Particularly with augmented reality, overlaying information into your field of vision that is contextually relevant to what you are experiencing, can augment and enrich the experience.

Remixed Remix

The right remix makes a old song feel new. And makes a new song feel even newer. Which is why trip hop duo Massive Attack has released a “sensory music player” app with its new EP.

The app is called Fantom, and it remixes and reforms music on iPhones based off environmental factors like a person’s location, movement, and heartbeat fed by Apple Watch sensors and HealthKit data. Each factor affects the music in a different way. Heart rate, for instance, changes the song cadence, while location affects harmonization.

Fantom is not a partnership– one of the Massive Attack band members was part of the team that developed the app.

Why it’s hot: remix albums have been around for awhile, and offer the same remix to every person. Why not algorithmically personalize it if you can? Screen-Shot-2016-01-21-at-11.52.12

source: http://mashable.com/2016/01/21/massive-attack-iphone-app/#rnvkkvkkksq3

Powering Up Handbags for Battery-Drained Devices

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Everpurse is turning handbags into the perfect device carrier. By fitting them with built-in chargers, they extend not only a busy woman’s carrying capacity but also the battery lives of smartphones she carries.

An alternative approach to building wearable tech, Everpurse works with Kate Spade, a high-end bag label many women love.

The Everpurse bag has a special pocket where a smartphone slides into. The device charges up wirelessly, with no cords to fumble with. Just place it over the included charging mat to charge.

Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot:

Because I NEED this! Simple as that. But really, this is (1) an interesting extension of wearable technology to big fashion brands — a trend that was emphasized at last year’s SXSW and (2) a practical solution to an all-too-common pain point.

 

 

Under Armour– Powered by Watson

Amongst the new partnerships announced at CES is one between Under Armour and IBM, which promises to launch “Cognitive Coaching Powered by IBM Watson,” which both companies call the “world’s first complete health and fitness insights app.”

Activity-Insight-1_640_1136How does it plan to stand out against the typical fitness app consisting of wearable device & smartphone sensor? Using Watson’s smarts. The program will integrate data signals from wearable fitness gear with Under Armour’s Connected Fitness community of users, research studies, and institutions with data from IBM Watson. To help individuals achieve their fitness goals as accurately as possible, the Watson database will compare each user’s fitness data to a cohort of people with similar characteristics and goals– a sort of crowdsourcing in which individuals can see real-time results of others they share commonalities with.

Two other projects in the works: using IBM Watson’s visual recognition capabilities to identify foods and their nutritional value and integrating weather- related and environmental factors as they relate to your health and fitness (powerful, as IBM purchased much of Weather.com’s digital assets).

Why it’s hot: the Under Armour- IBM Watson partnership is one of the first brand integrations with the IBM Watson system and the first fitness integration of its kind to use consumer data in a way that allows people to compare themselves to others in real time.

Ransoming my health data? Wearable’s and Cyber security

According to a recent Forrester Report on Cybersecurity, hacking health records, devices and wearable’s and using the information to ransom — yes, ransom — people’s health data is on the rise. On the face of it, it seems odd, after all why would anyone want my health data and what would they do with it? Aren’t these criminals satisfied with my credit cards or Social Security number? No. A credit card can be cancelled, your health records are permanent.

This was the headline on MedCityNews after they read the Forrester report:

The biggest cybersecurity threat for 2016 could be hackers holding patients ransom for the use of their medical device

Seems dramatic? Maybe not. Ask the 4.5 million records hacked from UCLA Medical Center — they suspected it was criminals looking for celebrities health records.

H sauce 11.19 hospital breaches

Ask the 80 million people who trust Anthem and had their information hacked.

H Sauce cyber Hack UCLA 11.19

At the heart of this disturbing trend is the rise of Ransomware, a form of malware.  FastCompany wrote about the Ransomware trend recently (http://goo.gl/bDlelc): Symantec estimated conservatively that upwards of $5 million is ransomed every year. How do they prefer to get paid? Bitcoin the favorite currency of choice.

