UW alumni startups bringing tech to your body

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Fashion isn’t just about looks — function plays a role, too. And some of UW Velocity’s alumni are at the cutting edge of wearable technology tailored to solve specific problems.

TritonWear

TritonWear specializes in measuring and tracking swimming performance. The Triton device attaches to the goggle strap at the back of a swimmer’s head. According to co-founder and UW alumnus Tristan Lehari, the Triton “can track [the swimmer] moving through the water from their stroke and it can detect and measure their stroke movement.”

Unlike traditional data loggers (think Fitbit or Google Fitness), all of the calculations for metrics are made on the device. The now-simplified data is sent to the coach’s or athlete’s device wirelessly. This means that they have easy-to-apply data instantly to track and improve performance.

A large part of the TritonWear model is in data analysis — they also perform video analysis using the software to give information on improving athlete performance.

Lehari sees his company’s practice of building wearable technology for a very specific problem or market as the future of wearables. “We saw the first generation of wearable[s] being successful,” he said. “[But] these companies spread themselves too thin … the fad phase wears down and people don’t know what to do with that data.”

Lehari continued, “Ultimately, they have to prove that it works for a small quantity of people before it can work for a large quantity of people.”

TritonWear is available now. It’s already been used by UW and Laurier swim teams, as well as professional swimming teams and athletes.

Suncayr

Like TritonWear, Suncayr is a wearable focusing on one specific problem but on a much larger scale — how can Suncayr protect as many people as possible from the sun?

Suncayr created the SPOT, an adhesive patch that tells the wearer when their sunscreen has worn off. The patches are waterproof, sweat proof and towel proof, but peel off safely. They’re available in both clear and printed designs.

“Ultimately, our goal is to help everyone improve their sun protection behaviour outside. We hope people will use SPOT every time they are outside and exposed to the sun,” said Andrew Martinko, co-founder of Suncayr.

To encourage regular use, Suncayr is aiming to make different versions of the SPOT. The final product will range from a clear, subtle patch that won’t be seen except to indicate it’s time to reapply the wearer’s sunscreen to fun or stylish designs.

“We are working on new (more subtle) designs to make SPOT more attractive for every day use,” said Martinko. “Whereas other fun, visible, and engaging designs will be great for children or others who plan to spend a whole day outside at the beach.”

The SPOT has already passed Health Canada and FDA approvals. Suncayr is beginning a promotional release campaign in Southwestern Ontario starting summer 2017 and retailing in Canada and Australia that same year. They plan to expand to Europe and the U.S. in 2018.

Athos

Athos is an app and clothing combination product that measures the user’s workout performance and gives tips for improvement.

The skin-tight clothing measures muscle activity, heart rate, calorie expenditure, and active time versus rest time. The clothes can detect which muscles the wearer is using, and how much effort each muscle is exerting during a workout. Available in a top and bottom piece, the clothes pick up on biosignals and send the information to a core that clips onto the article of clothing.

The core then sends the data to an app on the user’s phone or tablet, which maps out the data on a human model and gives conclusions that the user can use to improve their workout performance.

Like TritonWear, the Athos product is as much about the software and data analysis as the hardware. How Athos calculates and presents the data to the user is just as integral as the clothing.

Athos products are available now from their site and from Sport Chek stores in Canada.

 

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