Category Archives: Wearable Technology

Kiroco Manufactures Patented Wearable Tech for Medical Sector

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Kiroco Technology have signed an agreement with Bristol based company Tap2Tag to produce exclusive NFC wearables that have the potential to save lives.

Tap2Tag is leading the field in medical wearables producing a medical alert device that is designed to help first-responders and paramedics gain instant access to critical medical information in an emergency.

Kiroco Technology have designed and manufactured an exclusive NFC bracelet that Tap2Tag are now selling worldwide.

Chris Ford of Tap2Tag said “We approached Kiroco Technology as whilst we offer silicone bracelets to our customers we were looking for a more elegant piece of jewellery that people would want to wear whether just out and about or at a formal event. Also with Kiroco having the relevant patents we knew that we were working with the right people’.

Of the design and manufacture, Fiona Cartwright of Kiroco Technology said “Our design had to encompass a unisex market, be durable to withstand being worn 24/7 and have a versatile fit for varying wrist sizes.   Continuing Fiona said “Working with Chris in the medical sector highlights the importance that wearables can have in our lives and we are glad to be working together.”

Having previously appeared on Dragon’s Den, without gaining any backing, Chris has now signed up distribution in a number of countries including Canada, Australia and South Africa and will be looking to provide a choice of more elegant jewellery styles to the market place in the coming months.

Source: Kiroko Technology

Samsung Addresses a Growing Mobile Health Market with Industry’s First Smart Bio-Processor

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Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced that it is addressing the growing trend of quantified health with an all-in-one advanced system logic chip for the health-oriented wearables market, the Bio-Processor. The Samsung Bio-Processor, now in mass production, is specifically designed to allow accelerated development of innovative wearable products for consumers who are increasingly monitoring their health and fitness on a daily basis. 

“With improvements in smart, fitness devices and an increase in consumer health consciousness, more and more people are looking for ways to monitor various personal bio-data, or fitness data, to constantly manage their health” said Ben K. Hur, Vice President of marketing, System LSI business at Samsung Electronics. “Samsung’s Bio-Processor, which can process five different biometric signals, is the most versatile health and fitness monitoring chip available on the market today and is expected to open up many new health-based service options for our customers.”

Samsung Bio-Processor: Small in size; Big on Versatility

Samsung’s Bio-Processor is the industry’s first all-in-one health solution chip. By integrating not only Analog Front Ends (AFE), but also microcontroller unit (MCU), power management integrated circuit (PMIC), digital signal processor (DSP), and eFlash memory, it is able to process the bio-signals it measures without the need of external processing parts. Even with its integrated design, the Bio-Processor is particularly innovative thanks to its incredibly small size. When compared to the total area of the discrete parts, the Bio-Processor is only about one fourth of the total combined size, which is ideal for small wearable devices, offering a bounty of options when designing new devices. 

While heart rate monitoring alone may have been compelling in the past, the ability to measure a variety of fitness data is expected in today’s wearable products. To meet such demands, Samsung has designed its Bio-Processor to integrate five AFEs including bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), photoplethysmogram (PPG), electrocardiogram (ECG), skin temperature, and galvanic skin response (GSR) into a single chip solution that measures body fat, and skeletal muscle mass, heart rate, heart rhythm, skin temperature and stress level, respectively. In addition, combinations of these fitness inputs can be considered for a variety of new use cases. 

To speed product development and better understand Samsung’s new Bio-Processor, several wearable reference platforms are now available to demonstrate various use cases. For example, wrist band, board and patch type reference devices exhibit the Bio-Processor’s potential by demonstrating its ability to measure multiple fitness variables on an extremely small device. 

Samsung Bio-Processor is currently in mass production and will be available in fitness/health devices within the first half of 2016.

