Five Crowdfunded Wearable Tech Devices to Watch

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We are witnessing — and taking part in — one of the largest shifts in product development of our time. Crowdfunding has completely reinvented what it means to create a product, reducing the time to market and bringing a more complex and innovative set of goods to the marketplace.

Even a cursory look through the popular crowdfunding platforms shows that there are some very interesting products being developed, very quickly, in the wearable tech arena. Here are five.

1. Fin: A ring that makes your hand a gesture based control for common actions (Funded, 4 days left)

Fin is a small ring, fitted for the thumb that turns your hand into a numeric keypad; it also uses gesture-based controls such as hand waving. It’s designed to be connected to smartphones, smart TVs, automobiles and home automation. One can imagine tech like this becoming commonplace for every day use. Plus, it has the very altruistic benefit of helping people with limited mobility or visual impairment.

2. Atlas: Nike Fit Band on steroids, with a Strava-like competitive facet (Mega-funded 18 days left)

As an owner of a Garmin, I was blown away that my device could figure out when I was doing freestyle versus breaststroke. Atlas makes this look like child’s play – it knows a bicep curl from a hammer curl, and even tells you if your form sucks. And, you can teach it new tricks (cross fitters, rejoice!). Oh, and it builds in a Strava-like community that lets you measure your activity against your friends.

3. Haloband: A wristband that controls your smartphone (Funded, pre-ordering now available on Indiegogo)

Perhaps the simplest on this list, Haloband could be a very common device in the very near future – because it is simple to use and can pretty immediately address common problems. An extension of your smartphone, it uses NFC (on NFC enabled phones) to perform tasks, without having to dig your phone out of a pocket or bag. These tasks could include switching songs on your media player, or even taking the place of your office pass card.

4. Atheer One: Google Glasses with a 3D angle (Funded)

Google Glass has spawned all kinds of me-toos. Antheer One does a better than average job of doing so. With a depth sensor, it gives a three dimensional immersive view. And, it combines what appears to be a more complex set of gesture-based controls. Watch the video, it’s hard not to see how these glasses are paving the way for immersive user experiences.

5. Angel: Blood Oxygen Sensor (Funded)

An open API will really give this product an interesting future. Yet, even off-the-shelf, Angel is pretty powerful. Worn on the wrist, it monitors pulse, temperature, activity and blood oxygen level. With funding, the company plans to transfer and integrate that data into smartphone apps, laptops and even treadmills. The device has great potential for not just athletes — who are the obvious first-users — but also for those with medical conditions that require regular monitoring.

[Originally posted on the Proving Ground blog]


The No Right Brain Left Behind Initiative

Last week, Band Digital joined “No Right Brain Left Behind” (NRBLB) – an initiative led by some of the brightest minds in the industry to solve the creativity crisis in U.S. schools. The challenge was issued to the creative community during Social Media Week to come up with ideas that will help bring creativity back into the classroom. Because creativity is what breeds innovation. And innovation is our future.

Agencies and companies from around the world took part. It was ideation in warp speed. In the end, Band came up with a single, powerful idea: the Creativity Bee. A Creativity Bee would leverage the familiarity of already-popular school events such as spelling and math bees and science fairs, but serve to highlight and celebrate a new value in education: creative thinking.

Read more about Creativity+Bee here.

But enough about our idea. Yes this is a competition, and we want your vote. But in the end, the best idea doesn’t just win a contest – it solves a crisis in our schools. There are a lot of smart and well thought out ideas on the website. We encourage you to check them out and vote for the ideas that you think do it best.

In this process, we have been fortunate enough to meet and watch some really smart people and agencies. We met Literacy Head, a group that has selflessly worked to put together a bi-weekly online magazine that connects literacy and the visual arts. Check out their submission, The Creative Schools Movement. We also stumbled into Longbow and Swan, who put together a terrific blog post on NRBLB and whom also submitted three great ideas to NRBLB.

You don’t have to be a NRBLB team member to take part in the movement. Get out and vote! Make these ideas a reality. The top three ideas will be recognized and then put to pilot in 2010 and 2011.