Wearable technology inventions are vying for cash and prizes that help them become products for the mainstream.
Editor’s note: Tune into the Make it Wearable final event livestream on Monday, November 3, starting at noon PDT.
The race to make the next wearable tech wonder has created strange bedfellows, as big brands from the fashion and technology world team up to design products beyond activity trackers. These big brands may be attracting the bulk of attention and interest, but one look at the prototypes competing in the Make It Wearable Challenge and you might be convinced that the next big breakthrough could come from a little-known inventor or startup turning a good idea into a functioning device.
Nixie, BabyBe, Open Bionics and Vumbl are just a few names, until now unknown to most of the world, that belong to wearable technology entrepreneurs hoping their prototype will win them enough cash and industry connections to hit the big time.
These innovators are pushing the envelope, creating everything from a wearable camera drone that captures awesome selfie videos to sensor-equipped items for pregnant mothers and parents of newborn babies.
Make it Wearable is a global initiative that was announced by Intel at CES 2014 to inspire new concepts, fuel innovation and evolve personal computing in exciting new ways. The challenge has welcomed anyone with ideas, including university and high school students, entrepreneurs, members of the maker community, engineers, technologists and visionary thinkers, to create new wearable technologies using Intel’s Edison technology.
Nixie is the first wearable camera that can fly. It’s worn on the body, and on your cue, Nixie unfolds and takes flight.
Nixie composes the perfect shot from an awesome perspective, capturing the moment without interrupting the moment.
BabyBe is a bionic mattress that keeps mothers and babies connected through the process of artificial incubation. Their creation is intended to help the more than 15 million babies born prematurely each year.
The device brings haptic information from the mother to the baby in real time, making the environment inside the incubator machine less stressing while giving the mother an active role in the care of her preterm infant.
With upcoming advances in materials and 3D printing, the next step will be to make a hand for under $100 to better serve developing countries across the world.
Babyguard is a product offering smart health care for newborns up to age 3 and a way for expecting mothers to track fetal movements.
The Babyguard is constructed of three parts: the outfit, the sensor unit and the mobile app. The outfit can vary from a bellyband worn by the mother to a little hat worn by the baby.
The coin-sized sensor unit embedded inside the specific outfit can sample electrophysiology signals, including fetal ECG, EMG and EEG.
By applying powerful algorithm in the app, Babyguard is able to provide information related to the health status of the fetus and infant in an understandable way.
Imagine if you could see what soccer great Lionel Messi sees. First V1sion is designed to share the player’s point of view by integrating a camera and transmission system in a sport-optimized T-shirt.
First V1sion, based in Barcelona, Spain, is a new broadcast system allowing the player’s point of view to be shown in sports, from basketball, football, tennis, athletics and many more.
First V1sion is a high-definition video system with a pulsometer and an accelerometer included.
Designed by a team based in the United Kingdom, this stylish, discrete sports and activity necklace monitors information from the human body through vibrations and relays this information back to its user through touch.
The aim of vumbl is to enable its wearer to remain fully informed of biorythmic information without distraction. By resting comfortably around the neck, the device can be controlled through touch, leaving eyes and ears free to focus on what’s happening in the immediate environment.
ProGlove is an advanced sensor-based wearable production tool for mass-production factory workers.
Its aim is to help professionals perform their tasks more ergonomically and efficiently by unifying multiple instruments into a glove.
The ProGlove would help optimize productivity and cut production costs.
Snowcookie helps you become a better skier/snowboarder. The personal electronics platform aims to add new dimensions to snow sports by enhancing user safety, improving technique and connecting the ski and snowboard crowd.
Snowcookie, combined with a smartphone, dynamically assess a user’s physiology and kinetics and augments it with crowdsourced environment information.
The Wristify band provides natural refreshing cool or soothing warmth on demand, allowing wearers to relax and refresh anytime.
By developing the Wristify band using an Intel Edison system on a chip, Wristify aims to lay the foundation for an immersive experience that responds to, adapts to and communicates with the wearer throughout their day.
Blocks is an open hardware and software platform for wearable technology based on the concept of modularity, allowing people to replace or upgrade capabilities at will. Each block of your smart wearable band can be a sensor, a display, a processor or a battery.
You get to choose the different blocks that you need based on the functions and the looks that you like, and snap them together to make a wearable band that is unique to you.
With an open platform, any company or individual will be given access to develop apps or even build their own blocks.
Users can upgrade their blocks over time and can keep up with the latest tech without the need to replace their whole smart watch.
Finalists of the Make It Wearable Development Track will present to a renowned panel of judges at an event in San Francisco on November 3, 2014 at the W Hotel.
As finalists, each will receive $50,000 and intensive mentoring from leaders of various industries, including Guy Kawasaki, chief evangelist of Canva, and serial entrepreneur and author Steve Blank to refine their projects and help get their ideas off the ground.
They will ultimately attend the Make It Wearable final presentation and gala event where the grand prize winner will receive $500,000. The second and third place winners will receive $200,000 and $100,000, respectively.