Weekly Wearable Devices Roundup: wearable tech database, evaluation using wearables, Jawbone falls, solar powered wearables, wearables with AI

1. Wearable Technology Database: Vandrico Solution and Deloitte joins hands

Vancouver-based Vandrico Solution and Deloitte have partnered to create a Wearable Technology Database with a goal of compiling a list of all “wearable products.” The database currently includes 442 devices from 306 companies, with specific categories in the head, neck, torso, chest, arm, wrist, hand, legs, and feet categories. The goal is to grow the database to 700 products by the end of 2016.

According to Gartner Research, the wearable space will generate revenues over $28 billion in 2016, representing an increase of 18.4 percent year-over-year. With the huge projected growth in the wearable sector, finally having a complete view of the wearable landscape may help consumers and corporate customers alike make more intelligent decisions of these new technologies.

2. Our Performance At Work soon might be evaluated by Wearable Technology

The market for wearable technology has steadily increased over the years. In 2015, just under 50 million wearable devices were shipped.  Additionally, the wearables market is expected to increase 35% by 2019. As the wearable technology trend increases, many companies are beginning to view wearables as a way to efficiently increase both employee health and productivity.

Many workplaces are looking beyond simply punching a timeclock. Some companies are actually attempting to create a more healthy workforce through “wellness programs.”  In furtherance of these programs, companies are starting to utilize wearable technology to better track employees’ activities. Typically, a company’s “wellness program” runs on a rewards-based system, giving employees financial incentives for completing certain healthy activities. These incentives can include anything from discounts on health insurance to free gym memberships. However, employees are not the only ones benefiting from “wellness programs.” Employers are also seeing the benefits from these programs in terms of lower costs for employee health insurance. As employers begin to see the economic benefits of using wearables in their “wellness programs,” wearable technology may be introduced into other aspects of an employee’s job.

However, similar to the “wellness programs,” using wearable technology to determine bonuses and promotions based on an employee’s productivity, may result in many legal issues.

3. Has Jawbone lost the ground?

Wearable devices manufacturer Jawbone recently tried to sell itself to a hardware manufacturing company. According to various media reports, Jawbone’s top executives have continually engaged in conversations with potential buyers, stressing the company’s financial obligations to investors. However,  media house Wareable has reported that some person very close to the company, reached out to them and said, “Jawbone is not actively seeking to sell the company.” The company has, since 1999, raised close to $900 million. Any discussion of an acquisition is apparently separate from Jawbone’s plans to sell off its speaker business, which Fortune reported.

Jawbone’s hunger to sell itself is evidence of how dire the situation has become for one of leading wearable tech companies in the industry. Competitor Fitbit has managed to increase sales of its fitness trackers even with Apple participating. Jawbone, on the other hand, has seen its relevance in the market wither with time, as it’s transitioned from bluetooth audio products to wrist-worn fitness bands. Many other wearable makers, including Misfit and Basis, have sold themselves to large tech or apparel companies, and even giants like Nike have gotten out of the wearable hardware business. Jawbone’s fate may be similar, but it’s running out of time.

4. Solar powered wearable devices.

Wearable technology may be set to drop conventional batteries and use solar cells instead. Research into a new type of tiny solar cell  from the technologists working at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, suggests that micro-sized solar cells can harness sufficient energy.

Although solar cells have advanced in recent years, their ability to capture sufficient energy for personal electronics has been hampered by size. With what represents a technological leap forward, the university team have successfully developed high-performance, micro-scale lateral solar cells. The research group fashioned cells that include a side-by-side array of miniature electrodes on top of transparent glass in order to achieve this goal.  In trials, the solar cells achieve a conversion efficiency of 5.2 percent. While this may not seem very high it is far higher when compared to 1.8 percent for other lateral cell designs.

The new cells have the potential to be used for wearable medical sensors, smartwatches, and innovative technology like auto-focusing contact lenses. In terms of future developments, it is hoped to increase the efficiency further by using alternative materials to improve conductivity.

5. Wearable technology with AI

Wearable devices are highly trending globally. Most of them do exactly the same thing, and that is to monitor your activity levels. Few of them offer better functionality. But when it comes to actual usage of the activity trackers, there has always been something missing here. The trackers do a good job tracking your activity, but after that what? All the data is getting stored, and you probably might be glancing it once or twice a day. When it comes to longer run, this data is not being used in a way it is supposed to be.

Boltt, a sports start-up company  is here to solve just the same problem. It claims to be bringing wearable & AI intelligence products that could change the face of global health. It is basically a wearable, coupled with an AI health coach which will help you get better with your fitness goals.The team has developed a Virtual Boltt Coach named “B”, personifying a trusted mentor. It will guide the users, on their journey to fitness and athleticism. “B” reads your Sleep, fitness, nutrition and activity data, stores them in one place; and gives meaningful insights and guidance, on how to live healthier.

 Boltt’s coaching mechanism includes more than just tracking of data. It offers real-time coaching and feedback based on how one is moving. So this is something to look forward to, and we will definitely give it a shot when it officially launches.