Last Updated: 16 Oct 2017

The Wearable Technology Show 2016 was in London this week and it was awesome. As with the event last year, much of the focus this year was on VR, clothing, enterprise and watches. Opposed to last year though, wearables are now more proven. Though still in the early adopter stage, the market is growing. Compared to 2014, shipments increased by 171.6 per cent last year, according to IDC.

We love great technology here at Big Ideas Machine. As with last year, we popped down to the Wearable Technology Show 2016 for a few hours to see what’s going on. With over 64 hours of keynotes, the event this year was bigger and better. Here were the top five coolest things we saw at the show:

1. Hamamatsu – brain controlled car

Do you know what’s cooler than an event stand with Scalextric? Scalextric that you control with your brain. Need we say anymore?

Of course, the answer to that question is no. But as you may be wondering who Hamamatsu Photonics is, here goes. The company makes optoelectronic components and systems. In layman terms, they make sensors for wearables and other devices. Their sensors track heart rate, skin moisture, distance and also brain activity.

At the show, the company was demonstrating a near-infrared tissue oxygenation monitor. Again, in layman terms, it measures the change of haemoglobin in your body. The upswing of this is that it can be used to control a Scalextric track. Mind. Blown.

Well done Hamamatsu for making us stop in our tracks.

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2. Sony and Epson smartglasses

These are not consumer products. But, for anyone working in a job, where they need use of their hands, smartglasses are awesome. Sony and Epson are among the companies trying to pioneer in this space. Sony SmartEyeGlass and the Epson Moverio BT-300 both launched in the UK at the show.

These devices are like a jet fighter helmet, condensed into glasses . Though not as full on as Microsoft Hololens, they hold huge potential for people who need information presented to them in real-time, with live streaming video capabilities and use of both hands.

Check out Sony SmartEyeGlass being used to enhance the Opera experience

And Epson’s promo video for the Moverio BT-300

3. Calorie counting t-shirt

MyZone used the event to launch a brand new app and smart clothing range. This included a calorie counting T-shirt – we kid you not. The t-shirt has electrodes embedded throughout it, that connects using a clip-on module. When you start working out, it measures your sweat and heart rate to work out your calorie burn. This is then sent to your smartphone or Apple Watch.

It’s a wearable that connects to your wearable. How awesome! If you’re planning on getting fit, the shirt costs £79.99.

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4. Wearable Technologies

We met Wearable Technologies at the show last year and loved them. They were back this year with clothing targeted at business users. The Zonesafe collaboration range alerts workers if they get too close to moving vehicles. Using clever wizardry, the clothes detect if a truck or fork-lift is a little too close. It uses warning lights and audio alarms, embedded into Visijax vests and jackets.

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5. Get into to Beddit

Now, this isn’t really a wearable. But, it does have lots of scientific data to support it. One of the big things wearables are used for is sleep monitoring. In most cases though, trackers only monitor arm movement. Beddit is a strip that goes onto your bed to track everything about your sleep. This covers everything from quality of sleep to respiration and snoring. It can also work out if your heartrate stops and can alert you if it happens too often.

It uses the data to deliver a huge amount of insight about your sleep. As with many smart sensors today, it delivers recommendations about improvements you can make.

There were, of course, many other fascinating companies at the event. We spoke to InvenSense, whose sensors appear in the vast majority of wearables, smartphones, tablets and gaming devices. The company’s technology sits in the pockets and on the wrists of millions of people.

Kinneir Dufort was another interesting company at the show. The company is a research, innovation, design and product development specialist. Fifty per cent of the work Kinneir does is in healthcare, whilst the other 50 per cent is for industry. We’d recommend checking out what the company is up to on its website

So there you have it, the very best of the London Wearable technology show 2016. We’ve been having a bit of a debate about wearables here at Big Ideas Machine. We’ll be posting some of our thoughts over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for that.

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