Outdoors + Tech newsletter – December 11, 2017

Outdoors + Tech news articles, blog posts and research papers for December 11, 2017



Prototype Experts Help With Design, Development of Wearable Technology

Assembly Magazine, Jim Camillo from

… “We’re in the wearable business, so all of our components have thin wall thicknesses,” explains [Aurelian] Nicolae. “And, we wanted to design everything to be as small as possible.”

PL produced the tiny plastic parts for Whoop’s prototype to exact dimensions and with specified features, and delivered them quickly. The minimum size machined part PL makes is 0.25-inch square and 0.04-inch thick.

“In the development phase, we tried out all sorts of sensor configurations, sizes, size locations, housing designs and how they attach to the mostly fabric bracelets,” says Nicolae. “We quickly understood how accurate we were going to be in performance measurement.”


Ask the expert: How can wearables help me?

Bupa (UK) from

You might think that wearable tracking devices – or smartwatches as you might know them – are just for the fitness fanatics out there. But they can actually help you with your health and wellbeing in so many more ways. Professor Greg Whyte, a sports scientist and former Olympian, is a brand ambassador for FitBit. Here he explains all the different ways you might be able to benefit from a wearable.


Winter sports, a growing area for wearable technology

Gadgets & Wearables, Dusan Johnson from

Winter sports are a growing area for wearable technology according to a new Club Med report, Mapping Ski Trends Winter 2017/18.

We have come to associate fitness trackers and smartwatches with step counts, keeping tabs on calories, distance and sleep, but there is a growing range of high-tech gear designed specifically for winter sports. This includes everything from smart ski goggles to GPS enabled helmets. Some, such as the POC Spine VPD Vest which molds to your body to protect you from nasty falls, have even been approved by the International Ski Federation (FIS).


11 health, fitness apps that are coming to the Fitbit Ionic

MobiHealthNews, Jonah Comstock from

When Fitbit announced, after months of hints and rumors, that it was launching a smartwatch, it seemed likely that the answer to one big question would determine whether the health and fitness company could succeed: Could Fitbit build an app store to compete with the Apple Watch’s?

Now, the app store in question, Fitbit’s App Gallery, is finally starting to take shape. Fitbit announced today that it has more than 60 apps and more than 100 watch faces available, including a number aimed at different health and fitness use cases, both from third-party developers and from Fitbit.


Garmin® and NXT-ID Subsidiary FitPay Expand Garmin Pay to Visa Accountholders

PR Newswire, Garmin and NXT-ID from

Garmin International, Inc. (NASDAQ: GRMN) and Fit Pay, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD), today announced that the Garmin PayTM contactless payment feature is now available for eligible Visa credit, debit and prepaid accounts from many of the network’s major participating issuing banks. The new feature on Garmin’s latest smartwatch, the vívoactive® 3, enables consumers to make highly secure contactless payments at near-field communication-enabled (NFC) point-of-sale (POS) terminals, allowing them to tap to pay at millions of retails locations and contactless-enabled ATMs.


non-wrist wearable

6 Challenges to Understand Before Starting a Wearable Medical Device Project

Design World, Diana Eitzman, Ph.D. and Kris Godbey from

Skin is unlike any other substrate. It sweats, grows hair, secretes oil, harbors bacteria, constantly sheds old cells, regenerates new ones and changes with health, environment and age – characteristics that are far from universal.

Understanding these unique skin factors and the design challenges they present prior to delving into a stick-to-skin device project will help steer the product development process down a clearer path, the benefits of which will be felt by manufacturers, engineers and end users alike. Not only will implementation of this knowledge lower the likelihood of irritating or damaging skin – it will also work towards a more cost-effective and time-efficient process. Not addressing these issues from the get-go can elongate a project’s timeline or cause the budget to prematurely run dry.

The good news is that these negative outcomes are preventable.

1. Understanding the science of skin


How implants powered by ultrasound can help monitor health

Stanford University, School of Engineering from

Using safe sound waves to deliver both energy and instructions, a team of researchers unveil a family of ‘electroceuticals’ — tiny devices designed to diagnose and treat disease.



A smart, portable and miniaturized system that can analyze sweat

EPFL, News from

EPFL researchers have teamed up with startup Xsensio to develop a tiny, fully portable system that can encapsulate and analyze biomarkers in a person’s sweat. The low-power system, which fits on a chip measuring under 1 cm², was presented this week at the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in San Francisco.


Wearable sensors: modalities, challenges, and prospects

Lab on a Chip journal from

Wearable sensors have recently seen a large increase in both research and commercialization. However, success in wearable sensors has been a mix of both progress and setbacks. Most of commercial progress has been in smart adaptation of existing mechanical, electrical and optical methods of measuring the body. This adaptation has involved innovations in how to miniaturize sensing technologies, how to make them conformal and flexible, and in the development of companion software that increases the value of the measured data. However, chemical sensing modalities have experienced greater challenges in commercial adoption, especially for non-invasive chemical sensors. There have also been significant challenges in making significant fundamental improvements to existing mechanical, electrical, and optical sensing modalities, especially in improving their specificity of detection. Many of these challenges can be understood by appreciating the body’s surface (skin) as more of an information barrier than as an information source. With a deeper understanding of the fundamental challenges faced for wearable sensors and of the state-of-the-art for wearable sensor technology, the roadmap becomes clearer for creating the next generation of innovations and breakthroughs.


