Wearables have become the new modern gadgets, and every company in tech is either making them or designing businesses around them, from Microsoft’s new health-focused Microsoft Band smartwatch to the Google Glass wearable eyepiece.
Intel showed the finalists from the 500 startups that entered its wearable contest. It gave its $500,000 prize to Nixie, the maker of a wearable — and flyable — wrist camera for rockclimbers and others on the go.
Nine finalists from around the world competed at the Intel Make It Wearable Challenge, which wrapped up with an event at the W Hotel in San Francisco. Intel launched the event at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
“All of these teams were great competitors,” said Brian Krzanich, chief executive of Intel, who spoke at the event. “All of them are going to be in the market as winners. The greatest thing about this was the diversity.”
The finalists included Snow Cookie, which measures a skier’s performance and helps the skier become better and safer on the slopes. It also lets you compete with friends on the slopes in a “gamified” experience.
The second presenter was BabyGuard, which helps you keep track of a fetus in the womb, measuring its heartbeat and other vital data about contractions or the baby’s activity. The idea is to help would-be moms to relax and enjoy every moment.
The third entrant was from Nixie (the winner), which makes a drone camera that can capture moments so you don’t have to. It rests on your wrist like a watch. But when you activate it, it will fly off and take a picture of you when your hands are occupied, like when you are climbing a mountain. Rock climbers are the first target, because they can’t easily shoot their athletic prowess in the moment.
A German company dubbed ProGlove (the third-place winner) has created a smart glove that workers can wear on a production line, and it helps improve quality by monitoring a worker’s movements. If a mistake is made, it can alert someone in real-time. The company is working with car maker BMW on its first product, which it dubs “human-centered production.” That’s the idea, of course, but it sounds like workers may not like the idea of close monitoring.
BabyBe also made a device for monitoring a baby, after the baby is born. You slide the padded device underneath a baby in an incubator or crib, and the device monitors the baby’s vitals.
Wristify is a stylish bracelet that provides heating or cooling on demand. It actively heats or cools your skin, to make you more comfortable. It also measures your temperature and adjusts the heating system around you to increase or decrease the temperature as needed.
First V1sion lets you see what a sports athlete, like San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner sees. It does so through a wearable camera that allows you to see the view from the athlete’s body.
Open Bionics (second place) wants to disrupt expensive prosthetics limbs by lowering the price from $100,000 to just $2,000. It does so using 3-D scanning and 3-D printing, which shortens the time it takes to scan and analyze a potential prosthetic limb from weeks to just two days.
Blocks is a wearable device with interchangeable parts, each with a different function (e.g., contactless payment, heart rate monitor, camera) Create the smartwatch or necklace of your choice by snapping the pieces you want together.
The last presenter was Arc Pendant, which makes a necklace that has vibration nodes that give you information that you can feel. It can, for instance, help you navigate by pulsing on the right side, to urge you to turn right. It works with your smartphone.
Of this group, the fan favorite award went to Blocks.