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Recap Day 2 @ Wearable Technologies Conference in San Francisco

Recap Day 2 @ Wearable Technologies Conference in San Francisco
"Standardization and interoperability are key factors and the reason why this market is already growing and is expected to increase tremendously within the next few years." Christian Stammel, Wearable Technologies Group

The second day of the Wearable Technologies Conference in San Francisco started with Christian Stammel, CEO and Founder of Wearable Technologies Group. Christian’s keynote used his passion for windsurfing to show the importance of wearable computing, cloud computing and the internet of things.


Following Christian, Cindy Soo from Flextronics addressed the audience with her keynote, in which she utilized golf to demonstrate the importance of design in wearable technologies. Using a golf bat as an example Cindy talked about how design requires a number of factors, like comfort, appearance, technological prowess etc., but faces challenges such as privacy/security, control, social norms, and technology as well. She also emphasized the significance to design around the user and not technology.


Most wearable technologies right now are used to track health or activities – which was the subject of the first session Health and Fitness. Michael Emerson, SVP Preventice, contrasted the differences between medical devices and physical activity trackers, the biggest being that trackers aren’t regulated or reimbursed unlike medical devices. Michael also talked about remote monitoring, and what needs to be considered to have it done successfully, including – but not limited to – patient and physician. Next up was Proteus Digital Health’ Todd Thomson who first introduced their newest partner Oracle. Todd then went on to present on Proteus’ development of digital medicines, a platform linking the actual use of medication to physiologic response, and there are thousands of generic drugs ready to take advantage of this system. Shaun Rahimi from Thimble Bioelectronics followed with his presentation on the emotional approach Thimble takes on designing products and how digital health can manage pain.


Rob Royea from First Warning Systems then revealed the story behind their cancer detecting bra and explained how this could help thousands of women all over the world.


After a short break, the next session focused on Gamification, which applies game design techniques to non-game experiences, starting with Abe Carter, co-founder of Amiigo. Abe talked about the two types of feeling good: device good and data good. Moreover, he pointed out, that sustainable wearability can be achieved with a model of contextual layers, including health data, relevant recommendations, and adherence. KLEIN_SF-WT_352

Gernot Bahle, DFKI (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence) then presented their technology which is worn around the neck and can measure different parameters. Gernot also mentioned DFKI’s cooperation with 4DForce.. Next on stage was James Iliff from Project Holodeck who described the virtual reality work he does with the University of Southern California, and characterized the differences between virtual and augmented reality. James also noted how the gaming industry is ripe for changes, but games are only the first step. Last but not least, Andy Cheng, ViviTouch, showcased their stretchable electrode that creates 4D sound perception. Andy also highlighted the three strategies good sensors utilize: tactile/kinesthetic, visual, and auditory strategies.


The last morning session was held by Flextronics Lior Shtram who talked about wearable technologies as building blocks for future medical devices. Lior also introduced the SmartPatch initiative, Flextronics Medical technology initiative, which is working to mature new technologies to eventually provide their customers with a tool box for the creation of new products.


After a networking lunch break in which attendees also could watch the Americas Cup for a little bit, the conference continued with the Plug & Play Tech Center. Zarko Maletin from Plug & Play Ventures introduced Plug & Play its ecosystem, partners, and focus areas, as well as its acceleration program, and presented a few success stories. After this introduction, following Plug & Play start-ups presented: Lumoback, Mojo Mobility, Muzzley, OLEA Systems, and Secondbeat.


From Plug & Play, the conference then addressed augmenting the human body, focusing on seeing and hearing. Eric Dy presented IMEC’s idea of an augmented reality contact lens, which is made possible by recent progress in microsystems integration technologies and is in development with the University of Gent (Belgium). Although, in order to enable these for wearable devices, there have to be integrated ULP circuits and sensors, the number of chips used has to be reduced, and, with a smaller battery size and lower power budget, the device has to be a lot smaller. Tanya Vlach shared her very personal story and talked about her experience with her artificial eye and those of other one-eyes, and also shared her idea of enhancing her artificial eye. After that, David Fattal from HP Labs showcased a multiview backlight for mobile, glasses-free 3D displays, and what it utilizes. The project is called Leia and could be used for tomorrow’s smartphones. Concluding this session Amir Abolfathi, Sonitus Medical, gave an overview of delivery of sound for hearing and communication applications through bone conduction to treat single-sided deafness and conductive hearing loss. Compared to surgeries, bone conduction is safer, more effective, aesthetically pleasing, and less expensive (42% cheaper).


The last session of the second conference day, Enabling Lifestyle, started with a fun and impressive presentation, with Billie Whitehouse showcasing Fundawear “the future of foreplay”. Billie’s project belongs to the first wearables to actually allow personal touch to be transferred from a smartphone app to a partner’s underwear, and was realized in cooperation with Durex. But see yourself in the video below.

Luke Larson, from TASER International, focused on a more serious subject. He cited a recent study from Cambridge University which shows, if law enforcement officers wear video cameras, both use of force incidents and complaints against officers are drastically reduced. Luke then went on to describe how TASER design more comfortable on-officer cameras and the multiple mounting options. Following this, Silicon Valley star MisFit Wearables’ Sonny Vu presented on stage. Sonny talked about how wearables have not taken off yet – which he blames on the issue of creating an Ironman (wearable 1.0) versus an Invisible Man (wearable 2.0). Additionally he emphasized the importance of developing an engaging user interface, design something that can be worn anywhere and the consideration of manufacturing. After that, Simon Randall, OMG Life, presented on how autography empowers people to naturally capture and vividly interpret their lives and shared some very personal moments with the audience. The Autographer camera was launched the day before the conference. Christian Stammel concluded the conference with a short wrap-up session.


With a turnout of more than 300 people, the original Wearable Technologies Conference was a huge success and we are looking forward to the third edition of the conference next year. You can already mark the date in your calendars. We will be back in San Francisco July 7 and 8, 2014.