25 Jul Weekly Wearable Devices Roundup: Disease Control, Smart Clothes, Pokemon Go Plus, Coaching Platforms, Security Risks
1. XEED: Wearable Device For Hunting Down Parkinson’s
Alfredo Muniz and Sade Oba, an engineering duo, at the University of Pennsylvania are developing a wearable device that is aimed to aid detection of tremors with people who have Parkinson’s. Recently the duo began a startup called XEED for scaling up this project and acquire fundings. One of the engineers, Oba says that XEED is a company that’s focusing on improving physical therapy for those with Parkinson’s disease.
The device, also named XEED, has sensors and algorithms that track a person’s tremors in from the wrist or ankle, then records it in an accompanying app. A therapist can then use the information gathered to better track progress. All the collected data can help people with Parkinson’s figure out how to best manage the disease throughout the day.The data sets can also be used by the medical researchers in addition to helping the patients.Though still in the early stages, the project sounds promising and we’re looking forward to seeing more from the XEED team.
2. Smart Clothes: Is this the future?
Currently the wearable devices market is all focused on the wrist. Fitbit has the most sales in the wearable industry with its slew of fitness trackers, and the Apple Watch is surging up the sales leaderboards.
But is this the future? The tech pundits and startups don’t think so, many believe the wearable industry will connect everywhere from your head to your toes, using smart clothing. Smart clothing is in a similar spot to the Internet of Things at the moment. Clothes can now be embedded with sensors, connected to smartphones, and relay all types of information to the user about their fitness and health. Sensoria launched running socks that can track your runs better than a fitness tracker on the wrist. It has three pressure sensors embedded into the socks to track pace, distance, and time. Sensoria is able to analyse the data and give you tips on how to improve your runs and avoid injury. Athos goes a step further with full body smart clothes that can track what muscles are being worked the hardest in your workouts. This could be useful for people that want to work on a certain part of the body.
Wrist based wearables will likely remain the dominant wearable for a few years, but as we move to a more connected future, functionality should be condensed on the wrist and moved to other parts of the body.
3. Pokémon Go Plus: The hottest selling wearable
Pokémon Go, you must have heard about it, right? This is the latest Nintendo gaming craze that is seemingly taking over the world. And now Nintendo has revealed that orders for Pokémon Go Plus have sold out. The Nintendo Store, which is exclusively selling the wearable accessory, has the listing as ‘Temporarily Unavailable’.
Costing $34.99, the wearable that launches later this month, adds a new dimension to the game; notifying players when a Pokémon is in their vicinity. Shaped like a Pokéball, it pairs with a player’s smartphone using Bluetooth Low Energy.It vibrates and flashes when there’s a chance to catch a Pokémon and, with the push of a button on the top of the ball, players can throw a virtual Pokéball to capture a creature.
4. Coaching Platforms Augmented With Wearable Fitness Tracking
PEAR Sports and Mio Global have joined forces to help improve their fitness technology. PEAR’s personal training app will now work with Mio’s wrist-based heart rate monitoring band to help athletes at every level train more effectively.
The PEAR Sports app can now be synced with Mio’s FUSE band via Bluetooth and will allow users the ability to understand their workout progress. The PEAR Sports app provides users with real-time audio training updates and the Mio Fuse monitors a user’s heart rate.Mio FUSE aims to provide incredibly accurate heart rate monitoring and therefore have the wearable device help users train within the proper heart rate zone. As a result, PEAR Sports is now able to tap into this vital data, to help improve their real-time personal training programs.
Both companies have been branching out within the fitness tech community to help make their brands better and even more versatile for their consumers. The partnership between PEAR Sports and Mio Global seems poised to help provide athletes of all shapes and sizes an extremely comprehensive and fun way to train.
5. Vulnerability of Leaking Sensitive Information using Smartwatches, Fitness Trackers
According to security experts, wearable tech can leak sensitive information such as passwords and PIN numbers.The Internet of Things (IoT) poses increasing security threats related to the lack of expertise in the ways companies add connectivity to the new gadgets. The sensitivity of the connected sensors is also another security flaw that can open up potential attack backdoors for hackers.
A research conducted by a team from the department of electrical and computing engineering at the Binghamton University in New York State and Stevens Institute of Technology has found that wearable devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches could compromise a user’s PIN due to the motion sensing data generated. The research team combined an algorithm created to infer key entry sequences based on analyzing hand movements with wearable sensor data harvested from more than 5,000 key entry traces made by 20 adults. The researches have applied the technique to different types of keypads, including Qwerty and ATM style keypad variants. They were using three different wearables including a nine-axis motion-tracking device and smartwatches.
On the first attempt, the researchers were able to crack PINs with 80 percent accuracy and after three tries they reached more than 90 percent accuracy. This shows that a wearable device can be easily exploited by attackers in order to reproduce the trajectories of the user’s hand and recover the PINs, passwords and other secret key entries.
When a person inputs their PIN, the attack method would not even require a hacker to be nearby. A wireless sniffer placed close to a keypad to capture Bluetooth packets transmitted between a smartphone and the wearable device could easily steal the data packets. According to Network World, another method used by hackers to stole PINs and passwords could be installing malware installed on the wearable or smartphone in order to intercept the data and send it on to the attacker.