Liz Dickinson started MIO in 1999 to address a gap she identified in the market for heart rate monitors for physical training. Greatly experienced in the field of heart rate monitors she holds 5 patents and 2 patent pending in the area of fitness and sport performance. Meet Liz at our Wearable Technologies Conference in San Francisco on July 9 and learn more about her development in the interview below:
1. The Mio watch was the first commercial product incorporating infra-green technology. Can you outline how this state-of-the art technology for strapless heart rate monitoring works?
Performance level continuous optical heart rate measures every beat of your heart in real-time using two green LEDs and an electro-optical cell. Integrated to the back plate of the MIO ALPHA and MIO LINK, the LEDs shine light in to the skin, which then enables the electro optical cell to detect the pulsing volume of blood flow.
2. For what sports or activities can the watch be used? Does it also work for swimming for example?
MIO ALPHA and MIO LINK have been optimized for running and cycling. They have been tested accurate at running speeds in excess of 20kph! Also, both products can be worn in the water while swimming and we are soon to release a field upgrade to the firmware to optimize the performance of the heart rate measurement while swimming.
3. You recently came out with a smart fitness band type of product. What are the major differences between the watch and the wristband?
With the release of MIO LINK, now everyone can afford to ditch the heart rate chest strap! We removed expensive components like the mineral crystal glass and dot matrix display on ALPHA so that we could put a very simple and elegant heart rate wrist band, the LINK, on the market at the affordable price point of €99. LINK will transmit your heart rate to your phone via BTLE as well as your bike computer via ANT+. It will display zone information with a single LED that will change color according to the heart rate zone you are exercising in. The zones can be customized from within our MIO GO app.
4. The new adidas SmartRun also incorporates your technology – do you also license the tech to other companies?
At present we have a few highly strategic relationships. So far two companies have delivered strapless heart rate products that incorporate MIO’s award winning continuous heart rate technology. Adidas has implemented it into their SmartRun GPS watch and the other, Tom Tom, will deliver its Cardio Runner and Multi-sport watches at the end of May. MIO technology is definitely in high demand because we are the only continuous heart rate technology that works accurately at high performance running speeds and during high intensity sports, so you can expect to see other sport brands incorporating MIO’s technology.
5. Will there be a next version of the watch? Incorporating daily activity tracking or are you planning to remain focused on the sports and fitness market? Anything you can share on your vision for your product?
There are many activity trackers out there today that do little more than count steps and calories. I don’t think the market needs another one of those. Our consumer has progressed to the point of fitness where they need more than the motivation provided by step counting. We will continue to put products on the market that solve the needs of people looking to improve their fitness levels and set ever higher performance goals. In so doing we will take full advantage of our unique competitive advantage of the quality of our continuous heart rate technology.
6. What is your favorite wearable technologies product (besides your own of course)?
My favorite one, Ringly, is not yet on the market. Ringly is a line of beautiful connected jewelry that allows you to put your smart phone away so you can stay present in meetings, look stylish, and still know when important calls or texts are coming in. So much more discrete in daily life than continually checking your mobile!