CES 2016: Intel Unveils 3D-Printed Connected Dress

This year at CES, we are seeing a lot of connected clothing that tracks biometric data for fitness and health purposes. Among them, the “Adrenaline Dress” showcased by Intel caught our eyes. Its namesake came from the fact that our muscles expand when our adrenaline level is high. With built-in Curie computing module made by Intel, the dress can monitor your adrenaline level based on the conductivity of your skin, and can expand and contract itself accordingly so that it would always remain a perfect fit. For now, it is only a prototype made entirely with a 3D printer, but it points to an exciting new possibility for the next generation of wearables.


For more of the Lab’s CES coverage, click here.

CES 2016:  Withings Go Brings E-Ink To Fitness Wearables

As with last year, the CES has no shortage of wearables, especially the fitness trackers. Among this year’s new crops, Withings Go stands out with its simplistic design and a super-long battery life – it can go as long as eight months after a full charge, according to the company. The reason is can last that long is because instead of a battery-draining LCD display, it opts for E Ink, the kind of mono-color display that Kindle uses. It does what most activity trackers do, including step counts, calorie intake tracking, and measuring travelled distance. Selling at only $70, it makes a strong case for competing in the lower-end of the wearable market previously dominated by FitBit, who just unveiled at CES yesterday its first smartwatch Blaze that sells for $200.

For more of the Lab’s CES coverage, click here.

How A Health Insurance Is Using Wearable Data To Motivate Its Customers

What Happened
CSS, one of Switzerland’s biggest health insurers, is testing a pilot program to incentivize or, depending on your perspective, penalize its customers based on fitness data. Launched in July, the program tracks the movements of 2,000 volunteers on a daily basis using digital pedometers. The goal is to better calibrate insurance rates based on individual data. Currently, the monitoring can only legally be used on supplementary insurance, but the company reportedly would like to expand it as part of the Switzerland’s mandatory basic coverage.

What Brands Should Do
Fitness trackers and the quantified self movement have grown in tandem, which in turn, generate a vast amount of health data that the healthcare industry can use to improve their service. In fact, CSS is not the first insurance company to utilize fitness data: Oscar Insurance launched a similar test program in the US last year. The company gave away Misfit fitness trackers and rewarded users with Amazon gift cards based on their personal stats. Besides insurers, more healthcare companies should figure out how, within legal bounds, to incorporate fitness data into their incentive programs or even penalization, in order to provide more personalized and calibrated services, understand their customers, and manage risks.


Source: Quartz

Lab’s First Impression: Apple Watch

According to the estimation of shipping tracking company Slice Intelligence, only 22% out of the 1.7 million ordered Apple Watches were shipped this past weekend. Luckily, the Lab received several of our pre-orders on Friday, so some Lab members got to try it on over the weekend. Here are their first impressions:

Adam Simon, Head of Strategy
“The watch immediately became a security blanket for me — it allowed me to not check my phone so often, and not even worry as much about where it might be at any given moment. After taking a hard look at my notifications and paring them down to just the essentials, I now know that anything that taps my wrist is actually important. I’ve been wearing it from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep, with no battery issues at all. Just like the first iPhone was a bit like cultural training wheels for having a computer in our pockets, I think the Watch will wind up being training wheels for having computers on our bodies.”

Scott Varland, Creative Director
“It’s as wonderful and as imperfect as the first iPhone on launch day. It fulfills the basic promise of extending the iOS experience and it succeeds in making its owner feel ‘naked’ without one after using it for a few days. It is not an essential device, but I have no doubt that many iPhone owners will covet one the same way they do a nice case. For all of the new problems smart phones have created (read: peak distraction), this helps solve some by taking the anxiety away. Not having to run for my phone each time it beeps and buzzes is liberating; and not having to look like I need directions at the intersection is confidence-building.”

Michelle Cortese, UX Designer
“I fell in love with the haptics right away. They’re subtle and prioritized, using a range of vibration intensity and frequency to communicate levels of urgency very well. That said, suddenly every notification became more intimately and immediately demanding; by the end of the day, the sensation of a tiny finger tapping my wrist felt more like the nagging of an overly eager younger sibling. A couple times, I was so focused on the Watch that I wound up abandoning my phone on the table. Whoops!”

Interested in trying out the Apple Watch for yourself? If you’re an employee of Mediabrands, visit us on the 9th floor to try it in person.

Event Recap: MobileWeek 2015 Conference

Yesterday, the Lab trekked into the west end of Hell’s Kitchen to attend the first day of MobileWeek 2015. Great talks were given on new developments in the rapidly growing mobile world, and enthusiastic discussion on the future of mobile ensued. Here are the four key takeaways for brands seeking to conquer mobile.

Connectivity is Growing
The evolution of the connected car has long been on our radar and mobile is the current medium fueling it all. Vijay Doradla of Verizon predicted that “by 2025 every car shipped in the world will have some sort of connectivity”. He also believes that the underlying fabric of this revolution is due to low latency and the ability of the network to scale to consumers.

