SXSW 2014 | Wearable Tech: Game Changer for People with Disabilities?

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Information about SXSW 2014 | Wearable Tech: Game Changer for People with Disabilities?

Published on March 7, 2014

Author: Mutual_Mobile



Presentation is via Jen Quinlan, Senior Director of Marketing, Mutual Mobile and J.P. Gownder, Vice President, Forrester Research for presentation at South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival 2014.

Media and agencies are plagued with tunnel vision. They are stuck thinking about mundane use cases for wearables like Glass that are reminiscent of first phase mobile apps.

Wake up. Wearable tech has the potential for more impact than what brands are talking about. Let’s instead explore more complex use cases and look into how wearable tech can drastically improve lives of people with disabilities or special needs.

In this session we will explore how Glass and other wearables can unlock new possibilities for people with vision issues, hearing issues, or decreased mobility of their limbs. We’ll share real users’ stories, explore how wearable tech may address their needs, and look at what’s possible today versus looking into the future.



“Google Glass has given me a whole new world.”

Jen Quinlan @quirkyinsider J.P. Gownder @jgownder

WHAT YOU’LL GET FROM THE NEXT HOUR: Map the wearables landscape. No two bodies are alike. Glass and beyond. Business tips. Rally call.


First, let’s address the elephant in the room -- the wearables hype bubble

Wearables help people move through virtual and physical worlds Physical Authentication Data Monitoring VIRTUAL Health Monitoring Wearables PHYSICAL Physical Monitoring Collaboration Augmented Reality

Wearables and our Daily Lives

Assistive Technologies Evolution PAST PRESENT FUTURE

Unfortunately, several disconnects are inhibiting innovation

Innovation silos keep people apart Academia Large Startups Vendors Geography

Fragmented coverage inhibits knowledge sharing Medical journals Consumer Social Media Publications

Mass media covers some angles more than others

Finally, perceived business model challenges hold back innovation ● Is the addressable market big enough? ● Can I find VC money to back a business plan aimed at helping those with disabilities? ● Are there greener pastures for wearable computing?



PRODUCTS TO INSPIRE .#wearableshelp.

Wearables can fill four types of needs

WEARABLES + NAVIGATE .#wearableshelp.

POINT LOCUS @David_Barter

Voice commands can be difficult in a noisy city.

“The vibrations would further my independence.”

“It’s an independence tool.” - Jason DiSanto

WEARABLES + COMMUNICATE .#wearableshelp.

Sension plots 78 points to determine the person’s emotion.

PROJECT FIDO Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations

Occupational dogs communicate with wearable tech.

WEARABLES + MONITORING .#wearableshelp.

Garment sensors measure: ● Heart rate ● Respiration rate ● Skin temperature Use cases: ● Medical gowns ● Undergarments ● Blankets Less invasive monitoring for caregivers or doctors

CarePredict combines wearables and beacons to monitor daily living.

WEARABLES + THERAPY .#wearableshelp.

EAVI (Electronic Aid for the Visually Impaired)

MYO armband senses gesture and motion to interpret what your hands and fingers are doing.

#ifihadMYO I would use it to control prosthetic arms, so people can move them as if they were their own arms – David S.

Manuel Dornbusch #ifihadMYO I would use sign language to substitute it for a keyboard in mobile use #ifihadMYO


Global disabilities market is bigger than you think. ● 40M to 45M people are blind. ● 135M have low vision. ● 360M have disabling hearing loss.

Aging population is a GLOBAL issue ● 2B people 60+ by 2050 ● 400M people 80+ by 2050 ● Common aging disabilities: ○ ○ ○ ○ Visual impairment Hearing loss Dementia Osteoarthritis

Sony’s “wig-fi” wearable is actually aimed at the elderly

Glass isn’t the only dual-use wearable

Both Ducere and Thalmic Labs found innovation inspiration

Maker Movement Driving Lower Cost Prosthetics & Adaptive Products

Q&A. LET’S GET A DISCUSSION GOING. .#wearableshelp.



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