by Zuriñe Dopacio González

May 12, 2015

WT | Wearable Technologies is coming to Canada!

For the first time WT is organizing one of its events in Canada! Canada is not only known for its maple trees, ice hockey or their beavers. No! The country is also on the forefront when it comes to wearable tech and not only with Steve Mann as the “father of wearable computing” and star community builder Tom Emrich. Canada and especially Toronto is the birthplace for a long list of wearable tech startups. No kidding! Here to prove it just a few Canadian companies that are definitely rocking the wearable scene right now !

Let’s start with Heddoko. The smart garment startup launched a 3D motion capture sports garment that track the movement of the body using embedded textile sensors in their shirts and pants. Heddoko’s smart workout clothes are designed to be a virtual coach, transmitting live data to a user’s connected device to model their movement in 3D, giving real-time instructions and feedback for better performance while reducing the risk of injury. Users can also compare their performance to their peers, as well as learn from higher level athletes and coaches. Heddoko was under the top 5 companies of the  Sports & Fitness category at the WT| Innovation World Cup which took place in February in Munich in line with the WT | Wearable Technologies conference.

Cloud DX is another Canadian start-up which will be presenting their innovative healthcare solution in San Francisco! Cloud Dx uses cloud based technology to allow for a person to access a companion app that keeps track of all of your vitals. Their new device Vitaliti drapes across a person’s neck and has two sensors that attach to the front of the body  and record information. It has a patented technology called Cloud Diagnostics which checks for heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, oxygen, movement, and temperature. The app can help you   with information on your posture, and stress levels and also provides healthy tips like mobility exercises.

Not only Toronto is a wearable tech nucleus. Also Montreal has a lot of potential and currently seems to be a Mecca for smart clothing with OMsignal headquartered in this city. OMsignal’s smart shirt can measure heart rate, respiratory and activity. It also comes with an app to visualize health and fitness information for the wearer. The shirt is able to store the biometric data by using a small black box woven into the shirt. Additionally the shirt has moisture control, odor control, and is also machine washable. It also has the compression feature which supports circulation and muscle recovery.

Continuing with sports we have 4iiii Innovations – a  long term partner WT as exhibitor at ISPO or speaker at our conferences. The company develops technologies that improve sports performance and make the athlete’s world safer. Their products increase awareness and provide an uninterrupted and real-time flow of data needed to set a personal best or achieve a podium position. Their goal is to eliminate distractions, increase focus and produce better results. Their product rangeincludes  the Pods which are multi-functional (i.e. heart rate, pedometer, GPS tracking, cadence, etc.) wearable solutions meant to increase sports and fitness productivity and a clip on device for sports glasses. 4iiii also recently launched its new Precision Power Meter.

Gesture Logic exhibited their product Leo Helps with us last year in San Francisco and the company is also coming from the fitness category. The flexible leg band monitors all kinds of data from heart rate, motion, and even hydration and muscle activity. If LEO detects that it’s time for a break, to drink, or an adjustment to form, it notifies the user in easy to understand language.

Canada must be a fitness crazy country with that many sporty products!  Also our friends from Mio Global are from this category. Their watch range and also their new product Mio Fuse are pioneer products for heart rate tracking. The company’s products don’t need a chest strap to keep tabs on your beating heart, instead it uses an optical sensor. The electro-optical sensor sits on the underside of the deviceand senses the volume of blood under the skin, taking that data and running it through algorithms to work out your heart rate. You can set up personal heart-rate zones via the app, and the band or watch will buzz when you’ve crossed the border out of or into your target zone, telling you to raise or lower your pace. Mio Global was also one of the finalists of the WT | Innovation World Cup 14/15 and also a speaker at the 2014  San Francisco WT | Wearable Technologies conference.

We keep it moving with Recon Instruments and their Recon Jet and Recon Snow2. The company won our WT | Innovation World Cup in 2012. Their solution is an  advanced wearable computer for sports and outdoor recreational activities. Featuring a dual-core CPU, high-contrast display and point-of-view camera, Jet connects seamlessly to smartphones and wearable sensors, delivering information instantly, just below the user’s right eye. The battery can be easily swapped on the go for all-day performance. Recon Jet’s on-board sensors, including GPS, delivers performance metrics like speed, pace, distance, duration, vertical elevation gain, and more, while extra data points can be added by connecting wireless third-party devices (via ANT+™). This allows users to access heart-rate and cadence metrics in real time.

Moving away from fitness but sticking with headworn devices we move to Sulon Technologies. The company  developed a product called Cortex which is a fully immersive spatial virtual reality platform. This wireless, wear-and-play device transforms any physical space into a dynamic holodeck-like augmented environment, allowing users to step into worlds adapted to their surroundings.  You wear a headset with goggles that cover your eyes. The device then uses magnetic technology to detect the borders of the room and take game imagery and virtually paint those images onto the walls of the real room. So it’s like layering a fantasy world on top of the real world. You can view this fantasy world as either fully immersive virtual reality, or as augmented reality.

Nymi, launched also at last year’s WT | Wearable Technologies conference in San Francisco. The wristband can talk to other machines via Bluetooth and tell them that the person wearing it is who he says he is. Nymi aims to replace passwords for the wearer’s computers and might even unlock and start a car or stand in for house keys or be used to verify financial transactions that currently need a PIN.

Neptune Computer is another Canadian company which launched the Neptune Pine, a touch-based smart watch with a 2,5-inch touchscreen display. And most imporantly it doesn’t need to be paired with a smartphone to provide its functionality. It was one of the first watches to have all of the features of a modern smartphone, allowing users to make and receive calls, shoot video, take photos, check their e-mail, browse the web and listen to music. Founder Simon Tian was speaking at our WT | Wearable Technologies conference in Munich in 2014 and in January 2013 Neptune had already been chosen to be our Gadget of the Month! Now they are launching their latest device, the Neptune Suite!

There are only sports companies in Canada? No! Biosensive Technologies with their Ear-O-Smart developed a smart earring that is able to keep track of heart beat and heart rate, calories burned during a workout, and a whole host of activity trackers. They can all be seen and manipulated through the companion app that will be with the Ear-O-Smart. The Ear-O-Smart is BlueTooth 4.0 compatible. Biosensive Technologies were speaking at our past Wearable Technologies Conference 2015 held in Milan at the end of April.

Last but not least we were lucky enough to have Teardown joining us this year in Munich. Their reports offer intelligence on innovative technologies, form-factors, and feature sets relevant to electronics professionals. In Munich they showed exclusively what is inside the Amiigo bracelet.

This is only a short list of companies that are in Canada but many more are flourishing. We will show you more at the conference in September but as usual will also bring in wearable techies from all around the globe. Save the date! September 10, at the MaRS Centre, soon registration will open!