H Sauce 11.19 hacking RansomWhy is this hot? Because as the explosion of Electronic Health Records, wearable’s, devices and the looming Internet of Things all coalesce, we see that the healthcare industry has lagged far behind others in putting proper measures in place to protect the most intimate information of all. The prevalence of the malware is accelerating faster than the security measures of the industry. Data is growing exponentially, yet protection of it is in its infancy.

H Sauce wearable growth 11.20

As Eric Cowperthwaite  the CEO of Core Strategy a security firm said: “…if the health care data stolen from these breaches was ever combined with the data stolen from the Office of Personnel Management, it would be the Holy Grail of electronic data on almost all people with government clearances,” Cowperthwaite said.

Imagine this message: “We know you suffer from major depression? How would you like the world to know?” Or if you failed a drug test, or had a preexisting condition that could hurt your job prospects. This is so scary, it just gets darker the more you think about it. Stay tuned for what the security industry reaction is.

Tweets Powered By Your Feet #GetCharged

AMPY MOVE™ is a portable smartphone battery charger that charges itself as you move (from kinetic energy) encouraging a fit lifestyle through a “smarter way to stay charged.”

AMPY MOVE™ is a portable smartphone battery charger that charges itself as you move (from kinetic energy)

The founders of AMPY MOVE portable battery charger and AMPY+ mobile app explored the possibilities of capturing their own energy from daily activities to charge their smartphones, then engineered a solution to do just that and so the AMPY MOVE was born; a motion-charger, a portable smartphone battery that charges from kinetic energy.

AMPY MOVE™ is a portable smartphone battery charger that charges itself as you move

AMPY MOVE, “The World’s First Wearable Motion-Charger,”  also has a free app available, AMPY+, “A Smarter Way to Live Charged.”

The AMPY+ smartphone app helps you stay charged and stay fit. Review your personal Battery Life Forecast with predictions and insights, track the calories you burn and power you generate, and compete with your friends.

AMPY+ App // FREE to Download

It’s free, and you don’t need an AMPY MOVE to use it. Sending a shout out to the founders of this cool new kinetic energy capturing wearable. Your team nailed the seeding for the December Release of AMPY MOVE with the free AMPY+ app.

Why It’s HOT: Preventive health and wellness are at the forefront of our lives; driving insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and employers to encourage taking ownership of your health and long term wellness. Enabling a healthy and fit lifestyle through a wearable like AMPY MOVE provides great utility and it could influence positive lifestyle changes in those that use it. It’s green energy, it’s good for your health and it makes you sound really smart when you say “I utilize my kinetic energy to charge my smartphone while getting fit for bathing suit season. What do you do?”

Source: getampy.com

Form Following Function in Wearables…

jacketpay

“One-touch/tap/swipe” payment systems obviously are far from new. The combination of Apple Pay with the Apple Watch has made it easy for those who own one to pay for things quickly and easily, as has Google Wallet. But while you might argue the style appeal of the fluorescent Apple Watch band, it’s really designed more to be functional than beautiful.

Now, the UK fashion brand Lyle & Scott has partnered with Barclaycard to bring more form to the function of “one-touch/tap/swip” payment. It has designed a jacket with a built-in “bPay” chip that makes it easy to pay for things with a swipe of the right sleeve (anything under £30 at the moment, that is). The Barclaycard-developed chip can also make “almost anything into a contactless way to pay.”

Why It’s Hot

The promise of digital is more functional, but ultimately, we don’t want function to always dictate form factor, especially when it’s something you have to wear. Technology like the Apple Watch, and even Google Glass is cool in what it does, but especially in the latter case, it may not exactly project any kind of sense of style. Now that the function is there, the form seems not far off into the future, even if this still feels a bit ahead of the times.

Protecting Yourself in the Facial-Recognition Era

Facial-recognition might make tagging photos a lot easier on Facebook, but let’s face it: there’s a lot of unresolved implications for the long-term about this increasingly integrated technologies. Rather than putting themselves at risk, some people are choosing just to opt-out altogether.

How do you go dark when your data is collected without your knowledge or consent?

