Electronics on your skin

Wearable ElectronicsKORU Wearable electronic devices come into contact with the body of the person wearing them and move with them. Koru has envisioned various smart bracelets, among other things.

Wearable electronics, such as smart watches and smart bracelets, are currently making a breakthrough comparable to that of mobile phones a couple of decades ago. They are only at the beginning of their development cycle, but the possibilities they offer are infinite.

Finnish expertise goes a long way, if you ask Koru CEO Christian Lindholm. His company lives and breaths the smart bracelet megatrend, developing software that can serve as a platform for several manufacturers, equipment and functionalities.

Suunto, Polar and Nokia have been pioneers in this sector for a long time. That provides a solid foundation from which to take the next step. In a few years’ time, wearable devices will have reached a technical level high enough to be launched on the mass market.

Unique expertise

Koru develops raw materials for future generations’ life management devices. The technology is unique, as it enables entirely new kinds of user experiences – quickly and energy-efficiently, with a small memory capacity and at low operating costs.

— We are not aware of technology like this existing anywhere else in the world. Wearable computers, in other words smart bracelets, do exist, but they use existing platforms which bring certain challenges, such as quickly depleting batteries, says Lindholm.

— We are currently in the process of developing the first generation of smart watches. The biggest difference compared with previously known sports watches is that the products are, in a way, an extension of your mobile phone. The uniqueness of our approach is best showcased by the easy scalability of our platform for various consumer segments.

Keys to success

Christian Lindholm believes in Finnish expertise in developing wearable electronics. (Photo: Lehtikuva/ Tor Wennström)

Christian Lindholm believes that the product made possible by the new software will be an invention just as revolutionary as the mobile phone once was. Interest in the product is already there, but the market still needs to mature to become a mass market.

— Wearable electronics enable the user to do all the things that mobile phones are used for today, but without a large screen: communicate, organise day-to-day activities, pay bills, play games. Smart bracelets are fashion, design and technology all rolled into one. I believe that manufacturers will understand that these are the keys to success of wearable electronics.

As the devices get smaller and their price decreases, technology can be worn in many ways, such as in the form of jewelry. Possible applications are also being developed at Aalto University, for example.

— To date, wearable electronics have mainly been used in sports, entertainment, medicine and military applications. While broad-scale commercialisation is in its infancy, the possibilities are practically endless, says Producer Markku Nousiainen from Aalto Media Factory.

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