Wearables & Gadgets

Two Canadian wearable tech startups honoured in PwC’s Vision to Reality awards

By this time next year, some of us will be unlocking our front doors without keys and changing TV channels with the flick of our wrists. Behind these futuristic-sounding innovations are two Canadian startups, Bionym and Thalmic Labs, whose wearable tech recently put them on PwC’s list of top ten up-and-coming technology companies in Canada.

Now in its tenth year, PwC’s Vision to Reality award celebrates Canadian technology companies who have demonstrated successful growth and outstanding achievements in the past year. This year’s top ten are all companies that are innovating to disrupt, none more so than Bionym and Thalmic.

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Toronto-based Bionym is behind the Nymi, a wristband that uses your heartbeat to potentially unlock any connected device. The Nymi is equipped with an electrocardiogram sensor that identifies the unique characteristics of your beating heart. It then uses this information to confirm your identity and authorize any device paired with Bluetooth to grant you access.

Wearing an activated Nymi would do away with passwords and perhaps even Apple’s Touch ID. This means no more login screens, ever! But the benefits of Nymi don’t just stop at computers and phones: it could potentially be used to open your front door, your hotel room and even the trunk of your car as long as they have interfaced with the wristband.

Bionym launched pre-orders back at the beginning of September and announced today that they have now surpassed the 5,000 mark. The first batch of 25,000 units are being sold at $79.99 with shipping expected in early 2014.

Also looking for room on your arm is MYO, the gesture-control armband from Waterloo-based Thalmic Labs. MYO uses the kinetic energy of your arm to detect gestures and use them to wirelessly control a connected device.

MYO can be used to change slides in a presentation, browse the web, play video games and more all without having to pick up a mouse or put your fingers on a touchscreen.

Those that were lucky enough to pre-order MYO early should be seeing their devices later this year. Pre-orders made today would be part of the second batch which is expected to ship in early 2014. The MYO armband can be pre-ordered at a cost of $149.

Both of these devices have tremendous potential in changing our every day lives, especially as we enter the Internet of Things era, where almost everything we own will be connected. To facilitate this, Bionym and Thalmic will be providing their own SDKs to developers to give them the freedom to create applications for the hardware.