The 5 most innovative people in wearables to watch this July
Jul03

The 5 most innovative people in wearables to watch this July

None of our choices for who to watch this month (aside from our first) are incredibly well-known in the wearables game — but that’s is precisely what we believe is going to change change. The following players are only beginning to make waves in the industry, which we are certain will lead to tsunamis (in the best possible way). From the Google Self-Driving Car to software that allows you to customize your smart home down to the smallest detail, below are the 5 people you need to know about in July. Sebastian Thrun, CEO of Udacity + Google Engineer Aside from being a genius, Sebastian Thrun is a jack-of-all-trades. He is the CEO of Udacity, where millions of students have taken online courses and earned accredited degrees. He is a research professor at Stanford University, having previously been the director of the Artifical Intelligence lab there. He also co-invented Google Street View (you may have heard of it). But the reason Thrun is on our list is his role as the lead engineer on the Google Self-Driving Car project, which has been making headlines lately due to the fact that it’s so cool — and there’s bound to be some sort of wearable connectivity once it’s fully baked. Adam Tilton, Co-Founder of Rithmio Rithmio is the world’s leading gesture recognition program. The most unique aspect of the software is its versatility and multi-function application; As Steven Holmes of Intel mentions, “Real-time analytics for user-specific physical activities represents a potential game-changing technology for fitness, physical therapy, and rehabilitation applications.” Adam Tilton and partner Prashant Mehta just helped their company raise $3 million in investments, positioning it to be a game-changing software — literally. Cees Links, Founder + CEO of GreenPeak Technologies GreenPeak Technologies is a Netherlands-based company that provides products for ZigBee, an industry leader in IoT and smart home tech. Since IoT is on the tip of everyone’s tongue as a growing industry with buy-in from all the big wigs (Amazon, Apple, and Samsung, to name a few), we felt it important to include a little-known company that is changing the game by providing software compatible with both IoT and smart home devices. “Both ZigBee and Thread will be dominant in the Smart Home and IoT” says Cees Links. “In order to support both communication technologies, the new [chipset] supports the two protocols in a single QFN package thereby offering a future-proof, low-cost, small footprint, single chip solution.” Jay Sales, Innovation Strategy + Co-Head of The Shop at VSP Global Jay Sales helped found The Shop at eye care mogul VSP Global, an innovation lab that produced Product Genesis. Project Genesis is an activity tracking eyewear prototype. What...

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Ford smartwatch app to keep company relevant as consumers demand connectivity
Jun29

Ford smartwatch app to keep company relevant as consumers demand connectivity

Ford Motors is attempting to establish a foothold within the evolving internet of things (IoT), a network of connected objects that can send and receive data. The company recently announced plans to implement smartwatch technology that would collect data off of drivers’ performances. For example, drivers could get a gas consumption evaluation sent to their watch based off of their recent trip. According to USA Today, Ford CEO Mark Fields was traveling last week to promote Ford’s new mission as a “mobility company,” not just an automaker. Ford already has a mobile application, MyFord Mobile, that sends information to your smartphone. Users can check the driving range and battery charge for their plug-in hybrid or electric cars. The company is currently developing an extension for various smartwatches, including Android Wear. Ford isn’t the only company that is implementing smart technology in its vehicles. Mercedes Benz has been working with smartwatch company Pebble to create a line of smart products for their luxury cars. Pebble smartwatches work with 2009 or later models of Mercedes Benz and can report near by accidents, gas consumption, and road hazards. BMW has also released a smartwatch app with Samsung for their Galaxy Gear products. The app will work for their first electric car, the i3, and can remote control air conditioning, monitor gas consumption, and check the battery status. BMW is also working on gesture recognition between i3 and the smartwatch. As the price of sensors and data processing power decreases, the growing market presence for Internet of Things products is rapidly increasing. According to the Wall Street Journal, research firm Gartner Inc. estimates that 4.9 billion objects will be connected to the Internet of Things in 2015. One of the biggest problems facing the merger of automotive companies and IoT products is that even though consumer demand for these products are high, is it necessarily in demand for automobiles? We previously reported that Strategy Analytics performed a study measuring consumer interest of wearables in the car industry. The results showed that mainly “young U.S. males and U.S. luxury car owners,” were interested in wearable tech moving into automobiles. Despite those findings, automakers are pushing through with plans to incorporate wearables with their vehicles. Hopefully they cross compatible and not just for the Apple...