Source: Samsung Electronics

First ‘Smart Dress’ that uses environmental data to predict the wearer’s emotions revealed by Telefónica R&D

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  • The ‘Environment Dress’ is the winner of “Next Things 2015 – Behaviour”, the Fourth Global
    Art and Technology Challenge, presented by Telefónica R&D and LABoral Centre for Art and
    Industrial Creation
  • The dress was awarded for linking art, design and style with Internet of Things and machine
    learning technology

Telefónica R&D has announced the first ‘Smart Dress’
prototype that can accurately capture information about surrounding elements and analyse how it affects people’s emotions.

The ‘Environment Dress’ collects a wide set of data, including temperature, infra-red and
ultraviolet radiation, carbon monoxide and noise, then determines what environmental and
behavioural patterns the wearer is experiencing. The dress then alerts the wearer of the
potentially elevated presence of external agents.

The wearable, created with open source hardware and software, is the winning project from “Next Things 2015 – Behaviour”, the Fourth Global Art and Technology Challenge, presented by
Telefónica R&D and the LABoral Centre for Art and Industrial Creation. The challenge sets out to
foster cross-discipline collaboration between the artistic, creative and technology communities.

In the near future the ‘Environment Dress’ is expected to geo-locate and share data with users
online for global accessibility. The creators are also working on a mobile application that will allow wearers to manage and personalise their parameters (lights, alarm systems, etc.).

The dress will also be able to indicate how the user is feeling at any given moment. Through
machine learning it will continuously learn from the measurements it takes and associate those
with the wearer’s emotions and moods. This means that in the future, the dress may be able to
predict certain moods and associate them with changes occurring in the wearer’s environment
such as changes in atmospheric pressure or increased noise.

Source:.Telefonica

Bitwalking dollars: Digital currency pays people to walk

 Bitwalking, earn money while you walk.

Tokyo street crossing with many people walking
Image caption Japan is one of four nations which include the UK where Bitwalking will be initially launched

A digital crypto-currency has launched that is generated by human movement.

Bitwalking dollars will be earned by walking, unlike other digital currencies such as Bitcoins that are “mined” by computers.

A phone application counts and verifies users’ steps, with walkers earning approximately 1 BW$ for about 10,000 steps (about five miles).

Initially, users will be given the chance to spend what they earn in an online store, or trade them for cash.

The founders of the project, Nissan Bahar and Franky Imbesi have attracted more than $10m (£6.6m) of initial funding from mainly Japanese investors to help launch the currency and create the bank that verifies steps and any transfers.

Image copyright MURATAThe robot dolls from Murata
Image caption Robots made by Murata which will also make a wristband that will verify users’ steps

Japanese electronics giant Murata is working on a wearable wristband that will provide an alternative to carrying a smartphone and show how many BW$ the wearer has earned.

Shoe manufacturers are poised to accept the currency, and a UK high street bank is in talks to partner with the project at one of the UK’s biggest music festivals next year.

The founders have a track record in disruptive technology that could help developing nations as much as richer ones.

Last year they launched Keepod, a $7 USB stick that acts like a computer in Nairobi, Kenya.

A Keepod USB stickImage copyright KEEPOD
Image caption The Keepod $7 USB stick that acts like a computer is now in 87 countries.

Fitness boost

The idea of Bitwalking is to take advantage of the trend for fitness trackers by offering an additional incentive to keep fit.

The global scheme plans to partner with sportswear brands, health services, health insurance firms, environmental groups, and potentially advertisers who could be offered unique insights into the audiences they are targeting.

In the future, employers may be invited to take part in a scheme that would be offered to their employees to encourage them to stay fitter, with the currency they earn converted and then paid alongside their salaries.

In developed nations the average person would earn around 15 BW$ a month, but it is hoped that in poorer countries where people have to walk further for work, school, or simply to collect water, the Bitwalking scheme could help transform lives.

Walkers in Malawi
Image caption Malawi and Kenya are the first two African nations included in the Bitwalking project at launch

Double income

Salim Adam walks around six miles (10km) a day to work as an IT teacher at his local college in Mthuntama in northern Malawi.

He has worked out that he can earn 26 BW$ a month just by having the app running on his mobile phone. His current salary is the equivalent of $26 USD.