It’s not a catch-all, but start with protective eyewear. The Privacy Visor, first unveiled in 2012, are glasses that reflect light in a way that confuses facial-detection software. More specifically, the glasses disrupt the patterns of light and dark spots around the eyes and nose that allow computer algorithms to recognize that a face is even present in the frame. Although the glasses don’t guarantee complete privacy, project lead Isao Echizen says tests have shown it to work over 90% of the time.

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As camera technology has adapted to more closely mimic human sight, The Privacy Visor has been updated to better shield identities even as the scanning technology advances. Echizen is pushing forward with the concept’s commercialization, targeting mid-next year to begin production of more fashionable and effective versions.

Why It’s Hot

The Privacy Visor is a product that exists to treat the symptom of a much larger problem: maintaining control of one’s own identity. It might be good for those of us who are paranoid, and those of us who very legitimately want to maintain control of the information they create about themselves… online and out in the world. In fact some privacy advocates go as far as saying the Privacy Visor is a detriment to the cause because its very existence is in effect “giving in” to these huge pressures for amassing databases of personally identifiable information. So the bigger question becomes less about the specifics of this product, and more about the broader culture of acceptance we’re creating.

Via FastCompany

Disney to Release Kid-Friendly Wearable Technology

elseDisney will be releasing new technology called Playmation which will encourage children to run around outside and use their imagination with the use of technology.

What is Playmation? Disney describes it as a new system of wearable technology and smart toys that it hopes will “inspire kids to run around and use their imaginations.”

Think laser tag with interactive Disney smart toys. The first series of Playmation, Marvel’s Avengers ($120), is slated to come out in October. With Playmation Marvel, kids wear a repulsor – or electronic brace – on their arm. Like Iron Man, Jarvis – his artificially intelligent butler – assigns kids a mission on the repulsor.

Other missions can be obtained via a smartphone application. While wearing the repulsor, kids can place a power activator or base station with a smart character on top nearby (15 to 20 feet maximum range), and from there they can shoot it down and make the character eject.

Playmation will not be exclusive to Marvel characters; there will also be a Star Wars version and a Frozen version. You can be Iron Man or Elsa.

Source: Disney Rolling Out New ‘Smart’ Toys

Why It’s Hot:

With the raid advancement of technology, there has been a pressing concern that children are not as active as they once were. This new wearable, kid-friendly technology will encourage kids to be more active and use their imaginations.

Mirror, mirror on wall, can you diagnose me?

Wize mirror for disease detection hot sauce 7.26

According a new report from Kaiser Health News, online diagnostic tools are not accurate. In fact here are some rather disconcerting facts: According to iHealth Beat, the study found about:

  • One-third of the sites named the correct diagnosis as the patient’s first option;
  • 51 percent of the sites named the correct diagnosis in their top three options; and
  • 58 percent of the sites named the correct diagnosis in their top 20 option

For those using the internet to try and figure out what might be wrong with them — which is most of the United States population at one time or another — this is a major problem. Doctor Google is not the answer!

Kaiser Health News has done this study to show the important an accurate diagnosis is. Such errant or wrong diagnosis can cause undue fear, people going to their doctors with the wrong information and further burden the healthcare system. What is stunning is that the study included Cleveland Clinic, Mayo, and other highly renowned organization’s web sites.

Now, let’s look in the mirror. SEMEOTICON and the EU medical authorities are working together to create a sensor-based mirror that can tell you your blood pressure, potential for diabetes, cardiac readings and more.

Why is this hot? Development of wearable’s, trackables, logging exercise is accelerating faster and faster. Yet, we also know from many studies that doctor’s typically ignore the tracking information; and that on average, over 70% of such Apps are abandoned after 3 months. Perhaps even more troublesome is the inaccuracy in time, money and emotion wasted. An inaccurate diagnosis can set off a series of horribly fearful events.  But flip what this mirror from diagnosis to support and see it as a means to help control a patient’s health and suddenly what is potentially fearful device becomes an easy way to stay healthier.

Is this a product you would purchase? Certainly, if I were a major Biopharma company with a diabetes or cardiac franchise, I would partner/buy this technology and offer it to patients and hospitals as a way to support the patient and healthier outcomes but also co-partner with the entire healthcare system.

