Worn under Kanaan’s firesuit, the shirt acts as both fireproofing protection and sensor. The fabric of the shirt — not wires or a separate device — senses electrical activity.
“We’re not talking about a bracelet or a separate device; it’s the fabric itself,” said Adam Nelson, vice president, industry solutions, healthcare and life sciences at NTT Data, a Tokyo-based global system integration company. “Because it’s electroconductive polymer, it picks up the heart’s electrical activity. If you position the fabric on certain muscles, it picks up the muscle activity. … It’s a very different type of bio-signal that we capture with the fabric.”
Over the past two years, Under Armour has spent close to $1 billion buying and investing in three leading makers of activity- and diet-tracking mobile apps. By doing so, the company has amassed the world's largest digital health-and-fitness community, with 150 million users. Plank envisions all of those users, and their metrics, as a big data engine to drive everything from product development to merchandising to marketing.
Today, Under Armour has 13,500 employees around the world and nearly $4 billion in revenue. But Plank is still every bit the entrepreneur, chasing audacious dreams--chief among them overtaking Nike as the world's largest sportswear maker. Under Armour leapfrogged the longtime number two, Adidas, in the U.S. sportswear market in 2014, but worldwide it's still third. And Nike remains far larger, with more than $30 billion in revenue in 2015 Which is part of why Plank wants to move so aggressively. Nike has about a fifth as many users on its Nike+ platform as Under Armour does on its apps, and in 2014 the shoe giant shut down its FuelBand fitness-tracker business.
“I said I like the idea, but if we’re going to go this way, I want to develop it,” Akkersdijk says. “I want to look into conducting yarns, into the sensor technology, and how you want to embed it. So what we started to do is, within the production process, is knit the conducting yarns in.”
The first project that would inspire Akkersdijk’s model for the future of wearables wasn’t even a wearable at all. In 2013, Akkersdijk worked with the Technical University of Eindhoven on a pillow that helps people with severe dementia communicate. He did this by designing a thick padded shell with internal motors, so that patients could share their gestures with a person holding the other side of the pillow.
At their “Edge Corp” demo plant Plex shows off (as I have written here and here ) Google Glass, Estimote beacons, Honeywell ring scanners, Mitutoyo digital calipers and other emerging technology in use on the shop floor
At PowerPlex this week, Barrie Vince of Plex brought to life in an excellent short session the implementation of some of these tools at their customer, Fisher Dynamics. He also showed off the GoGlove, a bluetooth glove and talked about the Apple Watch and other wearables they are experimenting with.
worth a watch – just 5 minutes long and Barrie is quite a showman. Not to shortchange the others on the stage – Jason Blessing and Jerry Foster of Plex and Scott Tollafield of Fisher were excellent in their own way. I had a chance to interact with them at the event.
On its surface, the idea behind Soli is similar to Leap Motion and other gesture-based controllers: A sensor tracks the movements of your hands, which control the input into a device. During a demo at the session Friday, Soli's founder, Ivan Poupyrev, showed how the sensor could recognize gestures and allow people to control functions of a smartwatch without touching a display.
But unlike other motion controllers, which depend on cameras, Soli is equipped with radar, which helps it "track sub-millimeter motions at high speed and accuracy," ATAP says. This helps keep Soli tiny — small enough to fit within a tiny chip that can be incorporated into wearables and other devices.
Excellent article in FastCompany on Disney’s ambitious tech enabled tinkering of the UX at its flagship park in Orlando
“While most observers view Disney’s parks as kingdoms of escapism, Neal Gabler, in his definitive biography of Walt Disney, argues that their success actually derives from "crafting a better reality than the one outside," with a reassuring "control and order" where all is "harmonious." But in the ensuing weeks, working from a trailer behind Epcot, the founding five started digging into the problems that made the reality of Disney World something less than "harmonious." There were the endless lines for rides, food, and bathrooms; parents juggling maps, hotel keys, baby carriages, and bottles of SPF 75; and kids pulling families on long treks to try to visit every attraction. The park was filled with complications, such as a tiered ticketing system with wonky rules.
Given Disney World’s ticket prices, families felt obligated to "divide and conquer," says MacPhee. The team created diagrams illustrating how families, seeking to maximize their time, would crisscross Cinderella Castle, the center of the park, as often as 20 times a day. Worse yet: the swarms of people. On average, 8,000 to 10,000 guests flow through the park’s main entrance every hour. "On the surface, we had super happy guests, but in reality, we were making them go through so much hassle at the park that down the road, they would simply say, 'No más!' " says one former longtime Disney manager. As MacPhee, who has the look of a Division II offensive coordinator, admits, Disney World was on the verge of becoming "dangerously complex and transactional." The team soon presented its ideas to Rasulo. He gave them the go-ahead to rethink everything, including turnstile entrances and paper ticketing. That’s when the project got its code name, Next Generation Experience, or NGE. The founding five soon found themselves on a perpetual shuttle between Burbank and Orlando.”
Plex Systems gave several analysts a walk through of the simulated shop floor at their HQ. It was nice to see how the facility has evolved since last year even as hand held scanners, light curtains and digital calipers continue to be used.
There are considerably more displays – a Macro one to show various manufacturing steps across locations, and another to show progress within a facility
There are several more mobile devices, wearables and sensors on the floor includin
Ruggedized Google Glass with safety shield
Ring scanner – a Honeywell 8650 Bluetooth version
Beacon from Estimote
Next year, I expect to see Apple Watch and some robotics in addition.
The factory has also shrunk in floor space – a sign of a significant productivity improvement!
Good friend Troy Angrignon has an excellent analysis and a large photo gallery of wearable technology he saw in Vegas at CES in January.
Troy, who describes himself as Entrepreneur, Athlete, Adventurer, brings the credibility of having watched these devices evolve over years and the field testing he does with the very athletic lifestyle he leads
“Some patterns clearly emerged in the wearable sector, which I’ll outline below in more detail. But in short, here they are:
seven markets are clearly colliding;
customer segmentation and use cases are becoming more mature;
it’s not about the fight for the wrist anymore;
entire product portfolios are emerging from established players;
some cool new tech is coming, like sensor kits that stick on like bandages;
and the basic wearable (a band or watch with 3d sensor) has commoditized.”
Like many professional women, Christina Mercando keeps her smartphone in her purse, which meant she was constantly digging it out to check for important notifications. But what if she could get that info from something she was already wearing, much as pants-wearing men can feel a phone buzz in their pocket? That’s the thinking behind Ringly, a line of rings that can be programmed to glow when wearers get an email from their boss, a text from their Uber driver or any number of other can’t-miss communications. Mercando, a former product and design manager at eBay, raised more than $1 million to realize her vision. So far, the concept is working: the first 1,000 Ringly rings, which debuted in June, sold out within 24 hours.
That’s why Perko is building a central command center to preserve his company’s institutional knowledge. The idea? Assemble that brain trust of gray-haired experts to help, with the aid of technology, less experienced employees in the field. The younger workers wear special safety glasses equipped with a camera, microphone, speaker, detachable flash drive, and wireless antenna. Through a Bluetooth connection to their phone, the fieldworkers transmit a live video feed of their actions back to the command center. A veteran watches and gives further instruction.
The “smart” safety glasses, made by a Nashville startup called XOEye Technologies, are a “game-changer,” Perko says. Problems get fixed faster, the younger workers learn faster, and reports can be sent to clients to verify that a job has been completed. Pleased with the results of a pilot, Perko plans to expand his use of the $499 glasses and potentially put them on the faces of 300 of his 800 employees.