QS Meetup #5: What’s new from CES 2016 ?

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For more than one year now, Neotrope gathers the influencers and onlookers of Wearable technologies during a monthly reunion in its headquarters: The Quantified Self Meetups. The fifth edition took place on the 28th of January with a main theme: resume the major innovations presented at Las Vegas’s 2016 CES. Stylists, mathematicians, engineers, students & Wearable experts met during two hours to discuss and exchange about the hottest subjects.

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The program: study the different uses of Wearable technologies in the audience, who uses what? Introduction to the most disruptive innovations presented at the CES, vulgarization of the neuroscientific approach of Quantified Self in the working environment and presentation of 10 years of innovations in smart textiles throughout creators’ initiatives

Survey: Which Wearable for our Self-Quantifiers ?

We asked some questions on the Meetup platform and data shows that 55% of the assembly owns a Wearable (they were 50% during the last QS Meetup) and 80% use it regularly. (62,5% the last time). A limited sample that shows an interesting insight: We know that last year in the UK, 40% of the users gave up their wearables after a few months ( CCS Insight), maybe, most recent technologies can make themselves more transparent.

CES 2016: Adolescent Technologies

Despite the attention brought to virtual reality and self-driving cars this year, many agree to say that the 2016 edition of the show was far from being the most impressive. When you look at the whole picture, years that brought to us the VCR or the cell phone were far more game-changing than 2016.

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We are between two great technological eras: on one side, smartphones and HD TVs reached maturity, on the other side, virtual reality, smart cars and augmented reality are just emerging. We can’t speculate on a real breakthrough entering the market in the months to come, but the manufacturers did present some really interesting new products:

Samsung: Samsung Gear S2 and WELT

The Corean company is spreading: Samsung introduced the compatibility of its watches on iOS. Good news for the Apple fans who want to challenge the Apple Watch

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Another point: the Samsung pay portage on Samsung Gear S2 in 2016. Scheduled for November 2015, Samsung promises that its users will be able to pay with their watch this year.
Mobile payment was a good part of the discussion during the Meetup, it’s obvious questions of securities and privacy must be asked. If mobile payment becomes a thing, who will own the data generated? What use will companies be able to make of it?
Constantly searching for innovations, Samsung also introduced WELT, a connected belt able to measure lots of things (when they used sits). Opinions collided during the Meetup: a good idea, but the battery may be a problem. We already have to charge our laptops, phones and bands, who wants to add a belt to the list?

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Samsung Gear S2: €349.00
Samsung WELT: nc

Misfit: A step for fashionable with Misfit Ray

Recently bought by Fossil, Misfit leaves no doubt about it’s directions: a more fashionable Wearable technology. Misfit Ray was elected Wearable of The Year by the Verge thanks to its beautiful design. In a feature oriented market, fashion could be the trigger for the mass adoption. Misfit isn’t the only one, Apple also created a more fashion collection with it’s Hermes band for Apple Watch

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Misfit Ray: 99,99$

Withings: Battery first with Withings Go and the E-Ink technology

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The french manufacturer introduced a low budget fitness tracker using E-Ink technology. The sensor is discreet and user friendly with its 8 months battery life.
A question has been asked: why don’t we just use our phones as pedometers? Why would we want wearables for tracking? The reason is: complementarity. A smartphone is actually a microcomputer equipped with more sensors than we ever knew: luminosity, steps, distance etc. It is a cell phone tough, a screen. Wearables are extensions of their users, their main strength being their… variability. A smartphone won’t follow your sleep or your coffee break if you forget it on your desk. It is actually a real working point for wearables: getting forgettable.

Half Time: Calculating burned calories

In the Fitbit trial, the company was accused of not measuring properly, it’s users heart rate (In the end, Fitbit got right, the heart rate seems accurate). So we can ask ourselves: after all, how are theses measures made? One of the most difficult seems to be calories taken and lost and how we can measure it. First, the Quantified Self and biometrics must be used as landmarks: the amount of calories lost itself isn’t the point, the amount of calories lost compared to yesterday or tomorrow is. Wearables are all about awareness, when you are a quantified safer, you are aware of the efforts you made or didn’t make so you can adapt to reach your goal. Furthermore the problem associated with the calories counting isn’t about wearables sensors, it is a metter of fact that its still really hard to know how much calories holds a burger.

Theses sensors (accurate or not) may still save lives. Planes, cars, medical equipement are full of it and allow us to predict a danger or an accident before the pilot is even aware of it.

So, is the risk brought by men ?

Humans, weakest elements of technical systems ?

Geraldine, a Neuroscientific introduced us to a vulgarized scientific approach of Quantified Self. After the german plane crash of March 2015 caused by a mentally deranged pilot, airline companies strengthened their researches on new ways of preventing psychological trouble in the working environment. Studies were launched to determine the consequences of the lack of control of companies on the working on personnal environment of their employees.

These companies choose the Qauntified Self as a way to prevent theses unfortunate events. We can mesure psychic and physical health, today the burnout is considered as a real desease and we may be able to diminish the cases thanks to the Qauntified Self. External factors must also be considered in theses mesures.

We have a lot of tools to mesure ne’s brain activity: Magnetoencephalography, electroencephalogram or even MRI to observe the patient’s cerebral activity without him having to be lying down.

But, how Qauntified Self at work is possible, on a practical and legal level ? Companies should not have access to their employees very private datas. So how can we make this happen ? We believe that we have to be self quantified, auto evaluated, the pilot must evaluate himself wth his wearables to determine if he is able or not to do his job. Some questions do remain open, like the fact that sensors may be in trouble in a highly vibrating environnement for example.

Theses systems are still not completly practical and we may ask ourselves: Wouldn’t a robot be more sustainable for this work ? Humans are the weakest point our our working environnement, because they are the only ones facing insecurities and emotions. But we actually created the systems and we are still the ones fixing it when it needs to be. For now, machines can’t replance men because even if it’s caculating speed is superior the notion of concept is still a blur for it and this principle is absolutly essential for a full autonomy.

Besides the features offered by Wearable , it seems difficul to imagine a mass adoption of theses technologies before they make a real step forward into fashion & design. Luckily, today many creators include technologies in their ollections, a phenomenon that raises high hopes for the future of smart textiles.

Smart Textiles, new source of inspiration for Fashion Creators

Anouk Wipprecht and the Synapse Dress

The Dutch fashion creator collaborated with Intel to create a 3D printed dress equipped with bio-sensors. Depending of the distance of the wearer to it’s interlocutors, the dress express its aggressivity through bright flashes. An animal and stylish result:

Pauline Van Dongen and the Solar Energy

Another Dutch creator, Pauline Van Dongen launched a technologic fashion label right after she left the Academy of Arts of Arnhem. Her creations use solar cells to capture the energy around you and transfer it back, to your cell phone for example:

ShiftWear, the infinite style sneaker

Created by David Coelho, Shiftwear comes directly from crowdfunding and will be shipped on the 1st november for 350$. The design is chageable at will thanks to the flexible smart screens on the shoes

A special thanks to all the participants for their engagement and feedbacks ! If you want to join the conversation find us on Meetup !