The impact Bitwalking could make in developing countries isn’t lost on the founders. It is one of the central reasons for creating the currency. In Malawi, one of the African nations to join at the launch of the project, the average rural wage is just US$1.5 (£1) a day.

Business advisor, Karen Chinkwita runs Jubilee Enterprises, giving business guidance to young people in Lilongwe. She said: “There may be a temptation for some to walk instead of work.

“But most people want to earn more money and will do both. With some education we can teach them how to use that money to create even more opportunities.”

The Bitwalking manager for Malawi, Carl Meyer, has set up the first two Bitwalking hubs in Lilongwe and Mthuntama where local people will be trained how to trade the BW$ online for US$ or the local currency, Malawi Kwacha.

Eventually an automatic online exchange is planned that will match up buyers with sellers and a rough exchange rate will begin to emerge.

The Go! app for iOS and Android devices will initially be offered to a handful of countries, including the UK, Japan, Malawi, and Kenya, to give the organisers a chance to iron out any difficulties before other countries come on board.

The bitwalking app
Image caption The Bitwalking app shows the steps taken and how much the user has earned

Faking it

The idea isn’t completely new. Several start-ups have tried to connect keeping fit to earning rewards but most have failed to measure movement accurately enough to avoid scammers.

Bitwalking hasn’t officially released the algorithm used to verify steps but says it uses the handsets’ GPS position and wi-fi connections to calculate the distance travelled.

The team has created its own walking algorithm to verify users’ workouts after testing Google’s and finding that steps could be spoofed.

The phone reports the speed and type of movement as measured by the accelerometer.

At its launch the total amount someone can claim in one day will be capped at around 3 BW$ (roughly 30,000 steps) and running multiple accounts will be banned.

Sustainability

The success of the scheme is likely to depend on how much interest there is from established companies such as big sportswear brands, health insurance firms, or charity and environmental groups all of whom have an incentive to work with the fitness sector.

In Japan, it is not unusual for firms to offer employees rewards for fitness activities. Bitwalking’s founders hope their project could help extend this idea to other nations.

The country’s largest convenience chain store, Lawson, runs a successful scheme that pays its workers up to $50 a year to eat healthily and keep fit.

The Ponta card
Image caption Gold card: Lawson’s ‘Ponta’ card rewards staff for staying fit with cash to spend in store

But the Lawson scheme is based on promises and trust, so unlike Bitwalking it is not verifiable. The vouchers earned cannot be traded for cash.

Despite the freedom to trade, it is likely that unless BW$ can be freely used to buy goods and services they are likely to drop in value from parity with the US$ – the point where the founders are launching it.

The online store will sell goods for the same price in BW$ as US$.

Keeping the virtual shelves of this online store fully stocked will be one of the first challenges.

The shop isn’t expected to be open all the time, but plans are in place for other retailers and service providers to accept the currency in their stores too.

Bitwalking marketplaceImage copyright BITWALKING
Image caption The online marketplace where users can spend what they earn on goods.

It is still not clear how a currency that appears to be so easy for users to produce could maintain its value, nor if the initial funding for the scheme will be sufficient to sustain it in the initial period while confidence in its value is being built up.

The Bitwalking website will invite people to apply to join the scheme so the company has some control over user numbers.

Privacy steps

Because the new scheme necessarily tracks its users there will be data available that could be particularly valuable to advertisers – and accompanying concerns over privacy.

“That won’t be for sale,” says co-founder Nissan Bahar.

“We may explore offering advertisers the opportunity to focus on different groups depending on how active they are, but we won’t pass on any information relating to individual’s movements.”

Nissan Bahar and Franky Imbesi
Image caption The Bitwalking founders are interviewed for the BBC Click television show

Transfers of the new currency will also be carefully monitored with transactions going through a central ‘bank’ which verifies each deal using the block chain method used to transfer other crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin.

Users will have access to their own wallet which stores the dollars they’ve earned and will be able to transfer them to others via the app.

“It’s a currency that can be earned by anyone regardless of who they are and where they live,” says Franky Imbesi.