Eken H6s 4K Action Camera Review

Pevley from

Let me introduce you to Eken H6s – one of the recent action cams released by EKEN. The Chinese manufacturer has been around for a while. They established their reputation with H9 model which was one of our best cheap action camera picks. That particular model made the company famous and increased their sales substantially.


GoPro’s time as king of the action cams is under threat

Wareable (UK), Jon Stapley from

… Pavle Djordjevic is the founder of Pevly, a blog dedicated to all things action camera, and he has noticed a definite shift away from GoPro.

“People are certainly becoming more and more aware of the alternatives,” he says. “In the beginning there was only GoPro, but now we have incredible number of brands fighting for the market.”

Pavle’s attention was first drawn to alternative action cameras back in 2014, when he was shopping for an upcoming trip and was turned off by the price of the Hero 3 Black. He found the SJ4000 from SJCAM, one of the first cheaper GoPro alternatives.


RunPow vs. RunScribe vs. STRYD – Comparison Features

the5krunner blog from

December 2017 sees Garmin’s RunPow go live for public consumption. RunScribe are still in beta with their running power algorithm as they fine-tune the PACE accuracy components. STRYD is there too as the incumbant.



What should you look for in an energy bar?

220Triathlon, Lucy-Anne Prideaux from

… Look for energy bars that aren’t loaded with refined sugars, and generally speaking, choose a bar that contains as many natural ingredients as possible because they tend to be kinder on your digestive system.

Avoid over-feeding – too much fuel can be counter-productive and is likely to make you slower, rather than faster. Aim to consume 60-70g carbs per hour, whether from energy drinks, bars or gels. Small 35g bars contain around 15g of carbs and 4g of protein. Larger 68g bars can contain up to 45g carbohydrate and 10g protein. So look at the nutritional balance and content of bars and factor this into your fuelling plans, especially during races.


Develop better hydration habits with the DrinKup water bottle

Digital Trends, Lulu Chang from

You can lead us to a full bottle of water, but sometimes, you just can’t make us drink. While we’re all perfectly aware of how important hydration is, many of us would be hard-pressed to cite a recent day in which we actually consumed the recommended half a gallon of water (or eight eight-ounce glasses). That could change, however, with the introduction of the DrinKup, a water bottle that claims to combine smart technology, design, and convenience to not only wean folks off plastic water bottles but also help them develop proper hydration habits.


Meet the Next Generation of Ski Bindings

GearJunkie, Sean McCoy from

Salomon S/Lab Shift MNC functions as both an alpine and tech ski binding. And it works with pin-tech boots and traditional alpine ski boots alike. In development for seven years, it’s a major revolution in ski bindings.


NOVA Running Jacket Illuminates For Safety With Push Of A Button

SportTechie, Logan Bradley from

Designers at NOVA have created a solution alleviating dangers associated with late-night running. They are introducing the world’s first self-illuminating jacket which lights up at the press of a button. The jacket offers visibility at three settings: low, high and blinking.

NOVA’s patent-pending LightGuide technology eliminates any need to carry a bulky flashlight during your evening run. Instead, a half-ounce, concealed battery ensures you will be seen from up to 450-feet away. Fully charged, the battery lasts up to eight hours, meaning so long as you’re going out for anything less than a 50-mile run, you’ll be visible to passersby.



Ultra-Thin Micro-Fiber Sensed Eyed for Medical Monitoring, Diagnostic Apps

Design News, Elizabeth Montalbano from

Researchers in Singapore have developed one of the smallest and most versatile sensors yet for healthcare applications with the design of a stretchable microfiber sensor with the diameter of a strand of human hair.

A team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) developed the sensor, which can be woven into textiles—such as a glove—to monitor the vital signs of patients, such as heart rates and blood pressure.

The sensor solves a key challenge to the development of wearable technology—the lack of comfort in the design of the sensors necessary to provide the data-collection technology such devices use, said Professor Lim Chwee Teck of the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Engineering.


Graphene at the forefront of a sports footwear revolution

design products & applications (UK) from

British sportswear brand inov-8 has teamed up with The University of Manchester to become the first-ever company to incorporate graphene into running and fitness shoes.

Laboratory tests have shown that the rubber outsoles of these shoes, new to market in 2018, are stronger, stretchier and more resistant to wear.

Graphene is the thinnest material on earth and is 200 times stronger than steel. First isolated at The University of Manchester in 2004, it’s the world’s first two-dimensional material at just one-atom thick and has the potential to revolutionise many areas of technology.



Are winter sports too elite to have a secure future?

ISPO, Julian Galinski from

The winter sports industry, above all winter tourism, is nourished by the hope for snow winters and masses of winter athletes. But this approach is neither promising nor future-proof – according to expert Christoph Engl. And he has suggestions for how the industry can get away from interchangeability and the resulting price war.


Clif Bar Started With A Hungry Cyclist And A Mom Who Liked To Bake

NPR, Morning Edition, Guy Raz and Renee Montagne from

Gary Erickson, who was inspired by his mom’s baking to create Clif Bar, a top-selling energy snack, is the latest guest on Guy Raz’s new podcast HOW I BUILT THIS. [audio, 4:07]


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