Dec 192013
 

The idea behind my final wearable project is solve to a problem that I face almost everyday: forgetting something important at home. I often find myself in the checkout line at the store without my wallet or getting lost on the road without my phone. If you’re a forgetful person like me, this may be the answer for you.

My concept was to design a device that will make sure that I have all of my essentials items with me before I walk out of the door. The wearable object is a bracelet that alerts the user if he/she walks out the door without and important item. The bracelet would be unobtrusive and neutral so that it’s good for everyday wear. The other components of the system will include tags to place on the items that you want to keep track of and a reader that is stationed near the door that detects if all of your items are present when you leave the house. When the reader detects that an item is missing, it will communicate this to the bracelet, which would alert the use through blinking lights, vibration or sound. Each item will be assigned to a unique tag and a colored light on the bracelet, allowing the system and user to know which item(s) the user is forgetting.

Originally I planned for the system to utilize Arduino micro controllers that would communicate wirelessly through RFID. In my initial research, RFID looked like the best and most inexpensive solution for my project. As I was looking to purchase supplies though, I found that long range (1m-25m) RFID technology is quite expensive. As an alternative, I used Bluetooth to wirelessly connect the Arduinos. I found a some asset tracking solutions such as Tile and Bikn that utilize Bluetooth signals to allow users to locate tagged items from their mobile devices. Since this project did not require long distance communication, Bluetooth was the next best idea. Continue reading »

Dec 192013
 

If you are in class, teaching a class, or in a business meeting, everyone has had the awkward experience off their phone going off at the wrong times.  My project doesn’t make people think about what’s changing or trending.  It adds the affordance of having another option to receiving a text or phone call other than ring tone, vibrate, or silent.  A simple pattern would light up if are getting a phone call and flashing light if have received a text.  You could also remove the board and light and place into a different sleeve allowing a person to choose what design they want to wear on any given day.

My project idea was very simple.  I wanted to make a wrist cuff that would light up a certain way based on if you received a text or getting a call.  However, getting this simple idea to work was not easy at all.  My first problem began with an incompatible board.  I did not realize it incompatible until after I spent several hours, with the help of Harrison, soldering the pins to the Bluetooth module thinking that was the problem.  Once I got that out of the way I was given a loner board and battery source.  Because of the new components, my idea of it being switchable sleeves was gone.  The new component made the wrist cuff bulky.  After finally being able to connect to the Bluetooth, I ran into the problem of not finding any program that would allow the arduino and android talk to each other.  I went through dozen of programs.  Some had the features I needed to get the task done but it didn’t have the option to talk over Bluetooth.  Other were only able to connect to the Bluetooth and that was about it.  I even tried to go a roundabout way by having one program perform the task I needed to get done.  Then try writing a code that would turn on the lights when the Bluetooth was on.  Which didn’t work because either I didn’t write the correct code(which is possible) or pins for the Bluetooth don’t work like the switch or button.  I was given the option to try to write a program for the android but there was no way to learn to write the code in a short amount of time (having four other finals to complete took priority).

After giving up knowing  I would not be able to make the arduino and android talk to each other I moved on to just sewing the parts together.  Because this wrist cuff was bigger I didn’t have to cut certain size pieces of cloth.  I decided to use the folds that were already there so all I do was measure how much cloth I needed and cut off the rest.  Then I sewed the lights and board into the interfacing, which I then stuck into the sleeve.  Because of the different power source, I had to sew that to the outside of the wrist cuff.  But because the positive and negative were to far spaced out from the board and power source i was unable sew the conducive thread corrected.  Instead i just used the clips to provide power.  Since the wrist cuff formed to my wrist the components with the interfacing did not slide around.

I did not want leave the wrist cuff unsatisfactory so I decided to upload a simple code so the lights turn on.  So what I thought was a good idea fell short leaving me with the same thing we did in the first project.  What I’ve learned from this is that what might seem like simple idea in your head could be a strenuous feat to try to actually accomplish with technology.

Oct 282013
 

 

Exmobaby-Pajamas-Track-Baby-Vitals-Use-AT-T-WirelessIf there is one thing that all new parents have in common, it is the desire to understand exactly what their little bundle of joy is thinking and feeling. There are dozens of products in circulation that try to bridge the gap between the mind of the infant and their parents which include audio/video baby monitors and millions of insightful baby-interpretation books. Stepping far beyond these devices, however, is the Exmobaby technology. The company, Exmovere, has created a device that actually has the ability to easily, safely, and accurately read your baby’s moods, vitals, and physical state.

The Exmobaby is an article of clothing that contains a band of dozens of tiny sensors and monitors that can keep track of virtually every aspect of your baby’s physical state. This product comes in the form of a hypoallergenic onesie that comes in four sizes, ranging from newborn to twelve months of age. The electronic components of the garment (a thin strip around the middle and a separate wireless transceiver housed in a pouch on the front) are removable so that the garment is completely machine washable. The main electronic components are housed separately in a “bay station” that does not come in contact with the baby, ensuring that the infant is kept safe.

