CES 2018, in Las Vegas Nevada, ended its run this past Friday 1/12/18. The show was exhilarating, while also creating sheer exhaustion. While touring the show floor, attending media events like Pepcom/Showstoppers and a ShellyPalmer breakfast featuring the Property Brothers, I ran into multiple companies offering new products, rehashing old devices and making a plethora of smart devices.
One of my favorite pieces of technology from the show was the PowerWatch X from Matrix Industries. The watch features were similar to most smartwatches on the market: water resistance (200m for the X version), push-notifications from your smartphone, step counter, sleep tracker, and apps for iOS and Android to further customize your experience.
The PowerWatch X is an upgrade to the standard PowerWatch. With the new watch, you can expect an increase in diameter from 46mm to 50mm, in weight from 50–60g to 60–70g, in water resistance from 50m to 200m, and now notifications. The more robust watch is designed to go everywhere you go. If you have used modern generation smartwatches, you will realize that you will need to charge your watch daily. The Matrix PowerWatch and PowerWatch X no longer require charging via standard methods. Matrix Industries has created the first watch to be powered solely by body heat, without any required charging. It uses advanced thermoelectric generators and utilizes the heat of the body to power the device. When you remove it, it goes into sleep/lower power mode, and when you put it back on, it reactivates. While utilizing the heat from the body as energy, it measures body heat production and provides a more accurate measurement of calorie consumption.
The reason that I liked this technology was less for the watch and more for the implications of the charging technology. After learning about the PowerWatch/PowerWatchX, I started researching about body heat collecting clothing from North Carolina State University. If our clothing can monitor expended body heat, more accurately count calories, capture wasted heat and utilize it as energy, imagine the possibilities for our monitored technology. The thermoelectric generators require a hot side/cold side and an insulating layer of plastic to generate a difference in temperature. The device uses this differential in temperature to create a current to charge a small battery. The neatest part of this technology is that it generates more power as the ambient temperature is cooler than your skin or if you become more active than the ambient air. The company provided a very convenient table on their website to show this concept. Either utilize more energy and heat up your skin with movement/activity or make sure that the ambient temperature is cooler than your skin. It will not work at temperatures >90 degrees. However, it will store the data for one year.
This technology originally piqued my interest, when I learned about the 2013 Google Science Fair entry by 15-year-old Anne Makosinski. The technology has been used to power LEDs and has been improved upon in the Lumen Body Heat Flashlight. The watch is yet another iteration of this technology. With battery technology lagging behind the enhancement of our devices, alternative charging options become even more important. What if we couple the body heat generator with a shoe air generator? For example, we could have air chambers in the sole of our shoe. With one way valves, stepping could push air from one chamber into another, spinning a gear. As you release your step to lift your foot and decrease pressure, this vacuum could pull air into the original chamber through another one-way valve. The energy to move the air comes from activity, and the sealed air chambers turn gears, which could then be used for work. I have not recently researched a technology as much as with thermogenerators, the Peltier effect and Seebeck effect. The watch was okay, but the charging technology was amazing.
UVisi Sun exposure App and Sun Clip
The second most interesting piece of technology was another wearable. UVisi attempted to solve a significant problem of sun exposure. Most of us are aware that UV light (More Specifically UV-B) is the most common cause of skin cancers (Melanoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Basal Cell Carcinoma). To protect our cells from DNA damage from the UV-B light, we need to avoid contact with the rays. The best methods to avoid exposure are to remain indoors or to wear skin covering clothing. If you desire to participate in outdoor activities, you can utilize sunscreen as a temporary skin barrier. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a Broad-Spectrum UVA and UVB protecting SPF >30 (>97% blockage of UVB rays), water-resistant sunscreen.
It is recommended to use a sufficient amount of sunscreen to coat all of the skin that is not covered by clothing. The American Academy of Dermatology website further recommends using about 1 ounce, or the amount to fill a shot glass, and to apply this 15 minutes before outdoor activity. Most of us can remember to apply the first coat, but we fail to reapply every 2 hours and after swimming/heavy sweating activity. We also mistakingly think that higher SPF sunscreen allows you to stay outside longer (THIS IS FALSE). Lastly, we have different skin pigmentation and sun sensitivity. At CES UVisi introduced a free App that monitors the sun exposure, defines your skin sensitivity, sun intensity, time of exposure and allows you to plan your day based on sun forecast. With the application, UVisi also has released a device/clip for the app, to measures intensity of UVA/UVB light and to provide real-time alerts when it is time to avoid sunlight. The device is water, heat and dustproof.
The device/App combination is another wearable that strives to improve your health. Combining information about sun intensity, skin type and the sun protection you are using, the duo suggests safe sun dosing and warns you when to avoid sunlight or when to go indoors/reapply sunscreen. Use the application to scan your sunscreen, wear the sun clip to measure the sun and learn how to protect yourself from skin cancer. Amazingly, this technology originated in the mind of a skin cancer survivor, who wanted to reduce the 1:6 chance of skin cancer in Europe. For you outdoor enthusiasts, keep an eye out for this device on the market, it will be available for preorder soon.
STM and Element Case AR Experience
The third most interesting piece of information detailed at CES 2018, was a new form of advertisement. I invite you to download the Stmggods.com/stm-App and download the iOS app or the Android Google Play App. Additionally, visit the AR experience Element Case iOS App or Android App. No other company is using AR in this manner, and it was truly exceptional. STM provided AR cards for their Kings, Trilogy, and Judge bags, a general AR experience card and stick anywhere stickers. Open the App and center the image of the card with the camera. You will see the bag elevate out of the card. You can see the colors, the compartments, an X-ray view of the bag loaded and unloaded. Using the place anywhere sticker, you can see how the bag might look on your back. Imagine using this for jeans, for shirts, for other clothing items and shopping online with the ability to see what it may look like on your person. Perhaps the next iteration will be position markers for waist, knees, thighs, ankles, etc., and the AR app can fit the clothing to you!
The App was amazing and provided a fun little interactive view of the bag. As stated previously, this is not being done by other companies. Using this technology, you can see the dimensions of the bags instead of reading about them. You can see the color with the shape, instead of a simple boring 2D image. The stick and scan images were a really neat addition to the AR bag cards and likely provided a better showcase for this technology. Similar to the STM Bag experience, the Element Case Black Ops experience for the iPhone X is exceptional. Once the application is downloaded, open the application and scan the box (or a cardstock box front). You can activate the experience by touching the center of the case. You will see the box transform in front of your eyes, adding layers of the case like a Combiner from Transformers. Once complete, evaluate the materials, spin the case around and see how it will enhance your iPhone X.
The technology was new and unique and it will enhance the future shopping experience. Utilizing the camera on the iPhone and AR features, the consumer can interact with a companies product like never before. This was truly a highlight of CES 2018. Download the app and look at the above AR cards to see more.
Originally published at macsources.com on January 16, 2018.