Issue 52, July 2014
bulletWearable Technology
bulletMetaio's Thermal Touch Turns Any Surface Into a Touch Screen
bulletInnovation: OpenGo - World's First Fully Integrated Sensor Insole
bulletRainbow Warriors - A Wearable Tech Fashion Line for Children
bulletDesign Research Lab Develops Communication and Translation Device for Deaf-Blind Users
bulletInterview with Christian Stammel - Founder and CEO of Wearable Technologies AG
Wearable Technology 

Wearables are the next wave of devices driving innovation in the consumer electronics industry, especially as the smartphone and tablet markets begin to slow. Estimates indicate that the number of wearable devices in use will increase from nearly 22 million in 2013 to almost 177 million by 2018.


What does a wearable device look like? This futuristic fashionware worn on or in the body typically consists of three components: sensors, displays, and computing architecture. From wristbands and smart watches to gloves, helmets, and glasses, wearables take on many shapes and sizes. Regardless of appearance, however, the technology's primary goal remains to "enable users to take real-world actions by providing relevant, contextual information precisely at the point of decision-making." 


The much discussed Google Glass, for example, enables users to ask questions, get directions, snap photos, shoot videos, and even send messages via an optical head-mounted display. The Nike Fitbit Flex wristband, on the other hand, helps individuals reach their fitness goals by tracking step count, distance traveled, and calories burned. The Adidas miCoach Smart Run Watch similarly acts as a personal trainer by providing highly accurate heart-monitoring data in addition to tracking user performance and progress via GPS. 


As circuits and chips get smaller and wearables become more affordable and mainstream, the technology will continue to expand into other domains - beyond just the fitness and medical industries. Looking ahead, the field is expected to undergo a paradigm shift - moving away from individuals interacting with the technology to the technology itself interacting directly with people. To continue in this direction and to gain widespread popularity in the meantime, wearables not only need to be functional and innovative - they also have to be something that people want to wear. 



Source: Jack Dashwood, U.S. PR Manager, Metaio

The future of mobile computing is wearable devices. Smart glasses, for example, represent great opportunities for Augmented Reality (AR) - the concept of stitching digital information seamlessly into our real world. Despite ambitious engineering efforts seen in devices like Google Glass, challenges still remain for wearable computing.

"Everyone is talking about wearable computing eyewear like Google Glass," said Metaio CTO Peter Meier, "but no one is talking about the best way to actually use those devices." By moving the screen to our glasses, we lose the interactive touch elements that we are accustomed to having on other smart devices, such as phones and tablets.

Metaio, a German technology company that has focused on innovation for over a decade, assumed this challenge and came up with a novel solution. Why not take interaction back into the real world? Touch screens are great, but how about making your entire world a touch screen?

By combining an infrared camera with Metaio's award-winning, computer vision technology, this Augmented Reality solutions company successfully created a system that registers a user's touch on virtually any surface. Thermal imprints, or small changes in temperature that occur when a user's finger touches a surface, can now be recognized as interaction by a smart device.

When can consumers look forward to seeing technology like this integrated into everyday devices? Metaio predicts that a commercial product is approximately five years away, but with working prototypes already undergoing testing, the future looks bright (and warm). 

To watch a video about Thermal Touch, click here. To learn more, visit   
Image: �  Metaio




The Munich-based company Moticon has developed the world's first fully integrated, wireless, consumer-enabled, and cost-effective sensor insole for plantar pressure distribution measurement. This intelligent insole called "OpenGo Therapist" is equipped with sensors that measure a patient's or athlete's weight distribution and motion, providing data for gait training and overload prevention. The thin, flexible insole also measures balance, foot temperature, and acceleration, data that is then transmitted wirelessly to a mobile device. 

From impact analysis after leg surgery to the optimization of a professional athlete's motion sequence, Moticon's intelligent insole offers many potential applications in sports and medicine. Measuring a patient's plantar distribution of pressure, for example, is a standard procedure in orthopedic care as well as in the rehabilitation of the musculoskeletal system. The OpenGo sensor insole can also be used as a personal trainer in a variety of sports where technique and performance are significantly based on the correct distribution of pressure and load. As the insole is easy to use and provides immediate feedback, the system helps athletes optimize their techniques. The common motions used while skiing or playing golf, for example, can be analyzed in real time and then transmitted to the user as acoustic signals via headphones.

The OpenGo insole is equipped with 13 unique, capacitive pressure sensors as well as a 3D acceleration sensor and temperature sensor. An integrated storage unit in the insole records the collected data, which can also be directly transmitted via the ANT enabled USB flash drive.

The OpenGo Therapist by Moticon was the Overall Winner of the Wearable Technologies Innovation World Cup 13/14 in Munich earlier this year as well as the winner in the competition's Healthcare & Wellness category.

To see past winners in the WT Innovation World Cup's Hall of Fame, click here. For step-by-step tutorials on the OpenGo system, click here.   


