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What we loved at Intel Make It Wearable 2014

So this year saw the first ever Intel Make it Wearable Challenge. If you read this site occasionally you’ll know that I have been less than kind to wearables in the past. I am currently in San Francisco for the Intel Global Challenge but was able to attend the Make it Wearable winner announcement where the top 10 finalists introduced themselves and their wearable devices.

Intel’s new device group general manager, Mike Bell, made a comment before the winner’s announcement that he was sick of wearables just being a basic smartphone taped to your wrist. I wanted to leap up and scream “Amen” (don’t worry I didn’t). So that was the attitude I went in with but after checking out the finalists I have changed my views. I am pretty excited for the future of wearables. For a list of the winners check out this IT Pro Portal piece I wrote. These were 3 of the prototypes we loved at Intel make it Wearable 2014:

Babyguard

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Pregnant women can be a little bit over the top when it comes to their bun in the oven. While I have never had a baby I am told that when the little bean gets hiccups it can give a new mom an awful fright. I presume a hiccuping life form in your belly is rather terrifying the first time. This is not about hiccuping babies. It is about Babyguard – a wearable bellyband fitted with a smart sensor. The sensor is able to measure baby’s heart rate, movement and activity to ensure mom’s piece of mind. So you’ll know your little dude is fine and just hiccuping… Cue coos and awes now.

BabyBe

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Yes. Another baby product, but we all know mommy blogging (I mean being a mother) is big business. Jokes aside this is a wearable that can make the world a better place. BabyBe is based on the concept of kangaroo care where new borns are held skin to skin in the vital first few days of their lives. A huge issue with premature babies is that they are immediately placed into an incubator and that kangaroo care can’t take place. BabyBe is a two piece wearable that incorporates soft robotics for neonatal Healthcare. The mom is handed a turtle looking device while the baby is placed on a biocord mattress. Mom then holds turtle and her heart beat, breathing pattern and voice is transmitted to the mattress. Pretty rad right?

Blocks

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So Blocks is a smart watch. Don’t roll your eyes, I already did. Then realized this isn’t like other smartwatches. This is what Blocks is not: it is not a smartwatch tied to a smartphone or operating system. It isn’t filled with lame gimmicks you don’t use or care for. It can also look however the hell you want it. See, blocks is a fully customisable smartwatch. Each function, unique display etc is programmed into individual blocks. You would simply purchase the blocks you want and snap them together. The software will be open source so small time developers with great ideas will be able to create their own blocks. The sky is pretty much the limit when it comes to Blocks innovation and capabilities. Plus you can make it look pretty & unique. Let’s be honest, who actually wants a watch that looks like everyone else’s right?

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