“For some it will be a free cup of coffee a week perhaps offered by local businesses to encourage people to explore their local shops. For others it could be a game changer, transforming their lives by enabling them to earn and trade in the same way with the rest of the world.

“And all while encouraging us to protect the planet and stay healthy.”

Source: Dan Simmons BBC Technology

MasterCard Launches New Program that can Turn any Consumer Gadget, Accessory or Wearable into a Payment Device

 

Famed Designer Adam Selman, Capital One, GM, Nymi, Qualcomm, Ringly and TrackR Among First to Join

MasterCard will showcase prototypes with launch partners at Money 20/20

MasterCard today introduced a new program that will bring MasterCard payments to a wide array of consumer products across the automotive, fashion, technology, wearables, and yet to be imagined categories. The program gives consumers the freedom to shop using the device or thing that is most convenient to them, with the highest level of security available.

The program will launch with the support of several marquee partners across multiple verticals to fit every lifestyle need. Designer to the stars Adam Selman, automaker General Motors, wearable technology innovator Nymi, smart jewelry company Ringly, and Bluetooth locator TrackR are among the prominent consumer brands enabling their products through the program.

Exclusive designs from Adam Selman and prototypes from GM (key fob), Nymi (wristband) and Ringly (ring), will be on display at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas this week and are showcased in this video.

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) – the hyper-connected world where every device from the phone to the washing machine will be connected to the Internet – is transforming the way consumers interact and transact. According to Cisco, there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. MasterCard is establishing the program as the foundation to enable payments for IoT.

The program is an extension of the MasterCard Digital Enablement Service (MDES) and the Digital Enablement Express (Express) program, and brings to fruition the vision that every device will be a commerce device. Through MDES and Express, any accessory, wearable or device can be payment-enabled and quickly scaled to millions of MasterCard accounts.

“As more and more ‘things’ become connected, consumers will have endless possibilities when it comes to how they pay, and will need all of their devices to work seamlessly together,” said Ed McLaughlin, Chief Emerging Payments Officer at MasterCard. “This program eliminates the boundaries of how we pay by delivering a secure digital payment experience to virtually anything – rings, fitness and smart bands, car key fobs, apparel, and whatever comes along next.”

MasterCard partners with designer Adam Selman to design the next generation of payment wearables. The payment-enabled dress and accessories are modeled by Kelly Rohrbach.

Technology and Issuer Partners 

As part of the program, MasterCard worked with NXP and Qualcomm Incorporated to develop technology that makes it simple to enable secure payments on virtually any device or accessory.

Capital One is the first issuer to embrace the program and will leverage Express, enabling them to expand to a whole new category of devices. The Capital One Wallet will authenticate the users to provide strong security for provisioning and managing tokens. It also includes enhanced real time transaction notifications identifying the device used in each transaction. Capital One is one of many issuers with tens of millions of MasterCard credit and debit accounts already participating in MDES.

The launch of the program puts in place a standard for expanding secure contactless and embedded payment options globally. Products will begin rolling out in 2016 in the U.S., with plans to expand to other markets. 

About MasterCard
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), http://www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Partner Quote Sheet

Read why our launch partners – including Adam Selman, Capital One, General Motors, NXP, Nymi, Qualcomm, Ringly, and TrackR — support our program to enable any device to make payments.

Adam Selman, fashion designer:

“Technology is vital to the fashion industry, from textiles, printing techniques, and innovations in garments, it keeps fashion changing and evolving. Usually technology’s role in fashion is behind the scenes. What sets the MasterCard program apart is that it features the technology, while still remaining invisible, yet interactive and totally functional with the wearer. It’s exciting to be part of a project that is creating something new and fresh. At the end of the day, that’s what fashion is all about.”

Tom Poole, managing vice president, Digital Payments at Capital One:

“We are always looking for new ways to enhance the consumer payment experience, by offering tools and pioneering technologies focused on ecommerce and mobile accessibility. We are excited about the potential this new initiative and other new payment options hold as we work to offer more choices to help make our customers’ lives easier.”