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The world isn’t interested in car-related wearables
Jun16

The world isn’t interested in car-related wearables

Wearable tech has found its way into nearly every industry — but is its presence always needed? The results of a recent study measuring consumer interest within the automotive industry seem to point to… no. The study, conducted by an in-vehicle UX group at Strategy Analytics, focused on two key uses for the tech — health monitoring and remote functionality — finding that interest in the U.S. and Europe fell below 45 percent and 50 percent for both features, respectively. The problem partly lies in the fact that a relatively small demographic is interested: mainly, “young U.S. males and U.S. luxury car owners.” This makes sense, considering some of the latest car-related wearable tech on the market requires an Apple Watch or the ability to afford a Tesla Model S. Furthermore, it seems as though this demographic is more interested in remote functionality than health monitoring, a feature that would be more useful for senior citizens who, in turn, are probably largely uninterested. There are certainly wearables in the automotive industry that serve a purpose other than the ones discussed. The Mini glasses by BMW, for example, provide a virtual reality HUD meant to assist the driver via 360-degree views and audio directions for optimal driving. Albeit a prototype, this device and others like it provide exciting possibilities for the future of automotive technology — as long as they are accessible to the...

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Your Apple Watch will soon control these HomeKit products recently announced
Jun09

Your Apple Watch will soon control these HomeKit products recently announced

Last year, Apple announced their iOS version of IoT for the connected home, HomeKit. The framework consists of interconnected smart home devices (think lightbulbs, refrigerators, kitchen appliances, etc.) that can be controlled remotely via Siri, regardless of manufacturer. HomeKit is meant to provide a single portal for all these smart devices (although this has yet to be revealed) while also allowing them to communicate amongst themselves. Despite its short mention in Monday’s WWDC keynote (head over to this post to catch up on all Apple Watch updates), we now have an idea of what kinds of devices will be featured in the first HomeKit compatible batch. These include gadgets capable of changing air stats and temp, turning lights in separate rooms on and off, and controlling window shades, lamps, wall outlets, cameras, door locks, etc. On the market already are Lutron’s Caséta Wireless Lighting Starter Kit ($230) and the Insteon Hub ($129), both of which monitor home lighting. Philips’ intelligent lighting system Hue will also be compatible with HomeKit sometime in the fall, although details concerning hardware are unknown. An Apple Watch OS update coming later this year will also allow you to bypass the iPhone and control your home all via watch (although you will still need an Apple TV to do so). Of course, there is always the looming question of privacy invasion to consider. More data of course means higher risk, and the HomeKit’s reliance on iCloud is troublesome in the least (remember the great leaked celebrity nude scandal of 2014?). If Apple expects users to feel completely secure that information about their home stays within the confines of their home, they certainly have yet to prove...

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Former search king Lycos makes a peculiar comeback with a set of wearables
Jun05

Former search king Lycos makes a peculiar comeback with a set of wearables

Once the most visited online destination in the entire world, search-engine Lycos fell into relative obscurity as it exchanged hands and strategies over the better part of the last decade. Now Lycos is back, and it wants in on the wearables game. The company is rolling out a ring and a band on June 8 under the name Lycos Life, and while exact and detailed functionality is fairly unclear, we do know that phone connectivity, fitness tracking, and a “personal security manager” will be primary features. Priced at $60 and $125 respectively, the gadgets are only compatible with Android smartphones for the time being (iOS support promised in the near future). With the release of these products the company also launches the Lycos Life Project, a non-profit arm that uses wireless sensor technology to provide free air and water quality readings to families around the world. Five percent of Lycos Life sales will go to the initiative. The humanitarian angle is a smart move on Lycos’ part, since the initiative may be the only thing standing in the way of its complete destruction by established and beloved companies providing the same product (Jawbone, Apple, Fitbit, Ringly, to name a few). We almost feel sort of bad for the dinosaur that is Lycos, but we do wish them the best of luck. Everyone loves a comeback...

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