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What an inspiring conference!
Review of the Wearable Technologies Conference 2012 in Munich, 30.01.2012
Whilst promising concepts were presented and showed what will be possible in the near future it also became clear that technology has taken a giant step since the last conference and that a lot of real wearable products are available already today.
The conference started off with an inspiring Keynote by Paul Lukowicz from the German Institute of Artificial Intelligence whose answer to the question - "Has the Smartphone killed the Wearable?" - was a big NO. Instead he showed that the smartphone has made the general public ripe for wearable systems and gave an outlook on possible future scenarios and advice on the best ways to integrate technology.
Philips and the Gesis Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences presented emotion sensing concepts. The Philips armband is an easy to use tool for continuous emotional monitoring to enable self-awareness, self tracking and monitoring in order to facilitate behavior change. The monitoring device by the Gesis institute will help market researchers to interpret emotions of test subjects during for example product tests.
Two more to the consumer and lifestyle market targeted solutions were presented by Qualcomm and PFO. Qualcomm showed what possibilities are already out there to use augmented reality (AR) for smartphone applications and encouraged the audience to download a development kit themselves to develop their own AR app like the one in the AR Challenge from 2010 (http://youtu.be/JDN_ZN0XEow). PFO showed their stylish bodyguard bracelet and explained the challenges of creating a safety product for young independent women.
Diabetes was also a hot topic at the conference. Insulet showed their Omnipod system which consists of two wireless components instead of several more in conventional insulin pumps. On the one hand a tubing-free drug delivery pod that can deliver up to 200 units of insulin that easily can be attached to a body part hidden by clothing and a personal diabetes manager on the other hand. Pancreum showed how this visionary concept could look like in the future and presented a complete artificial pancreas system called Genesis. Roche gave an overview on their diabetes solutions and also outlined the importance of certification of medical products. BodyTel explained their complete telemedical solution for glucose, blood pressure and weight monitoring that works with a regular smartphone and is fully functioning and available for patients and health professionals.
Other health topics were covered by Quentiq and moticon. Quentiq presented their easy-to-use, wireless, secure and fun way of managing health both from a lifestyle, wellness and chronic disease perspective called the Quentiq health platform. Moticons mindful insole can be used as a personal trainer for skiers but also for therapy purposes by analyzing the gait.
The University of Wales Newport and Everon showed wearable projects for the ageing population. The University of Wales gave an insight into their research on the requirements of smart clothing for people above a certain age. Everon explained details on their armband that can give wearable freedom to Alzheimer patients and peace of mind for relatives.
Furthermore several innovative technology concepts were presented. The Fraunhofer IIS gave an overview on their activities in wearable sensors and wireless data transmission. AiQ showed their solutions of integrating different technology into clothing and still allow the wearer to wash their clothes. MC10 showed their amazing development: the electronic skin tattoo - electronics that are conformal and stretchable for the human body. Sensaris and SensingTex pointed out in a joined presentation the possibilities of wearable lighting and sensing solutions that could for example be controlled via the internet. IMEC gave really great inside into their project on garments with hidden thermoelectric energy harvesters.
Besides all the exciting presentations there was still room for networking and the press took the chance to interview some of the speakers in a relaxed atmosphere.
The speakers, participants and also the organizers enjoyed this conference so much that the plans for the next conference already take shape. More information will follow soon.
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