 

The IoT for Kids

A few months ago, I told my in-laws that we had microchips implanted in our kids, so that we could locate them if lost or stolen. They said they did the same with their dogs. I was so surprised that I forgot to tell them I was kidding…and maybe I’ll never have to, because micro-chipping (well, not exactly, but close) may be available at retail by the next holiday season!

Fuhu, the company that makes Nabi tablets for children, wants to open the IoT’s market to kids. They’re in the early stages of devising a “connected room” platform for kids built around sensors, monitors and cloud services, all designed to supply information – and hopefully peace of mind – to parents.

Baby products can track feeding and sleeping. Products aimed at toddlers may track the child’s movement around the house, so that a parent can be notified if a kid wanders to an unsafe space, such as one with cleaning products or power cords.

7-10-2015 9-12-02 AM

The various items under development include a mini light for the changing table that can track how often you change a baby’s diaper. Another is an air pollution sensor that tracks pollen, mold and dust. One sensor is meant to be worn by mom to track how often and how long she nurses her baby.

All the devices can be controlled by mom and dad through an app on an iPad or one of Fuhu’s Nabi tablets. The goal is that the data that’s collected will be analyzed to help identify patterns in a child’s health. The products will be modular, useful and affordable, priced at $49-99 a piece.

Why it’s Hot: Parents worry about their children’s well-being all the time. Information alone may allay concern, and if not, will enable the parents to conduct better research or have more productive discussions with a pediatrician. Further off in the future, perhaps these devices will enable two-way communication, so that under certain circumstances (e.g., baby is dehydrated or episodes of upset stomach can be attributed to a particular food, implying allergy), helpful information is sent to the parents…and we all know who likes to sponsor or underwrite helpful information…Pedialyte, Gerber, Enfamil, Huggies, Piedmont Pediatrics, United Healthcare, Mayo Clinic, et al.

 

 

 

 

 

Can migraines be prevented? Not by pills. Try this wearable.

Offcie space migraine shot HS 6.5.15

15% of the world’s population suffers from migraines. If you happen to be one of those people, you know how awful they are; you feel it coming on, then suddenly you are in a dark cave, hiding until it passes. While there are many medications for migraines, scary enough, a Botox shot to the forehead seems to work better than most. Additionally, many people find they ‘cycle-through’ the many medications because often it is hit-or-miss whether they work. Something new is needed beyond just another pill.

The need is clear. But the answer is surprising; a wearable. Or maybe calling it that is a stretch. It is a headband. Very Wonder Woman tiara looking.

Migraine wearable HS 6.3.15

 Why it is hot? This device crosses a number of relevant and “hot” axis. First, it is FDA-approved. Second, with our society so focused on pills but also holding a almost pathological fear of electro-shock sounding therapies, this shows how desperate people are and how radical an approach is needed. This also shows how neurological disorders are finally being dealt with using our own electric wiring versus creating a chemical (pill) to impact the brains’ pathways. Adoption will be a challenge, even if it is as effective as it claims.

This is the YouTube demo; the device actually has been proven to, over time, reduce the number of migraines. Prevent a migraine? Simply amazing.

The only downside? As a wearable, metal headbands are not in fashion. On a more serious note, the real challenge is not that the device works, it is that American have a visceral fear of anything that sounds like electro-shock therapy — a prejudice deeply lodged in our collective mind since the 1950’s.

Belgium-based Cefaly Technologies already secured FDA approval for its headband-like device that stimulates the trigeminal nerve to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines in March 2014. But now it has revealed positron emission tomography (PET) scan data showing that its Cefaly device can aid areas of the brain in returning to their normal metabolic rate in migraine patients.The idea was to better understand the short- and medium-term metabolic changes in the areas of the brain involved in migraine: the orbitofrontal cortex and the rostral cingulate, which are involved in decision-making and emotional behavior. In migraine patients, those areas of the brain tend to be sub-metabolic compared to people without migraines.