Make Data More Ubiquitous
“There’s too much data out there and too many secrets”. Kurt Collins of built.io explained that if we create a back-end that holds the data of all our mobile devices, we can have a more seamless experience; currently, bowered, data is stuck in silos. In order to have a fully unified experience, Collins believes that the implementation of “personal API’s” that can access all data on all devices will enable personal preferences to continue across all interfaces.

Mobile Security Matters
Gary Davis of Intel put the importance of mobile security in perspective: “the value of the data that sits on your phone is worth 10x that of a stolen or breached credit card”. With the progressive growth of IoT, our connected devices are producing prolific data and the weakest link in this ecosystem of connectivity is the smartphone. Davis states that “30% of people don’t have a pin or password on their smartphone”, which is alarming considering the hypergrowth of malware in mobile apps. Davis also predicts that the “adoption of NFC for digital payments from mobile devices will attract cyber thieves”. Similarly, Andrew Sugaya of APX Labs expressed his concern towards the security concerns of connected devices when discussing the future of wearables.

New Tech To Blend Into The Background
During his presentation on the endless potential of beacons, Kevin Hunter of Gimbal made it clear that the beacon is not only great at sending contextual value offers in retail environment, but can also power new discoveries and experiences at events or venues, seamlessly bridging reality with the digital world. Wearables could be a particularly effective medium for this, but for wearables to go mainstream, they have to seamlessly blend into the background with a natural, intuitive user experience.


A Look Into Apple Watch’s 1 Million US Preorders

Even though Tim Cook won’t comment on the Apple Watch’s official launch other than “great”, new details of the initial market reception towards Apple’s first smartwatch have emerged via shopping data firm Slice Intelligence.

According to the data reported, over 1 million units of Apple Watch were preordered on the first day of its launch, two-thirds of which are for the Sport line, making it the most popular model so far. This is not that surprising, considering the Sport line comes with the lowest prices, making it the perfect try-on choice for early adopters. Moreover, the early adopters seem to skew male, as over 71% of pre-orders were for the larger, 42mm size.

Official sales for Apple Watch will begin next Friday, April 24 ,in nine countries. It will be interesting to see if the global markets, especially China, respond as well as the domestic market so far.

Event Recap: SXSW Accelerator, Part 1

On Saturday, the IPG Media Lab attended the SXSW 2015 Accelerator Pitch-off , which was all about wearable technologies. During the event, judges with VC and startup backgrounds determine which finalist has the most innovative platform or product. Our personal favorites included:

  • SolePower: Their “EnSoles” turn footsteps into a power source and enabling mobile recharging in a snap.
  • Tinitell: This affordable wristphone and GPS-tracker for kids is equipped with a speaker and microphone, Bluetooth, CPU, and voice recognition software that enables children to make a call, from an approved list, by saying the name they want to call.
  • Waverly Labs: A smart earpiece for business professionals that functions as a “personal assistant,” advanced communication tool for groups and teams, and a universal language translation device.


Keep checking ipglab.com for more updates from the floor of SXSW 2015.

How Disney’s Billion-Dollar MagicBand Is Working Its Magic

Read original story on: Wired

Introduced back in November of 2013, the Disney MagicBand is a waterproof plastic wristband that doubles as an RFID-enabled ticketing and payment device for Disneyland visitors, connecting them to a powerful system of sensors scattered throughout the park to offer a frictionless experience. The system, which reportedly cost Disney over $1 billion to develop, collects real-time data about where visitors are, what they’re doing, and what they want to purchase next.

Since its debut, MagicBand has received largely positive reviews and has been credited to the record-high park attendance and Disney resort occupancy in the last quarter. By all accounts, it looks like Disney’s billon-dollar gamble on wearables is paying off.

Header image taken from Disney Online Store

All You Need To Know About The New MacBook and Apple Watch

The public has been patiently waiting for what’s next from Apple, with rumors circling about the Apple Watch and debates swirling about what else the company would debut at the March 9th Apple Live Event.

The most surprising announcement was undoubtedly the new 12” MacBook with Retina Display. At just 13.1 mm at its thickest point and weighing two pounds, it’s the thinnest and lightest MacBook the company has ever made. In order to streamline the laptop, Apple developed innovative features such as a more accurate “butterfly mechanism” for its keyboard and removed a the fan and venting system entirely. (And using just five watts of power, it’s also one of Apple’s most environmentally friendly models.) Interestingly, the trackpad uses the Taptic engine to provide haptic feedback, which was first teased on the Apple Watch. The new MacBook will be available on April 10th and cost between $1299-$1599.

Apple also announced several key details about their first foray into the wearable industry. The Apple Watch will be available in three different styles: Apple Watch ($549-$1099), Apple Watch Sport ($349-$399), and Apple Watch Edition ($10,000). Haptic feedback will be used in several novel ways, such as feeling a vibration when an Apple Pay transaction has been completed. Users will also be able to connect with other Watch wearers by sending drawings and even heart beats. In addition, the watch will serve as a health device, monitoring activity and notifying the person if they’ve been sitting too long. Together, these features make the Watch one of the most personal devices available, and we look forward to seeing how Watches will be adapted when they’re finally on the market April 24th.

Header image taken from apple.com