I dropped in for the final hour of the Wearable Technology Show 2014 at Olympia this week to do some scouting for clients. Tucked away on the third floor of the Conference Centre, it was an intimate affair.
A handful of big brands like Intel, Samsung and Garmin were mixing it up with up-starts and hackers. The sports theme runs strong, so no suits here. Strictly jeans and tees.
The energy in the maker space is palpable, and as a trained product designer and sports fan, I find the physicality addictive.
The show had three distinct tribes:
- The Accelerometer Crew
- The Embedded Brigade
- The Imaging Meisters
The Acceleromonitors still have to make the R&D jump from sports mode/activity to tracking the specific manoeuvres of a specific sport. Once prices drop and power rises the hardware can be loaded permanently into our footwear and equipment…and us.
Embedders are easily identifiable as chunky tech strapped awkwardly to shiny Lycra. More seamless integration will come but until then the Embeddeds are the Frankenstein monsters of the wearables world. Mbody is less ugly than most, and their analytics for quads/hams looks promising.
The Imagers is where all the action is. Optinvent is carving a niche as the workers Glass. Likewise the Kickstarted vrAse is the poor mans Rift or Morpheus, leveraging smart phones for virtual reality.
The fourth group was The Watch Weirdos, but we don’t talk about them.
For anyone with a good idea this summer, Intel is launching Make it Wearable. A global competition with $1m+ in cash prizes. For “tech makers” that want to build a following plus a bank balance, then CrowdRooster launches in April.