With a current market value of S$20 billion and an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.4% by 2019- the global wearables industry is a bright spot within the tech world.
Although large global brands such as Apple- Garmin and Samsung dominate wearable technology- there is still a vast and untapped potential beyond fitness and lifestyle applications.
In Singapore- researchers are already developing wearables that have other applications- such as for healthcare- brain training and social adventure photography. The 360-degree cameras on your wrist and a headband that knows when you
are tired may soon be a reality- thanks to inventive researchers in Singapore.
Leaky drips- beware!
Intravenous (IV) drips are routinely attached to hospital patients to administer necessary medications and fluids.
When IV needles leak their contents into the surrounding tissues- they can cause serious injuries such as skin blisters- tissue deaths- limb deformity and limb impairment. This condition is known as extravasation.
Newborns and young children are at a higher risk of extravasation as their veins are smaller and signs of extravasation- such as swelling- are harder to detect in them.
There are currently no effective medical devices in the market to detect extravasations- especially for ‘slow drips’ that deliver less than 50ml of fluids per hour.
To solve this problem- researchers from A*STAR’s Institute of Microelectronics (IME) have developed an adhesive sensor patch that detects ‘micro-swelling’ on the surface of the skin near an IV needle.
Thin and portable- the patch can detect the leakage of as little as 2ml of fluid. The patch sends a signal to a receiver- which then relays the message to the patient’s clinician via a mobile application in real time- allowing for immediate
The patch has been successfully tested in lab experiments and will undergo more comprehensive clinical trials soon. It is expected to enter the market within the next 2 years.
Capture memories in panorama
Hands-free cameras are in high demand by sports and adventure enthusiasts who want to capture all the action.
However- some head-mounted cameras have a limited field of view. Local optics start-up- Spacemap- may have the solution.
Spacemap enlisted the help of Randy Hipona- an A*STAR IME research engineer who was seconded under A*STAR’s T-Up programme. Hipona worked on the camera’s electronic parts and the baseline hardware before putting the two together.
The result of their collaboration is Beoncam- an “always on” wrist camera which can take 360-degree panoramic shots.
The camera itself has a 190-degree hemispheric field of view. However- two Beoncam units can be used simultaneously- while its companion smartphone app stitches together these separate shots.
Beoncam- equipped with a 5MP waterproof sensor- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi – is capable of storing 5-000 photos or 4 hours of video footage. It also lasts up to 5 days on a single charge.
Beoncam was well-received when it debuted at the CES 2017 trade show in Las Vegas in January. A month later- Spacemap launched a fundraising campaign on crowdfunding platform indiegogo- where the Beoncam hit twice its original US$30-000 funding
target within two months. It currently retails for US$199 and will be available on Singaporean shores by the end of 2017.
As the most complex organ in the human body- the brain plays a significant impact on our daily activities.
However- we may not be aware of the various states of our brain – such as a declining attention span or hormonal-based mood swings – until they reach critical levels.
To enable us to understand our brain health better- researchers at A*STAR’s Institute of Infocomm Research (I2R) have developed a wireless headband that measures neurophysiological signals.
Known as a Wearable Neural Sensing Platform (IWENS)- the headband is fitted with high-performance neural sensing technology that can be programmed to detect and measure brain states such as attention- emotions- fatigue and anxiety.
The headband makes use of integrated high-performance electroencephalography (EEG) and photoplethysmography (PPG) sensing to measure- monitor and improve specific brain functions.
Gap-funded by A*STAR’s commercialisation arm ETPL- IWENS has the ability to measure- monitor and improve specific brain functions- which makes it potentially applicable in the areas of attention training- wellness tracking- personal
safety and security- as well as entertainment and gaming.
For instance- the headband can be programmed to measure fatigue levels in drivers- and release scents when it detects that the driver is tired to alert them.
Currently a working prototype- IWENS is available for commercialization and licensing by interested parties.
A glance of what’s to come
These Singapore-made wearable tech inventions point to an exciting future. Soon- powerful computing can literally be in your hand and help improve our well-being beyond calorie-counting.
To find out how you can license our technologies or partner with A*STAR- email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.