Tom Grekowicz, senior manager, GM Rewards Card:

“Vehicles are becoming more connected and this will enable our customers to maximize their connections to all aspects of their lives, including new and easier ways to pay for goods and services. This partnership with MasterCard will help us learn more about our customers’ preferences and how we can best serve them.”

Jeff Miles, vice president of Payments at NXP:

“By integrating our loader service into MasterCard’s ecosystem, we’re providing OEMs with a simple method to quickly deploy secure payments in new mobile and wearable devices. Just as mobile payments have removed the traditional barriers in commerce for consumers, this partnership will remove barriers for OEMs, making it far easier to rapidly deploy new technologies with secure payment capabilities.”

Karl Martin, founder and CTO of NymiTM

“MasterCard’s initiative is a natural fit with Nymi’s vision of seamless and secure user experiences. Commerce is no longer restricted to stores, whether they be brick and mortar or online. The Nymi Band offers a new interface for secure authentication that can be applied to a broad range of experiences, enabling commerce anytime, anywhere. The next generation of integrated experiences is about ease and delight, where security can simply be assumed.”

Dr. Conroy Cormac, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated:

“The digital payments space is in the midst of a dramatic transition in the industry. We are delighted to be working with MasterCard to accelerate this transition across mobile, automotive, and IoE platforms and bring end-to-end connectivity for issuers, retailers, and service providers. We are collaborating to bring MasterCard Tokens across a range of smart wearable devices based on Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets and technologies.”

Christina Mercando d’Avignon, founder and CEO of Ringly:

“We created Ringly to keep women connected to the people, messages and notifications that are important to them. Through our partnership with MasterCard, Ringly will not only be able to keep people connected, but will provide another layer to how our customers can use their jewelry while on the go. Our mission is to make women’s lives more manageable through beautiful jewelry and discreet technology.”

Christian Smith, president and founder, TrackR:

“Our goal with TrackR is effortless organization. This is another example of how TrackR can simplify daily tasks, whether it’s finding your misplaced keys or paying for your coffee.”

Source: Mastercard

How digital will transform the future of healthcare

The health-care industry has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Research and development have given us astonishing new treatments, powerful diagnostics, and a rapidly growing wealth of knowledge. Medical specializations and providers have proliferated. Governments and insurers have become powerful players. And the patient has become a vocal and proactive consumer, ready to search for better options, even if that means going abroad.

But, even as healthcare has become more effective, it has also become more complex and costly. Growing and aging populations are putting increased pressure on health-care systems that are already buckling under the burden of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes. The Institute of Medicine estimates that in the United States alone, some $750 billion a year – about 30% of total health-care spending – is “wasted on unnecessary services, excessive administrative costs, fraud, and other problems.” If we are to ensure that health care remains affordable and widely available for future generations, we need to rethink radically how we provide and manage it.

Crucially, healthcare needs to become connected. It should become effortless for medical professionals to share relevant data with colleagues around the world. Medical devices and systems in hospitals should be able to combine multiple sources of information. A new generation of consumer technology, such as wearable health sensors, could automatically alert doctors to potential medical problems before they become acute episodes. Though such innovations must confront challenges like system interoperability and the need to protect patients’ privacy, the Internet’s integration into the travel and banking industries shows what is possible.

Connected healthcare is slowly becoming a reality. Philips, for example, has developed a technology that allows doctors to digitally share medical data from a prostate cancer biopsy with colleagues around the world. In the past, the biopsy could be shared only physically, which made diagnosing the exact type of prostate cancer difficult. As a result, surgeons and patients may have opted for invasive surgery just to be safe. Now, teams of doctors worldwide have an additional tool to work together towards more accurate diagnoses and enhanced treatment plans for individual patients.

Wearable devices, life-saving data

The entire patient experience will be transformed, with better prevention, quicker diagnoses, shorter hospital stays, and longer independent living becoming the norm. If patients return to the hospital, they will bring useful data, captured by wearable devices, about the evolution of their vital signs. They can continue to track themselves as their treatments progress, and their data can be integrated with medical records to provide a long-term view of their health, rather than an episodic snapshot of the day they visit a doctor. With access to professional coaching and support around the clock, patients will feel more empowered to manage their own physical wellbeing.

