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Technology meets new age: Intel Make It Wearable finalists

02 Sep 2014  | Tom Emrich

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Intel asked developers to come up with creative and innovative wearable concepts, and pitch it on video. Out of those who participated, ten were chosen as finalists. Emotional prosthetics, modular smartbands and sixth sense necklaces include the list of what Intel hailed as forerunners of wearable technology movement.

Intel launched its Make It Wearable challenge earlier this year, and last week they announced the finalists who will be judged in November in San Francisco for a chance to win $500,000. The finalists represented the vast landscape of wearable tech from emotional prosthetics, to flyable and wearable cameras and smart baby wear.

One of the finalists from the U.K., Blocks, is taking a modular approach to wearable tech in building a snapable platform. Taking cue at current modularity projects on the go like Google's Project Ara, the team behind blocks believes that being able to swap things out is even more important for a wearable device. Blocks will let users replace or upgrade capabilities of its smartband for things like sensors, displays, processors and batteries.

Source: Blocks

Another team from the U.K. have developed the Vumble, a sports and activity necklace which tracks information from the body using vibrations and allows the user to interact with it via touch. The team describes Vumbl as being a kind of sixth sense. It's haptic feedback can guide a user to where they need to be without a screen or can be used to enhance a game by letting the player feel the action. Vumbl's voice control feature also acts as a Bluetooth headset to make a call or control your smartphone.

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The sports and activity necklace monitors information from the body through vibrations, and relays this information back to the user using touch. Source: Intel

Some of the other ideas include a First V1sion—gaming system which shows the players point of view; Nixie—a wearable camera that can also fly and Snowcookie—a fitness coach for skiing. Intel has featured all ten of its finalists on the Make It Wearable challenge page.

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Left to right: First V1sion, Nixie and Snowcookie. Source: Intel

These teams have already won $50,000 and intensive mentoring and coaching from industry leaders such as Guy Kawasaki and author Steve Blank to help refine the projects and get them off the ground. In November, they will all compete for the grand prize of $500,000.

- Tom Emrich
  Editor-in-Chief, Designers of Things

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