Technology

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Top Stories from the Wearable Technology Show 2017

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Nimb ring doubles as a panic alarm

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The Nimb Ring hides a panic button that sends an alert to friends and emergency services if the wearer is in trouble. The button is concealed in the underside of the ring, which otherwise resembles a normal piece of jewellery. When held down for three seconds, it calls for help from contacts and people within 300 yards, who receive a message with the wearer's location and personal details through the Nimb app. The device, which was presented at the Wearable Technology Show (WTS) held at the ExCeL Centre in London last week, is also able to make an automated call to the police, and share the individual's name and location with the call operator. Accidental alarms can be cancelled using the app, with a separate password used to notify contacts of a forced cancellation. Wearers set specific people to receive emergency alerts. They can also volunteer to receive notifications, with the idea being that the app forms a community of strangers ready to help. Nimb is intended for use in all emergencies, including natural disasters and health-related issues, as well as assault. The idea for the device was part-inspired by co-founder Kathy Roma's own experience of a brutal attack in 2000, as well as stories told to CEO Leo Bereschansky by friends who had experienced street assaults. The ring was launched on Kickstarter in 2016, and attracted over £160,000 in backing, after an initial goal of £40k. It comes in either black or white, and according to the company has a battery life of up to two weeks. Nimb is currently available in the US only, and retails for £120.

 

Kerv unveil the ultimate Smart Ring

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Sticking with Smart Rings for a while, and more than a year since they completed a successful crowd funding campaign, Kerv used WTS 2017 to showcase the Kerv Ring, which condenses all the features and benefits of NFC into a convenient, wearable ring. You can use Kerv to make payments anywhere in the world that displays the contactless MasterCard payment symbol and the device works all by itself, so you don’t need to pair it with a smartphone to make a payment. No charging required. Kerv is engineered from aerospace-grade zirconia technical ceramic, and is available in either black or white outside and a range of colours inside. It is waterproof, lightweight, hypoallergenic and apparently almost as scratch-resistant as diamond!

 

The self-testing kiosk that lets patients test themselves

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Belgian medtech company BeWell Innovations showed off its self-testing kiosk for patients for the first time in the UK at WTS this year. Currently in use in 12 hospitals across Belgium, WellPoint enables patients to measure their vital health indicators (including blood pressure, heartbeat frequency and blood oxygen saturation) at the point of care. Tests results are automatically printed for the patient to see, as well as being sent directly to the hospital and added to the patient’s health record. Not only does this reduce the time needed for medical appointments, it also eliminates the need for manual data entry by hospital staff, which could allow for up to 7 times the amount of cost savings compared to if the tests are done by registered nurses, BeWell Innovations claims. The company is currently looking to expand to the UK and several other European countries, and is starting a second round of investment to support this expansion.

 

Touch Surgery augmented reality platform for high tech surgery practice

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Also making its UK debut at WTS last week was the Touch Surgery surgical simulation training platform, which looks to recreate how different surgical procedures are carried out in an immersive environment. In its current form it exists as a smartphone app, with most of its users being medical professionals at academic institutions including Imperial College London and Harvard University in the US. The augmented reality (AR) platform looks to take the concept one step further and allow surgeons to practice in a “virtual operating room” on a “virtual patient.” When it launches internationally in the summer, its creators envisage it being used by practising surgeons as well as students, allowing them to see a live overlay of the surgery they are about to carry out within the actual operating theatre. Definitely a step above Surgeon Simulator!

 

Path Finder shoe attachment

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Walk with Path is adding to its roster of assistive devices designed to prevent falls among vulnerable populations (such as people suffering from Parkinson’s disease) with its latest product, Path Finder. The shoe attachment is used to help people with an unsteady or irregular gait by projecting a horizontal line by laser on the ground in front of the user at a set distance from their feet, which gives them a visual cue to walk. It is aimed particularly at people with freezing of gait (FOG), a common symptom among people with Parkinson’s, which causes them to feel as though their feet are frozen to the floor. Walk with Path expects to launch Path Finder in May across the UK and Europe.

 

Ecolife smog monitor will monitor the air quality of your home

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The unique piece of tech from Polish startup Ecolife is looking to combine the recent advances in smart home technology and awareness around the effects of air pollution in one product, with its eponymous indoor smog monitor. It works by continuously monitoring the quality of the air in the room in which it is placed, measuring environmental factors such as particulate pollution, temperature and humidity. These measurements are visually communicated on the monitor itself using two colour signals – green for “standard” and red for “alert” – and can also be accessed via the user’s smartphone and the Ecolife site. The company also maintains an extensive network of outdoor monitors based in cities which offer recommendations to registered users based on their location, such as where to go running or how to avoid peak smog hours in their area. Initially launched in Poland in January, Ecolife is currently available for pre-order online and is expected to launch in UK stores in the second half of 2017.

 

This Smart Button was perhaps the smallest wearable at this year's show

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Last, and smallest, but certainly not least, this little button promises automation all tied to your fingerprints. You’re not limited to just the tips of your fingers, though, you can program the button to work with three different parts of each finger, leaving you with a wide variety of actions you can automate. TapDo is promising integration with the likes of Philips Hue, Logitech Harmony and IFTTT, and the company is opening up its own API for other services to integrate with TapDo. The TapDo will soon be launching on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.

For more Tech news, you can check out our latest #TechTuesday feature or discover some of the most inventive products and ideas revealed at this years' SXSW Festival.

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