Since the 34 teams competing for the Qualcomm Tricorder were announced in November, a few, like Scanadu, have caught the public eye while the vast majority remained in stealth mode. Now at least one team, Johns Hopkins University’s Aezon, is poking its head out to crowdfund its entry on Indiegogo. The team is attempting to raise $10,000 to support its shot at $10 million.
Google has just let us in on another tidbit about the deal it has built with Lenovo over the sale of its Motorola Mobility assets: It keeps the high-tech Q division-type stuff being developed at Motorola’s Advanced Technology Group. T
hat means the Ara modular smartphone concept, as well as sensors you swallow and passwords you tattoo on your skin.
Tim Cook acknowledged in an ABC interview yesterday that Apple has something big going on in Arizona concerning sapphire glass, but stopped short of admitting that a forthcoming iWatch might be a major beneficiary of the new material. A number of other factors conspire to make me think that to be the case. Specifically, Apple has patents that cover a process for making flexible sapphire veneers ”with a sophisticated liquid-metal process,” and another for a smart watch with a flexible touchscreen display with an adjustable clasp.
Last week MobiHealthNews reported that one of Apple’s most recent hires — assumedly for its rumored iWatch team — Nancy Dougherty, was a former employee at high profile company Proteus Digital Health.
Following that story, we received a tip that Apple has also hired Michael O’Reilly, the former chief medical officer of Masimo Corporation, which specializes in pulse oximeters. At the very end of 2012 Masimo commercially launched an iPhone-enabled pulse oximeter called the iSpO2. The company was not seeking FDA clearance for the product since it says it’s intended for mountain climbers and airplane pilots.
If wearable tech's going to succeed, it can't feel this disconnected. We need a clear voice in the madness, and it's likely to come from Apple and Google. Read this post by Scott Stein on CES 2014: Wearable Tech.
According to a recent report from the NPD Group, San Francisco-based Fitbit shipped 67 percent of all activity tracking devices in 2013. The company’s devices also accounted for 77 percent of the “full body activity trackers” shipped during the five weeks leading up to Christmas. That’s up from about 60 percent for 2012′s holiday season, according to Fitbit. NPD also estimated that the digital fitness category is now a $330 million market.
For the last five year or so, digital health has been the Rodney Dangerfield of investment sectors, getting more attention than respect, and garnering more page views than dollars. However, two important events reported in the last several days suggest all this may be about to change.
As rumors mount about a possible iWatch launch late in 2014, with attendant speculation that it will provide Apple with a boost to its sagging sales, I have to ask, who is this for? Tim Cook wears a Nike fuelband (as well as sitting on their board) and Cupertino has been on a hiring tear for those with experience in bio-medical sensors. The kinds of sensors said to be included in the eventual wearable include heart rate, blood oxygen and glucose monitoring.
There are quantified self enthusiasts and fitness-obsessed people of all ages, as well as young people suffering from early-onset conditions like juvenile diabetes, but the largest market for the kinds of bio-medical tracking that the sensor-laden iWatch would address are baby boomers and the elderly. Which leads me to ask, will the iWatch be worn by anyone under 30? The irony, of course, is that the boomers were indoctrinated in the ’60s to never trust anyone over 30!
ABI Research projects the wearable device sales volumes in 2014 to come from healthcare and sports and activity trackers. While, the commercial launch of several smart glass products, including Google Glass will continue to drive interest in the wearable space, it will not be a significant commercial success in 2014.
“The next twelve months will be a critical period for the acceptance and adoption of wearable devices” -
Intel's new boss touts wearable technology in his first CES keynote. (...)He also showed off Intel Edison, a new Intel Quark-based computer housed in an SD card. It will be available in the middle of 2014.
Olivier Janin's insight:
check out the the Intel “make it wearable” challenge. The grand prize is $500,000, and it will have $1.3 million in prizes altogether.