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Misfit Wearables founder explains ‘turnaround test’

by Stuart Wilson, Wednesday 2 April 2014

Sonny Vu, founder of Misfit Wearables, reckons authentication could be the area of functionality that transforms wearable technologies from optional accessories to essential devices that individuals never leave the house without. “I always like to apply the ‘turnaround test’ to wearable products,” explained Vu. “By that I mean would I turnaround and return home to get it if I was halfway to work and realised I had forgotten it?”

“Authentication might be the area that means wearables start to pass the turnaround test,” he claimed. “None of the tracking devices really pass it yet.”

Vu believes that wearable technologies are already starting to see widespread adoption, despite limited functionality and designs that are not necessarily aesthetically pleasing.

“We’re getting the world warmed up to the idea of putting technology on your body. Wearables are not just a buzz topic now – there are millions of people actually using wearable technologies, but it’s not hundreds of millions yet,” said Vu.

He continued: “A lot of the current products are Wearables 1.0 – by that I mean they are bulky and plastic and you have to charge them. These are barriers that the industry needs to tackle. In terms of functionality, we are still quite limited too.”

“A successful wearable products needs to be either beautiful or invisible – there is not much space to operate between these two points,” he added.

Misfit Wearables is the maker of Shine, a physical activity monitor that users can wear anywhere. The company announced the release of the Shine App for Android at the end of 2013, significantly expanding its potential customer base.

Shine is an all-metal, lightweight activity monitor that can be worn anywhere on the body to track activity and sleep. It synchronises wirelessly with smartphones and is powered by a coin cell battery for between 4 and 6 months, allowing users to forego cables for synchronising or charging.

Sonny Vu was speaking during a panel discussion at the Wearable Technology Show in London on Tuesday 18th March 2014.

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