Generation Next

 The world’s largest wearable technology show the Wearable Technology Show 2015 is only weeks away. Taking place on 10-11 March 2015 at ExCeL in London, the event will see many new wearable devices launched to a UK audience for the very first time.

More than 100 technology innovators will be exhibiting at the event, which will host a nine-track, 200-strong speaker conference, alongside the expo.

Here’s a run-down of a few of the new wearables we can expect to see:

1. Lechal Interactive Haptic Footwear

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Lechal  (lay-chull, “take me along” in Hindi) is a Hyderabad-based start-up founded by students Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Sharma in 2011.

The company has created a new type of haptic footwear, that takes navigational information from a GPS and turn-by-turn data from Google maps and converts it into vibrational and proximity data to provide a navigational aid.

The system uses vibrational actuators and proximity sensors to send directional cues to a wearers feet. Combined with vocal direction from a smartphone app, LeChal footwear provides haptic navigation in a familiar and intimate high-tech package.

The product is available as an in-sole or a shoe and can track the wearers location and position, alongside calories burned, steps taken, distance to destination and total distance travelled.

The technology has been hailed as providing potentially life-changing benefits for many of the world’s 285 million visually impaired people. It is also likely to find adoption amongst fitness and sportswear enthusiasts.

2. Glofaster – Revolutionary Cycling Jacket

 

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GloFaster designs a range of sports jackets, training tops and compression wear for tech-loving athletes and fitness enthusiasts. The clothing tracks heart-rate, distance and speed and the system utilises real-time sounds and vibration to signal milestones and motivate the wearer.

GloFaster are currently launching a range of cycling jackets with fibre-optic lighting designed to increase road-safety and provide extra visibility.

The clothing’s embedded LED’s can be set to flash in time to music and there are a range of settings for different types of training. The system is powered by a matchbox sized computer Glofaster calls ‘The Gizmo” which communicates with a smartphone app.

If the wearer is putting in the right amount of effort, the system lights up its LED’s. When the target heart-rate and workout goals are achieved, the lights stay on.

Founder and ex-Royal Marine Simon Weatherall pitched the product last year to the BBC show ‘Dragons Den’ but was rejected for funding. He has since inked a deal with Harrods.

3. GameTracka –  Sports Performance Tracker

 

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Australian start-up Sports Performance Tracking (SPT) describes GameTraka as “the world’s first GPS device and data analytics solution designed for amateur sports people.”

The system comprises a small rectangular unit  (about the size of a box of matches), designed to fit inside a vest, or underneath a players jersey.

GameTracka has an internal GPS that can update up to five times a second and tracks metrics such as distance, speed, intensity and acceleration.

Designed to make contact activity measurable, the software allows coaches and players to gain access to objective data after a game and to compare and analyse each players physical performance.

It is hoped this will remove much of the subjectivity around sports performance, aid rehabilitation and help analyse the nuances of athletic and sporting activity.

4. Ambiotex

 

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Ambiotex uses textile sensors to collect vital data from the body and send it to a second device attached to the wearers shirt by magnetic pins. The second unit unit runs a custom software package which measures heart-rate variability (HRV) whilst moving and accurately shows respiration activity.

Ambiotex is the first to market with such a product and is considered a leader in the field. HRV shows stress levels during exercise and activity not measured by pulse-tracking. As such, it provides a much higher level of accuracy.

The accompanying app allows athletes and professionals working in high-stress environments to optimise workouts and to set individual training plans. These can be securely stored, or shared with others.

The software also features a unique alarm system that can initiate automatic calls to pre-determined mobile phone numbers. The data can be transmitted with the wearers geo-location attached, an important and potentially lifesaving feature.

Ambiotex will be showing off its product at the Wearable Technology Show.

5. SmartLife – Lab Level Soft Sensors

 

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Shortlisted for the Wearable Technology Show ‘The Wearables 2015’ Awards, SmartLife’s tech consists of textile soft-sensors integrated into smart garments to capture body-data in real time. The data is transmitted via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet.

The sensor system SmartLife employs measures ECG and heart rate but the companies website expects that it will eventually measure respiration, temperature, EMG, EEG, EOG and galvanic skin response.

The products are targeted at elite performance athletes, serious amateur competitors, general fitness enthusiasts and advocates of healthier living.

SmartLife’s system reads vital body signals with lab level accuracy. This gives them strong momentum as the consumer wearables market moves towards convergence with mobile health tracking.

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