Today was my first day in San Francisco where I got to meet the top ten finalists for the Intel Make It Wearable challenge. Intel opened up the challenge to teams around the world who were supplied with access to some of the best technology to develop wearable gadget prototypes. The idea was to produce something that wouldn’t be a gimmick people want but rather a piece of wearable technology people need.
Smartwatches that simply tape your mobile to your wrist weren’t in the running (Mike Bell, head of Intel’s new products,words – not mine).
First prize of $500 000 went to Nixie, an autonomous flying drone designed to take some rather epic selfies. Second place (and $200 ooo) went to Open Bionics. Open Bionics produces affordable robotic arms and legs for amputees.
We spend a lot of time moaning about a lack of women in tech and with good reason. However, today I was rather stoked to note that both the first and second team had women team members who weren’t just there to manage marketing or social media (she says tongue in cheek). Turns out women win at wearables!
Open Bionics brags Samantha Payne on their team. Not only does she have a great name (I’m kidding) but her wearable tech is going to change a host of lives for the better. Here she is at the event with one of the affordable robotic arms her team has created:
Jelena Jovanovic was a member of the winning team at the Intel Make it Wearable Challenge this year. You could say it was kind of in her genes though. Here she is with her mom, who also happens to be one of the hardware developers for Google Glass.