We are definitely seeing the early stages of a new form of computing, one that we wear rather than place on our desks or carry in our hands. The wearable technology wave has started and it’s just starting to gain momentum.
It’s expected that 2014 is when we will start to see wearables really gaining traction. Analysts are expecting to see the global annual wearable device unit shipments next year to cross the 100 million milestone, with 300 million units five years from now.
Of course, wearable technology is already here with activity trackers and smartwatches like Fitbit and Galaxy Gear. But wearables aren’t just going to help us count our steps or make calls on our wrist like a secret agent. These seven devices, all from companies here in Canada, have wearable innovations that are set to change the world.
1. MYO: The Gesture-Control Armband
Based in Waterloo, Thalmic Lab’s MYO is set to revolutionize how we interact and control the devices around us. The armband uses the motion and the kinetic energy of your arm to control any connected thing. It’s like Leap Motion or Kinect but without any wires or cameras which frees it up to be used anywhere.
The first batch of MYOs are expected to ship before the end of the year, and for those who pre-ordered, between February and mid-March. Pre-orders are still open for shipments expected in early 2014. MYO is currently selling at $149.
2. Nymi: The Heartbeat Authentication Wristband
Bionym, a Toronto startup, wants you to do away with keys and passwords. They have developed a wristband, Nymi, that uses your unique heartbeat for authenticatication. While wearing an activated Nymi, you won’t need to tap a passcode on your smartphone or even use a key to get into your condo, provided they are connected to the infrastructure around you..
Bionym is currently taking pre-orders for their first batch of 25,000 wristbands, which are expected to ship early in 2014. Pre-order units are currently selling at $79.
3. Recon Jet: The Google Glass for Sports
Vancouver’s Recon Instruments upcoming heads-up display (HUD), the Recon Jet, has the potential to quite literally change professional sports. Jet’s GPS and on-board sensors can display vitals during your activity at eye level, and the HD video-camera provides hands-free recording and instant sharing to social networks.
The first batch of Jets, the Pilot Edition, is already sold out. But pre-orders for the next batch are still available in limited quantity. The $599 Jet is expected to ship in Spring 2014.
4. Muse: The Brain Sensing Headband
Toronto’s InteraXon wants you to harness the power of your brain to help you chill out and focus. Their device, Muse, is a sleek, six-sensor headband that allows you to control games, reduce stress and improve memory and concentration. Muse measures your brainwaves in real-time and sends these to your smartphone, which translates them into instruction to interact with content in an app.
Muse can be pre-ordered for $269 for a release date of 2014.
5. Hexoskin: The Biometric Shirt
Montreal-based Carré Technologies’ biometric shirt, Hexoskin, is the first wearable to track movement, respiration and heart activity. The shirt records all your body metrics and sends that data over to a Bluetooth connected device, like your smartphone. The data collected can then be interpreted in an app to help you optimize your physical training, monitor stress and even improve your sleep.
Hexoskin recently funded their Indiegogo campaign in October. Backers are expected to receive their units as early as this January. Hexoskin can be pre-ordered starting at $399.
6. PUSH: The Strength-Measuring Gym Band
Toronto-based PUSH Strength has created a fitness tracking device that measures strength. The armband is designed for athletes and serious gym-goers to help optimize training by measuring and analyzing force, power and velocity. Users track their own personal progress in the PUSH smartphone. This same data is also available to your trainer or coach via a web portal.
PUSH is currently accepting pre-orders for their device at $149. Backers of their crowdfunding project are expected to have their fitness devices shipped in April of next year.
7. Kiwi Move: The Sensor-based Wearable That’s Really a Platform
Toronto-based Kiwi Wearables isn’t just building a sensor-based device — they’re developing a platform. The Kiwi Move is an internet-enabled motion sensor device that will have a multitude of use cases depending on the apps available for it. The device has the ability to track your movement, control smart objects like your TV or lights and so much more. Kiwi is looking to the developer community to ensure that the Kiwi Move is not a single-function device.
The Kiwi Move is not yet available for purchase but developers eager to get their hands on an Alpha Dev Kit can order one for $80. Kiwi Wearables expects to have a consumer-ready product in 2014.