CES 2017 – where young and old find something to make life better

CES 2017 – where young and old find something to make life better: At this year’s CES, in Las Vegas, there was a wearable for everyone, regardless of age. Finding the best, was more of a marathon than a sprint, confesses Caroline Hayes

Starting with the youngest consumer, Joy was exhibiting an icon-based watch that helps children learn about organising their time. It is particularly helpful for children with autism, who like routine but may not be able to follow verbal instructions easily. The Octopus watch has over 500 icons, both in colour and black and white, to suit the child’s preferences. The icons remind the child to perform tasks such as brush their teeth, or feed the goldfish, have a bath, or take their medicine. Parents can create the child’s daily routine via a smartphone app. The reminders allow the wearer some independence and responsibility as well as offers reassurance. There is a charging station, in the shape of an octopus that can double as a night light to charge the watch overnight via a USB cable.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Ora had an interesting take on wearable monitoring devices, with a range of pendants. They can be worn as colourful jewellery pendants by women, or uncovered versions can be tucked inside a man’s shirt or top for a personal alert and monitoring system. Like others that are available it can alert friends, family or neighbours if there has been a period of inactivity, due to a fall, for example. Rather than an alert being sent to an alarm call centre, the pendant uses Bluetooth to send an alert to one or more specified carers who can either attend or call emergency services after they have checked in person or used the simple chat function in the app to assess what is needed. The pendant looks sturdy but is very lightweight, even with the coloured stone insert.

There is nothing like traipsing the halls of the various CES venues to get fit – or that’s what I told myself. It was either that or take part in some serious health and sports activity. If I had been made aware of my gait and posture, maybe it would have been more effective. Xenoma tried to help, with its e-skin smart shirt.

It has 14 sensors fitted which monitor the wearer’s movement. The central controller, the e-skin Hub, is located on the shirt front and transmits information to a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC via Bluetooth.

The shirt, which has a zip front, can be used for sports and fitness, as well as to monitor respiration during sleep. The sensors can be used in gaming, so that wearing the shirt means you can control the game with an arm movement, without having to wield a controller. It is supremely practical too, it can be machine washed and is insulated against perspiration.

The company created the Printed Circuit Fabric (PCF) which is the basis for e-skin. Sensors and stretchable wires can be integrated into traditional fabrics to enable a wearable circuit which can withstand repeated movements.

The company also offers the e-skin software development kit to support app development, using Windows or Android devices. The kit includes sample application programming interfaces (APIs) for common movement, such as running, jumping, or – as modelled here – the golf swing.

Hopefully, no sporting injuries will require the AID Sensor from Select Engineering Services. The company was exhibiting a lightweight material that can integrated into a vest, which automatically sends a call for help when it is penetrated by a projectile, such as a bullet. It also opens up the phone microphone so that others can listen in at the attack scene. The sensors in the fabric are able to send identification of the office or agent injured, details of where the injury is (body, front or back) and a GPS location for where the attack took place to up to 30 smartphones. The sensor fabric has been military proven and is compatible with Nett Warrior, the situational awareness and mission command system used in combat.

CES 2017 – where young and old find something to make life better





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