Connected healthcare can also provide access to life-saving treatment to more people, particularly in developing countries and rural areas. In Indonesia, which has one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates, midwives in the rural area of Medan collect medical data from pregnant women using a mobile app. The data are analyzed by obstetricians and gynecologists elsewhere, allowing women at high risk of illness to be identified and treated early. In Uganda, midwives in village health centers send compressed ultrasound scans to remote specialists, nearly doubling the number of newborns that can be delivered by a skilled health worker.

More broadly, connected health technology will cause professional health care and consumer markets to converge. This will create a continuum that starts with a focus on healthy living and prevention, empowers consumers to take control of their own health, and enables countries to improve their citizens’ overall wellbeing. The continuum will then move on to definitive diagnostics and minimally invasive treatments, optimized for quality and cost, and, finally, to recovery and home care, shifting medical care as soon as possible to more comfortable and cost-effective non-hospital settings.

Governments, insurers, medical professionals, patients, and caregivers need to work together to ensure that the transition to this health continuum is well managed, so that access can be expanded, outcomes can be improved, and productivity can be enhanced. Together, we have the opportunity to improve the lives of billions of people, create healthier societies, save costs, and boost economic growth.

This article is published in collaboration with Project Syndicate. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

Author: Frans van Houten is Chief Executive Officer of Royal Philips.

Mediadate teams up with Garmin to optimize clinical trials through mobile health technology

vívofit Activity Tracker Integrated with Medidata Clinical Cloud to Enable Enhanced Patient Engagement, Data Quality and Operational Efficiencies in Clinical Trials.Medidata Teams Up with Garmin to Optimize Clinical Trials through Mobile Health Technology

Medidata, the leading global provider of cloud-based solutions for clinical research in life sciences, today announced a strategic collaboration with Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. By integrating Garmin’s vívofit activity tracker with the Medidata Clinical Cloud®, Medidata is enabling its life sciences customers to make use of mobile health (mHealth) devices with the potential to enhance patient engagement, data quality and operational efficiencies in clinical trials.

Designed to be worn on a person’s wrist 24/7, Garmin’s vívofit measures steps taken, distance, calories burned and hours slept. The water-resistant device—which displays fitness data through its always-on LCD display—is being used by Medidata to capture patient data in clinical trials. The company selected the vívofit because of the ease of use provided by its year-long battery life, which can improve the convenience and speed associated with capturing direct-from-patient data and, as such, has the potential to increase compliance among study participants in a clinical trial setting.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Garmin, a company that shares our passion for innovation and our commitment to enhancing people’s health and well being,” said Glen de Vries, Medidata’s president.

“Integrating the vívofit with the Medidata platform is part of our ongoing efforts to unify mHealth devices with cloud-based technologies in a clinical trial setting. We believe these efforts will result in better data, enhanced patient experiences and more efficient trials.”

Medidata has built cloud-based infrastructure that enables life sciences companies to explore the use of mHealth technologies in clinical research. This infrastructure gathers data from devices worn by patients and integrates it with other traditional clinical data, including labs, vital signs, medical history and adverse events. In doing so, the infrastructure provides life sciences companies with the ability to conduct sophisticated analysis on trial performance. Medidata is currently working with top life sciences organizations to explore the feasibility of using the vívofit in clinical trials. The data is pulled from the Garmin activity tracker in 15-minute increments and then analyzed to evaluate its connection with traditional clinical measures and determine whether it can provide better insight into patient health status or response to therapy.

“At Garmin, our mission is to develop innovative technology that promotes healthy and active lifestyles,” said Allison Swelin, Strategic Partnership Development Manager at Garmin International. “We’re excited to see Medidata use the vívofit in their pursuit to help the global life sciences industry find better, easier ways to collect data directly from patients.”

Source: Garmin/Mediadata