by Ayliffe Brown

October 21, 2015

Wearable Wireless Sensing Empowers People – An Interview with Shimmer

Sensors are the golden ticket to obtaining purposeful wearable data. Without sensors there would be no method to track the activity of a person. Shimmer is a research company that is provides wireless sensing materials to empower people; their data, solutions, insight, and meaning bring the wearable industry to greater heights. WT | Wearable Technologies to proud to feature Shimmer at the world’s largest medical device trade show – MEDICA 2015 from November 16-19. Shimmer was founded in 2008 and since then has devoted tremendous amounts of energy to pushing the boundaries for what wearable sensing can accomplish. Take a look at the interview with Martina Donohue below for more details about how Shimmer is re-shaping the wearable industry.

Shimmer offers full-service sensing solutions. Can you tell us a little bit more about your services and products?

Shimmer provides advanced development of wearable sensing systems based on our award winning clinical grade sensor technology. The Shimmer3 platform enables real-time data capture and communication and facilitates comprehensive wireless sensing applications that address biophysical and kinematic sensing needs. We can provide medical researchers, computer scientists or enterprise product development teams with a best-in-class vehicle for data capture that is robust, reliable, and unobtrusive out-of –the box.

As a service Enterprise, we provides deep sensing experience and expertise offering consultancy, contract, programming and manufacturing services across the five main areas of Connected Health, Rehabilitation, Neuro-marketing, Elite Sports and Clinical Assessment. This allows insight that accelerates innovation development and can reduce cost and time to market for our customers by up to 80%.

Shimmer based deplopments already include:

  1. a) Performance Monitoring: A complete wearable sensing solution to monitor pitch side analytics of sports players
  2. b) Remote Patient Monitoring: A sensing solution that detects and communicates  occurrences such as a fall
  3. c) Clinical assessment: A wearable sensing system that has improved the practicality of a EFA- Electro Diagnostic Functional Assessment of soft tissue injuries.

What are – due to your experiences – the biggest challenges in creating a new product?

One of the biggest challenges that we face in developing new and innovative products is ensuring that we are fulfilling a particular need for our customer and ensuring that it solving a pain point for them. The wider wearable technology industry moves very quickly, and can often be associated with trends, we rely on primary feedback from our customer base about, what works and what doesn’t work. Moving from our old platform to the Shimmer3 platform allowed us to really understand how our customers used the platform and what area’s are needed to be improved for their applications.

Do you see any changes in the demands and requirements for sensors in the wearable industry?

As a lot more use cases for wearables start to form, sensors are finding their way into more and more aspects of our lives, at home, work and in our leisure time, pushing the demand for Interoperability. The access to data is becoming progressively more important and there is a demand on us as sensor providers to find new ways of accurately capturing, communicating, and synthesising this data for true actionable decision making.

We do find that the industry continually demands smaller and more discrete sensors, with larger power consumption and additional sensing capabilities. Shimmer uses feedback that is reported annually, to maintain its position as market leader in the provision of high performing, simple to use tools, for the capture and communication of kinematic or biophysical sensor data.

Shimmer also does a lot of research, just recently you were involved in an emotional group quantification experiment in conjunction with the Science Gallery, Dublin. Do you think motion sensing will become more important in the future? Where do you see potential areas of application?

Shimmer is founded in research, and we work hard to forge links with our community of researchers because of the mutually beneficial opportunities to that it awards all involved.

In March, 2015 Shimmer was involved in a Group Quantification Experiment with the Science Gallery at one of Irelands leading Universities, Trinity College Dublin. The experiment was based on gathering emotional response data from a group of 100 adults using the Shimmer3 GSR+, during a screening of a series of short films.

In recent years, the measurement of emotions has been transformed by the availability of wearable devices. These devices can measure physiological signals and provide insights beyond any information obtained from more traditional methods such as surveys or questionnaires, which remain subjective at best.

We believe that emotional sensing will become more important as we are already beginning to see some areas where this technology is being applied. The 1st is in health research, where application areas range from sleep disorders and anxiety studies, to the fields of autism, epilepsy and dementia. The 2nd is in the rapidly growing field of Neuro-marketing. Companies have a requirement to optimize product placement and advertising and the subtleties of emotional sensing enables a whole host of tools to be uncovered in driving this rapidly growing field.

What is your favorite wearable device besides your own (and why)?

There are different wearable devices for different aspects of our lives, so it’s hard to pick just one. Overall, I’m a fan of wearable systems that are focusing on the ‘collective’ as I think that this is an innovative aspect to the wearable space.  This is an exciting area as I think a lot of people will enjoy being a part of something new and exciting, be in it sports or healthcare and might even inspire a healthy competition among its users to better themselves.

There is still time to register to attend MEDICA 2015. WT | Wearable Technologies has featured medical wearable products at MEDICA for the past 5 years. If you are able to make the travel, please join WT and Shimmer in Dusseldorf, Germany on November 16th -19th. MEDICA is an event you will not want to miss, because you will introduce you to the latest technological innovation in wearable healthcare.