We interviewed Ben O’Brien, CEO of StretchSense to find out more about his view on wearables. We are very happy to have him as a speaker at our WT | Wearable Technologies Conference 2015 USA, where he will share his expertise on Energy Harvesting and motion sensors.
1. Your main business focuses on stretchable capacitive sensors which are perfect for motion sensing. At the 16th WT | Wearable Technologies Conference 2015 USA in San Francisco you will present a completely new part application for your sensors. Can you give us a sneak peek?
Last February we launched fabric based, highly durable stretch sensors. These have been very well received in the sports, healthcare, and entertainment industries. Our next step is making them self-powered. The holy grail of wearables is a product that is always on, requires no attention, and never needs to be charged. The future is self-powered and at the conference we will present our vision for smart discreet sensors that you can simply wear and forget.
2. In what kind of products could this be used and how much energy could be produced?
The human body is an abundant source of energy. Harnessed properly, this energy can be used to directly power wearables. Everything from small sensors to power-hungry communication devices and displays. The possibilities are endless – come along to my talk Energy harvesting for Wearables to hear more!
3. You are headquartered in New Zealand. How’s the wearable tech scene there?
The wearable tech scene in New Zealand is booming. There is a strong sense of community and everyone knows each other well. We ran a WT picnic last year that attracted over 100 guests from New Zealand’s top wearable companies, which was great to see. Good government support and plenty of top talent from the local universities make it a fantastic place to do business.
4. What is the most important thing you learned while being involved in the topic of wearable technologies?
The wearable industry is very complex and evolving constantly. It is not a zero sum game and you need to be willing to work with others to get products to market. Part of this is getting really good at educating your partners. We try to pass on as much info as possible and in return learn deeply about their applications. This upfront investment in each other pays huge dividends in accelerating time to market.
5. What is your favorite wearable product?
Without a shadow of a doubt, my favorite wearable product is Neil Harbisson’s Cyborg Antenna. For those that don’t know he is color blind. He and Adam Montandon mounted a camera on his head that plays different tones for different colors. Because of this the guy hears colors and paints in music. Amazing!