An ever-increasing number of wearable electronic devices are coming on to the market, and many their related apps are now focusing on connecting the human body and extending or improving its capabilities.
A survey-based report from independent technology and market research firm Forrester Research, entitled Five Urgent Truths about the Future of Wearables that Every Leader Should Know, says that 45% of all Europeans and 32% of US Americans polled are planning to buy a wearable in 2015. Starting with the imminent launch of the Apple Watch, the market for smart watches and other types of connected wristbands is forecast to see a fresh surge this year.
The central focus of the LeWeb 2014 conference, held in Paris in early December, was on connected health, which looks set to be a major technology trend during 2015. The rise of wearables is part of that trend. And while many wearable devices, such as connected earbuds and heart-rate measuring wristbands – are intended to measure body data, other newly-developed wearables are designed to use the human body as a basis for creating new apps.
One example is California-based start-up Thync, which claims to be able to alter users’ state of mind using electronic or ultrasonic waveforms emitted by a connected object worn on the body. The startup, which has recently raised $13 million in capital, is planning to launch its first products in 2015.
Similarly, the Muse headband from Toronto-based InteraXon is intended to induce mental well-being. Using sensors to monitor the wearer’s brain activity, it works in tandem with a mobile app called Calm so as to help users train their mind to be more focused and tranquil. With a view to motivating users, InteraXon has added a gamification element to the app.
Meanwhile French startup Cicret has come up with the idea of using the human body as a touchscreen. The company’s wristband, comprising a pico projector and a row of eight proximity sensors that point towards your forearm, lets you project the screen directly on to your skin. Operating as a standalone device, when activated with a twist of the wrist, the bracelet projects an Android interface on to the user’s arm.
The fact that all these startups have successfully raised investor funds is a clear indication that the market for ‘wearables’ that not only draw metrics from the human body but also deliver a stimulus or other effect directly to the body is looking promising.