TORONTO WEARABLES MEETUP 24: PUSH AND KIWI WEARABLES
Friday August 19th, 2016

Mike Lovas of PUSH gave a talk not only about the PUSH armband, which tracks reps, force, and other parameters of weightlifting, but he told us about his “crazy road” of bringing the PUSH product to market.  He outlined several areas of importance to the realization of PUSH, and that may equally be important to other designers and developers of wearable tech products:

Iteration: First the PUSH team looked at a product that would attach onto a barbell. 
They spent 5 months working in this area before they decided to make it wearable.  This illustrated the importance of iteration of a design: make lots and fail often.

Business Development and Funding: They spoke to lots of people that knew a lot about venture capitalism and raising money.  Lovas suggests that one knows where one stands on whether one would want to go it alone or incubate money.  For PUSH, they decided to join up with the JOLT incubator.

Intellectual Property: With the business aspects being so new to them, the PUSH team needed to grow to include a diverse range of skills and knowledge sets.  The team involves engineers, designers, and now business advisors to help navigate the business side of things.  IP is a sticky issue.  As Lovas puts it: “IP = Cover your ass”.

Marketing: The PUSH team launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.  A huge part of crowdfunding is marketing, for which they hired a publicist to work with. This paid off by getting PUSH covered in Mashable, TechCrunch, USA Today, and others.  It also paid off in direct sales for their Indiegogo campaign. 

Testing: Ran focus groups and developed a beta testing program. They now have some professional athletes to beta test the product.  Lovas: “Half of the beta testing program is us managing the expectations of the beta testers.”

Quotes and Middle People: Lovas tells us that manufacturing “isn’t really taught in design school”.   To ensure the product gets made properly, the PUSH team leaned heavily on mentors from both within and outside of school (university) to make sure the product gets made properly.

Certifications: Required for the PUSH device and similar wearables: CE, FCC (radiation/Bluetooth/wireless), UL (battery), SA, and FDA. 

Mass Production and Supply Chain Management: The PUSH team had to figure out the process of mass production and supply chain management.  In other words, how could they make lots of stuff and keep it on schedule.

Sales: The work of sustaining the business.  Lucky for PUSH, along with their successful Indiegogo campaign and the general customer base, they’ve also had professional sports teams signed up to get their product when it is released.  This goes a long way for breaking into the market.  

KiwiWearables

Kiwi Wearables are trying to open wearables to other possibilities by moving away from measures like step tracking and providing a tool that anyone can use to develop more interesting products/projects.  KiwiWearables “Move” board is a printed circuit board consisting of a Wifi shield, 9-degrees of freedom (magnetometer, gyroscope, accelerometer), and microprocessor unit.  The board can be programmed using their in-browser programmer.  Kiwi Wearables is attempting to launch a new platform which will allow users to customize their experiences with the board, for example for what data gets measured, what it means, and how it gets used.  And, you don’t need to be a programmer to do it.  A few simple lines of code can give you access to all your raw data.  The Kiwi Platform uses Javascript, which makes for easy integration with Processing IDE.  Here are some example uses that the Kiwi team envisions:

Assisted Living: The Move can help people who require assistance.  The Move can be used to turn lights on and off, or can be embedded inside clothing.

Art and Performance: Makes tech easier – you don't have to deal with the hardware.

Wearable Tech and Health:  Could potentially monitor whether someone has taken medication

Wearable Tech and Changing Behavior:  Someone developed an app using Move to track the motion of smoking a cigarette.  Would pop up a picture of family, etc. to prompt the smoker to stop.  The device is capable of “machine learning”, which means repeated behaviours become “learned” and remembered by the processor.

Wearable tech and fashion: How can we make the technology disappear into the clothing?



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Mike Lovas of PUSH gave a talk not only about the PUSH armband, which tracks reps, force, and other parameters of weightlifting, but he told us about his “crazy road” of bringing the PUSH product to market.  He outlined several areas of importance to the realization of PUSH, and that may equally be important to other designers and developers of wearable tech products:

Iteration: First the PUSH team looked at a product that would attach onto a barbell. 
They spent 5 months working in this area before they decided to make it wearable.  This illustrated the importance of iteration of a design: make lots and fail often.

Business Development and Funding: They spoke to lots of people that knew a lot about venture capitalism and raising money.  Lovas suggests that one knows where one stands on whether one would want to go it alone or incubate money.  For PUSH, they decided to join up with the JOLT incubator.

Intellectual Property: With the business aspects being so new to them, the PUSH team needed to grow to include a diverse range of skills and knowledge sets.  The team involves engineers, designers, and now business advisors to help navigate the business side of things.  IP is a sticky issue.  As Lovas puts it: “IP = Cover your ass”.

Marketing: The PUSH team launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.  A huge part of crowdfunding is marketing, for which they hired a publicist to work with. This paid off by getting PUSH covered in Mashable, TechCrunch, USA Today, and others.  It also paid off in direct sales for their Indiegogo campaign. 

Testing: Ran focus groups and developed a beta testing program. They now have some professional athletes to beta test the product.  Lovas: “Half of the beta testing program is us managing the expectations of the beta testers.”

Quotes and Middle People: Lovas tells us that manufacturing “isn’t really taught in design school”.   To ensure the product gets made properly, the PUSH team leaned heavily on mentors from both within and outside of school (university) to make sure the product gets made properly.

Certifications: Required for the PUSH device and similar wearables: CE, FCC (radiation/Bluetooth/wireless), UL (battery), SA, and FDA. 

Mass Production and Supply Chain Management: The PUSH team had to figure out the process of mass production and supply chain management.  In other words, how could they make lots of stuff and keep it on schedule.

Sales: The work of sustaining the business.  Lucky for PUSH, along with their successful Indiegogo campaign and the general customer base, they’ve also had professional sports teams signed up to get their product when it is released.  This goes a long way for breaking into the market.  

KiwiWearables

Kiwi Wearables are trying to open wearables to other possibilities by moving away from measures like step tracking and providing a tool that anyone can use to develop more interesting products/projects.  KiwiWearables “Move” board is a printed circuit board consisting of a Wifi shield, 9-degrees of freedom (magnetometer, gyroscope, accelerometer), and microprocessor unit.  The board can be programmed using their in-browser programmer.  Kiwi Wearables is attempting to launch a new platform which will allow users to customize their experiences with the board, for example for what data gets measured, what it means, and how it gets used.  And, you don’t need to be a programmer to do it.  A few simple lines of code can give you access to all your raw data.  The Kiwi Platform uses Javascript, which makes for easy integration with Processing IDE.  Here are some example uses that the Kiwi team envisions:

Assisted Living: The Move can help people who require assistance.  The Move can be used to turn lights on and off, or can be embedded inside clothing.

Art and Performance: Makes tech easier – you don't have to deal with the hardware.

Wearable Tech and Health:  Could potentially monitor whether someone has taken medication

Wearable Tech and Changing Behavior:  Someone developed an app using Move to track the motion of smoking a cigarette.  Would pop up a picture of family, etc. to prompt the smoker to stop.  The device is capable of “machine learning”, which means repeated behaviours become “learned” and remembered by the processor.

Wearable tech and fashion: How can we make the technology disappear into the clothing?