According to Exmovere, the Exmobaby uses embedded electrocardiogram, skin temperature, and moisture and movement sensors, to wirelessly transmit the baby’s vitals to the receiving device via bluetooth. The system constantly monitors the baby’s physical state and is then able to detect any abnormalities or alarming symptoms. This information is then sent from the monitor to the phone/tablet/computer of the parent/grandparent/nanny/etc. The accompanying smart phone application also allows the user to create alerts based on different physical states of the baby. For instance, if you notice your baby is happy at a particular time, you could save those vitals so that you will know next time that mood arises.This would be particularly helpful with moods like “hungry” or “tired” which can often leave inexperienced parents completely perplexed.

exmobaby_2

The Exmobaby, while targeted at new parents, would be particularly useful in cases of babies with medical issues. Babies with heart problems, seizures, or mental disorders could be monitored remotely by the parent, providing much more peace of mind. Parents can keep track of their baby while at work, on vacation, or when simply leaving their child at daycare for the day.  With the app connected to the monitor, this product also becomes even more relevant with parents of today’s generation who rely on their technology more than ever before. This is also good news for Exmovere because, as stated in the article “The App Wars Come To Wearables – Consumers Will Be The Winners“, apps which aid in everyday life without being strictly fitness related, are going to skyrocket as more emerging companies like Exmovere begin to utilize them.

This device will open up a whole new world for wearable technology as well as parents as they can now closely monitor their babies health and mood right from their smart phone. The Exmobaby takes “wearing your heart on your sleeve” to a whole new level and I can’t help but wonder what they will think of next.

Nymi – Your heartbeat is the password

 Posted by  Wearables  Comments Off on Nymi – Your heartbeat is the password
Oct 222013
 

The necessity for passwords to access your accounts, all the way up to accessing your phone, has slowly been increasing.  With each new device you have or new account you make you have to remember a new password.  However, some people like to use the same password on everything, which is very insecure.  A development team at Bionym Inc. is developing a wristband that will act as a password  for all your devices.

The Nymi lets you use your unique heartbeat to authenticate your identity.  The Nymi allows you to wirelessly access devices such as your computer, smartphone, and car.  When you clasp the Nymi around your wrist, it powers on. By placing a finger on the topside sensor while your wrist is in contact with the bottom sensor, you complete an electrical circuit. After you feel a vibration and see the LEDs illuminate, your Nymi knows that you are you and your devices will too. You will stay authenticated until your Nymi is taken off.  The Nymi also has motion sensors so you can add hand gestures to further authorize access to devices.  If you have the technology, the Nymi can open things like your house door or car door with a simple movement of your hand.

The Nymi is a slim wristband that fits to your wrist.  It will come in three colors white, black and orange.  I think that with such a sleek design people would be willing to wear it.  It is not some bulky watch that will be very noticeable.  The only reason people wouldn’t be willing to wear the Nymi is because they think it will be a very unsecure device that will fall easily to hackers and thieves.

The Nymi is still being developed.  They are willing to take on more people to help them add more possibilities with their product.  With it having the ability to detect your heartbeat, sense movements in your hand, and communicate via Bluetooth, it can be used for a multitude of tasks. 

http://www.getnymi.com/

Sep 242013
 

We live in a world where our pocket-sized supercomputers tell us the best place to have dinner, how to get there, and what the traffic is like, while our cars have sensors that warn us not to back in to the fire hydrant at the end of the driveway on our way out. With all of the technology that surrounds us and directs us through our daily life, it is a shame to know that the visually impaired, the people who need direction the most, largely still depend on the use of canes and service animals to navigate.

MIT named Anirudh Sharma as Indian Innovator of the Year under age 35 for his "Le Chal" project.

MIT named Anirudh Sharma as Indian Innovator of the Year under age 35 for his “Le Chal” project.

Anirudh Sharma, a 24 year old researcher in Bangalore, India, made it his goal to change that. He has designed the first low-cost, unobtrusive, haptic shoe for the blind. The project has been eloquently named “Le Chal” which is a Hindi translation of “Take Me There”.

The shoe works in partnership with a smartphone application which can use Bluetooth to connect any GPS enabled smartphone to the shoe. The shoe itself contains small vibrational actuators on each side, as well as proximity sensors, and is powered by an Arduino Lilypad, all of which are located in the interior of a completely normal looking shoe.

The user speaks his desired destination into the voice activated smartphone app, which finds the best route via the phone’s GPS system, and gives the user vibrational cues on how to get there. Also, when the user comes within proximity of an object that could obstruct his path, the actuators on that side of the shoe begin to vibrate, getting stronger at closer range, alerting the user of the object’s location and the direction to navigate around it.

Possibly the best part of this system is how unobtrusive it is. The visually-impaired rely on their sense of hearing to understand what is going on around them, so a directional assistive device that used vocal or sound cues would impede upon that. The quiet vibrational cues free up the rest of the user’s senses.

This product is still in the testing phase and is projected to be released before the end of 2013. If testing goes well, this innovative product has the possibility to free the visually-impaired from their canes and service animals within certain environments, making them feel empowered and independent. However, some places (specifically many large US cities) are not built to be very pedestrian-friendly, and a service animal would likely remain the safest means of navigation. But, having the freedom to make that choice, and to travel safely and independently in pedestrian-friendly areas is a significant step in the right direction for the visually impaired.

Further Readings:

Anirudh Sharma’s Portfolio – Le Chal
The Economist – Footwear for the Blind
CrunchWear – Bluetooth Shoes Offer Independence for the Visually Impaired
MIT Technology Review – Haptic Shoe for the Visually Impaired