Source & Image: � Moticon GmbH




Source: Esther Zahn
What is children's fashion and how do kids connect with it? What would children's clothing look like if kids could dream it up themselves? Berlin-based fashion designer Esther Zahn, a graduate of the Berlin Weissensee School of Art (Wei�ensee Kunsthochschule Berlin), created the children's fashion line "Rainbow Warriors" as part of a final project to address these questions. Her line integrates micro-electronics into textiles to inspire children to explore the science behind their clothing.

While working at her academy's e-lab, Zahn became familiar with different sensor- and micro-electronic technologies, which she utilizes in her collection. In the textiles she develops, Zahn connects form and functionality, artful design, and high-level technology. Merging technology and sustainability, playing and learning, and safety and design, Zahn designs clothing to support children in their quest to discover the world.

Zahn has developed textiles made of mohair with LEDs woven into the wool - lights that are invisible until lit. These lights are integrated into a child's winter jacket, for example, which will illuminate his or her path home on a dark night.

Zahn has also designed a sound dress that can be activated via a computer or smart phone. Six sensors, each which are connected to a different sound, can be individually activated when touched. The sensors process the information via a microcontroller and send it to an app that translates the information into music. This sound dress can activate different sounds, beats and melodies; it is like an electronic musical instrument that children can use to combine rhythms and melodies of their own choosing.

In her work, Zahn integrates wearable technologies in very subtle ways. It is important to her that the technologies neither dominate the design nor compromise the garment's wearability. Zahn's designs have been recognized at both the national and international levels. They are on display at the Bauhaus Dessau and Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum in Germany as well as in Dubai and London.

Zahn resides in Berlin where she is currently working on the official launch of her label "Rainbow Warriors." For more information, visit: 

Image: � Kristen Becken


Marginalized communities like deaf-blind people are excluded from several forms of communication. With the "Lorm Glove," the Design Research Lab at the Berlin University of the Arts has introduced a novel system of interaction to support these individuals. The mobile communication device translates the hand-touch alphabet Lorm, a common form of communication used by people with both hearing and sight impairment, into text and vice versa. It enables deaf-blind users to compose messages via the pressure-sensitive palm of the glove. These messages are then transmitted as texts to the receiver's handheld device. In return, vibrotactile feedback patterns allow the deaf-blind wearer to perceive incoming messages.

The Lorm Glove simultaneously functions as a translator and makes communicating with others without knowledge of "Lorm" possible. It provides two particularly innovative ways of communication for deaf-blind people: by supporting long-distance mobile communication, e.g. via text message, SMS, chat, or e-mail, and by enabling one-to-many communication, which is especially helpful in school and other learning environments. Furthermore, it allows users to access all kinds of digital information, such as websites, Word documents, and audio books through vibration. As a result, the Lorm Glove empowers deaf-blind people to engage with a wider social world, which further enhances their independence.

In addition to the glove, the team, led by Tom Bieling and Tiago Martins, recently started developing the "Lorm Hand," an innovation that connects deaf-blind people with Twitter and other social networks. An application recognizes the Lorm gestures through sensor data, displays the resulting message on a screen (which is helpful for non-deaf-blind users), and posts these messages to the @LormHand Twitter account.

The Lorm Hand was originally devised as a public installation for a deaf-blind protest march in Berlin. The device would allow deaf-blind individuals acquainted with the Lorm alphabet to post their thoughts on Twitter, where they might potentially reach many others around the world, and in so doing, raise awareness about the feelings of isolation that often accompany the life of the deaf-blind.

For a video about the Lorm Glove, click here.To learn more about the Lorm Hand, click here and here.  


Source & Image: � Design Research Lab, UdK Berlin


Christian Stammel is a visionary entrepreneur with broad technology know-how. As Founder and CEO of Wearable Technologies AG, the leading B2B platform for technologies worn close to, on, or even in the body, Christian Stammel is a pioneer in new technology fields, bringing to the table more than 20 years of experience in business development, sales and retail, and tech marketing.

In his interview with GCRI, Christian Stammel describes when and how he got involved with wearable technology as well as what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in the field. He also shares how Germany compares to other countries in the industry and how WT will affect our everyday lives over the next decade. To read the full interview, click here.

By the mid 1990's, Christian Stammel had already founded his first successful ICT company with customers such as GE, Sun Microsystems, and Deutsche Telekom. From 2003 to 2009, he supported the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in business development, helping more than 100 companies successfully enter the satellite navigation industry. At the same time, he also founded Navispace AG, serving customers like Ericsson, Intel, Texas Instruments, Bluetooth, Samsung, STMicroelectronics, Vodafone, the European Space Agency, and Cisco. 

In 2011, Christian Stammel founded Wearable Technologies (WT) AG, a leading innovation and market development platform, which has already served as a business accelerator for more than 300 renowned companies. WT is at the heart of the wearables ecosystem and is organizer of the largest global WTconferences and WTshows.

Source & Image: � Wearable Technologies


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