Canada's Taken Charge of Innovation in Wearables
Canada is leading the charge when it comes to wearable devices. From the release of the first smart watch with a record setting Kickstarter campaign, to recent EEG brain wave measurement and biometric sensor devices, Canada's wearable startups are turning heads
But don't just take our word for it, check-out the 10 Canadian Wearable startups below - updated December 2016:
1) Myo - Gesture Control Armban
Thalmic Labs, a start-up from Kitchener, has developed a controller that needs no screens, but rather uses EMG sensors to measure electrical activity in one’s arm to generate commands called Myo.
And Myo has proven to be a versatile device, with uses ranging from translating sign language to flying drones.
2) Nymi - Wearable Security Device
With so much exchange of information in this digital era, security and identity authentication have become important concerns. And sometimes passwords, just don't cut-it. That's why Nymi, a spin-off from the University of Toronto, is using electrocardiogram technology to identify the unique signature of the wearer.
By connecting this to other devices, the goal is to save the time that is required to enter passwords while providing a higher degree of digital security. This technology is currently being tested through a partnership with the Royal Bank, and will likely be gaining more traction and users soon.
3) Muse - Brain Fitness Tool
Out of Toronto, InteraXon Inc. has created Muse, the brain sensing headband. Worn around the forehead, it boasts to enhance the brain’s fitness, resulting in a calmer, more composed mind.
It works essentially through electroencephalography (EEG), the measurement of brain waves, measuring four types of brainwaves generated by the brain and giving the user auditory feedback when it senses that the brain has become distracted. Essentially, this is the tool for high-tech meditation.
#4) Gymtrack - Gym Equipment Tracking
Gymtrack is an Ottawa wearables startup that is leading the charge in the wearable fitness revolution. But, instead of targeting individuals like many bracelet fitness trackers do - Gymtrack is geared towards health clubs and gyms looking to keep members motivated and engaged.
The Gymtrack system works by installing sensors on existing gym equipment, eliminating the need for members to manually track workouts. Instead they members wear a simple bracelet and workouts are automatically recorded to the Gymtrack system – allowing personal trainers and users to monitor their workouts and build customized plans to achieve their goals.
#5) Gesture Logic - Wearable Fitness Band
GestureLogic, is an Ottawa based startup that has developed a wearable fitness device called LEO that directly monitors muscle and other anatomic activity. Similar to other innovative wearable fitness trackers, LEO was propelled into product development following a successful Crowdfunding campaign that raised 3x the initial project goal of $50K. Now LEO is working with Design 1st for help in manufacturing and commercialization their wearable fitness innovation.
6) Recon Jet - Biking app
Recon Jet is the latest heads-up display from Recon, a Vancouver-based company – the same one that came out with Snow2, the smart ski goggles. Similar to their first product, Jet provides the user with the information that curious athletes seek: speed, power, vertical ascent and distance. Furthermore, with connectivity through Bluetooth, WIFI and ANT+, it’s possible to access social apps, some training apps and even maps, should the user want them. These glasses claim to be next season’s secret weapon, but hopefully for Recon, they aren’t TOO secret.
7) Push - Wearable Fitness Tracker
Push, is a Toronto based wearable Strength tracker that claims to optimize one’s training by analyzing and tracking movement at the gym.
After a successful Crowdfunfing Campaign that surpassed the project goal by 160%, Push shipped 2,000 pre-orders in November 2014. The device ($189) itself is a simple armband that measures the acceleration and velocity of a user lifting weights or performing exercises, the output is synced to a phone and accompanying app. From this data, the app can direct the user’s work-out, according to the principles of velocity based training.
8) Hexoskin - Wearable Body Metrics
Hexoskin, is another Montreal smart clothing company, developing shirts with integrated biometric textile sensors. In a similar fashion to OMsignal, the shirts make contact with the skin and relay biometric data to a bluetooth unit.
The key difference, is the fit and function but the concept remains the same: to record the physiological details of a work-out and interpret and track the data via an app.
9) OM Signal - Wearable Fitness Clothing
OMsignal hails from Montreal has incorporated biometric sensors into exercise apparel with the vision of allowing the user to monitor their performance and thereby track their progress. The product ($249) will cater to the ever growing fitness market and provide real-time feedback on the body's performance including heat rate, physical intensity, calories burned and breathing rate. And while still in their infancy, OMsignal plans to expand their technology into a platform for the development of smart clothing products.
10) Pebble - Original Smart Watch
Pebble is a smartwatch famous for setting a Kickstarter funding record of $10.3M in 2012. And while the company is based in Palo Alto, CA – Pebble has deep Canadian roots, with the founder hailing from Vancouver and the first generation Pebble called InPulse originating in Waterloo,ON.
The Pebble ($99) boasts massive battery power, extensive customization and a large array of compatible platforms. Typically smart watches haven’t been popular to date, largely due to short charge cycle; however, Pebble has been credited with striking a good balance between functionality and battery endurance, setting the bar high for competitors. And now with the release of a new wider color-screen model - Pebble is gearing up to take on the release of the much anticipated Apple iWatch.