“This is a major breakthrough in understanding the mechanism of action of the device on the central nervous system,” said Cefaly CEO Dr. Pierre Rigaux in a statement. “It will help us take developments in this non-invasive, drug-free, technology even further.”

Two things to watch for: where can you buy this for those we know who suffer? And is the device market starting to crowd into the pill market to solve seemingly intractable problems?

Putting the Wearable Tech Trend in Perspective

The wearable device category has all the makings to ignite a technology revolution except one: widespread consumer interest.

Among key findings of a recent emarketer study released this week were:

  • Awareness of wearables was high as of last year, which is a long time in a tech category. A significant share (40% to 68%) of mobile media users polled worldwide in Q3 2014 were already well aware of wearable devices.
  • However, high awareness of wearables did not lead to a high rate of ownership in 2014. Less than 2% of the world’s population and less than 20% of internet users worldwide reported owning a wearable device last year. Ownership among US internet users was above the world average, however, ranging from 20% to 25%.
  • Fitness trackers continue to be the most commonly owned wearable device among internet users worldwide. Adoption of wearable devices outside the fitness category has been slower due to a less apparent value proposition.
  • The jury is still out on the Apple Watch. Despite robust sales, early reviews are mixed, with users unclear about the need for the product.
  • Still, forecasting firms have a positive outlook on the growth of wearable device shipments going forward, particularly smart watches. In fact, forecasts for smart watch shipments this year are more bullish than the year-one shipment projections made for the iPad.

wearables

Of note:  Through 2019, sales are projected to skyrocket spurred by the wristband and smart watch category and further consumer interest in the Apple watch.wearables2

Of note: among internet users worldwide, ownership of wearable tech is on par with other trending tech and still in single digits with expectations to double within 1-3 years.wearables3

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Key stats: females are faster adopting to wearable technology and express higher interest. 26% of female US internet users own a Fitbit device (vs 18% male) and 30% of females who don’t own, expressed interest to own any wearable tech (vs 24% males).

 

 

 

 

wearables5

 

Why its Hot:

The state of the wearable products consumers are polled about in one survey are likely to have changed (for better or worse) by the time the next survey is conducted. Additionally, consumer awareness and opinions of wearable technology are in flux, so older surveys need to be weighed against newer findings to gain insight into how the market is evolving.

Of note: The wearables category includes a long and growing list of smart body wear, which makes it difficult for any one survey to probe deeply into consumer use of all the device types, let alone all the specific brands of devices on the market. But the trend is clearly growing and with that growth comes opportunity for marketers interested in targeting people not only based on where and who they are, but what activities they are engaging in at that precise moment. So we need to keep an eye, an ear, a wrist, a foot or a head on this movement very closely as it evolves.

 

What If Emotions Can Take Photographs?

This is the idea behind Nikon’s Heartography campaign in Asia. A Nikon camera strapped on Grizzler, “the world’s first canine photographer,” will take photos when the heart rate monitor on its strap detects that Grizzler’s heartbeats exceed its predefined baseline, which implies emotion.

heartography

Why It’s Hot: The “emotional” capture idea is fantastic. It really brings another level to personal experience, and a man’s best friend is a great conduit to demonstrate this idea. What if we had this kind of camera on ourselves? What would it capture through our heartbeats? This also shows a unique way wearables can be used beyond its initial role of just measuring and storing physical/movement data.

Motion-powered ‘smart’ fabric

A new type of fabric is designed to collect and store static electricity in order to give your personal devices a power boost. Created by a team led by materials scientist Sang-Woo Kim at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, the material consists of a two layers of fabric, one of silver-coated fibres, the other containing zinx oxide nanorods coated with polydimethylsiloxane. The layers rub together when they move, which can be triggered by natural, day-to-day motions.

Why It’s Hot: 
Electricity is crack. You know the feeling – when you’re cell phone has just 5% of battery life and the thought of not having your phone sends you into a spiral of emotions. Look around. You see people plugged in at the airport, on the train, in restaurants, at work, etc. Following the developments in wearables, this caught my eye – although not the most fashionable – it’s interesting to see exploration into using our own energy as an independent power source.