13 hottest wearable startups to look out for

These small companies are making a big waves in the world of wearables
13 most exciting wearable startups

Wearable tech is in rude health and it's thanks not only to the likes of heavyweights like Apple, Samsung and Google but also to the numerous startups sprouting up through Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaigns.

That means we're continuing to see great innovation from the most unusual of places. It's not just about smartwatches or fitness trackers either. Wearables are beginning to go beyond the norm, evolving the tech we know and love and taking it to the next level.

Essential reading: 50 Wareable tech gamechangers for 2016

We want to pay homage to those innovative minds that don't all have the big bucks to play with but still manage to give us the kind of wearable tech we love writing about.

In no particular order, these are Wareable's top startups we think you should definitely be keeping an eye on.

1. Doppler Labs

It's augmented reality for the ears. That's what the folks at Doppler Labs, a 3-year old company, has sought to achieve with its Here Active Listening earbuds.

First it started out with the Dubs earplugs but the breakthrough has come with the wireless earbuds that let you customise your listening experience.

We've tried them and we really liked them, and we're not the only ones. It looks like the music world wants a piece of the action too. Coachella will have stages at this year's festival optimised for Here's tech. DJ Tiesto has worked with the team to create one of the first artist-customised modes, a preset filter designed by the DJ according to his sound.

2. Leaf Wearables

The Indian smart jewellery startup is just a year old and has a clear vision for wearable tech and that's to keep women and families safe.

It launched its Safer smart necklace last year on Indian crowdfunding platform Ketto and racked up plenty of pre-orders in no time. This is a wearable with a difference connecting to a smartphone over Bluetooth to send SOS alerts to friends and family about your location. It can even send a text when you can't reliably connect to the internet.

This doesn't look like your typical wearable though. It hides the tech inside a costume jewellery style body. Leaf Wearables has already raised significant investment and was picked as one of the top 10 innovative startups by India's Department of Science Technology. Big things surely beckons for this talented team with a mission to make one million families safer around the world.

3. Ossic

We are into the first stage of getting VR into the home. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets have landed and PlayStation VR is due to arrive later this year.

Next it's about the software and the accessories that can take that immersive experience one step further. That's where Ossic feels it can play a major part. With the expertise of former Logitech and Pioneer employees to call upon, it believes accurate 3D audio is essential for VR and has packed its headphones with positional tracking tech that is able to take into account a listener's anatomy to create that sense of accurate, immersive sound.

VR gaming sounds like the perfect audio partner for the Ossic headphones but it hopes to bring us closer to music and even when you're settling in to watch a movie.


4. Salted Venture

Samsung's experimental Creative Lab (or C-Lab) has spawned a series of startups including Salted Venture, a company that has designs on smartening up the shoe.

But it's not tracking steps or distance like Under Armour's running shoe or a whole host of fitness trackers. It's building the IOFIT shoes with pressure sensors in different parts of the feet to help golfers and gym goers improve performance.

Not only is it building the good looking footwear, which we've seen up close, it's also creating the impressive software that uses coaching and video comparisons to give meaning to your data.


5. MyZone

Heart rate monitor chest straps have been around for a while now. Just ask any serious runner that's been using a Polar or Garmin running watch.

What the folks at MyZone have done is take heart rate training and make it push you to train harder. It's achieved that by adding a points system that studies your effort over time and handicaps your levels depending on your stats.

Adding that competitive edge along with a new clothing range that now offers both men and women the opportunity to up their training means MyZone is showing that you can breathe life into old tech.

6. GOQii

The startup based in California and India recruited a pretty high profile name in the shape of Google's former exec Amit Singhal as it tries to break America with its fitness program that goes beyond tracking.

So why is GOQii attracting one of Silicon Valley's big names? Probably because it's taking a slightly different approach to wearables when you put it up against Fitbit and the rest.

The fitness wristband, which is free is just part of the deal. It's about buying the monthly subscription where you'll have a personal coach looking at your data and helping work on your fitness targets.

We've been critical of the major players not putting enough emphasis on adding value to data and this is one company that is intent on changing that in a big way.

7. BodyCap

Ingesting tech and monitoring from the inside is a reality now and we've tried it. This French company has been busy over the last few years designing a pill that looks like a normal paracetamol capsule you can swallow and monitor core body temperature on the move.

Read this: Swallowing a smart pill - the future of sports monitoring

It's primarily designed for elite athletes and for the medical industry to aid patient care for doctors. BodyCap hopes to add more sensors in the future that could take monitoring from inside to the next level and could mean you never have to actually wear a fitness band again.

8. Embrace

With a team based out of Milan and Boston, Embrace have come up with a fitness tracker that's not your standard fitness tracker.

The stylish smart band can do a fair bit more than a Fitbit. Built from polished metal and Italian leather, the Embrace is equipped with sensors to track electrodermal activity also known as sweat induced moisture. Along with measuring temperature and movement, the Embrace is able to identify when a user is anxious, depressed and stressed.

What makes it so unique is that it's also able to detect if someone is having an epileptic seizure through its Embrace Alert System. You can pretty much call this a lifesaving wearable.

9. Whoop

If you're a NBA fan then you might have heard about Whoop. Born out of the Harvard Innovation Lab, this Boston startup is at the centre of a controversy after a player wore one during a game, which is against league rules.

Why the big fuss? The wrist worn wearable is built for elite athletes so they can monitor heart rate, heart rate variability, skin temperature and more. The data is able to give coaches and players insights into performance, prevent injury and aid recovery to keep players fresh for the next game.

Last year it raised $12m in funding and has Mike Mancias, the long term trainer of a certain LeBron James as an advisor. The NBA might not want it on the court, but if it can keep the top players playing at their best, they may yet still be persuaded.

10. Hexoskin

The Montreal startup has been heading the smart clothing revolution from the start joining Omsignal, Athos and company by launching its first shirt in 2013.

It's made sensor packed apparel built for the gym, when you're out running or even cycling and now it's opening its platform for third party fitness apps to tap into the data to help give smart clothing more appeal.

Essential reading: The benefits of smart clothing

Even more impressively, Hexoskin's kit is going up to space. After winning a contract with the Canadian Space Agency, it's even going to help crew members monitor vitals during long haul space travel. There's not many startups that can claim that.

11. Motus

This sports wearable for baseball players is causing quite a stir. The US startup is putting all of its expertise into understanding biomechanics to prevent sports injury and to help athletes analyse performance and is already being used by professional players.

Late last year it launched its first full body sensor wearable providing real time data for the batter and the pitcher.

This year its smart sleeve has been named as one of only two devices authorised to be used during MLB games, which is a major breakthrough for tech in sport. We expect to hear a lot more about what Motus has in store for sluggers everywhere.

12. Lumo

Lumo has only been up and running for five years, but it's clearly learning fast about the world of wearables. First it launched the Lumo Back, a posture aid before shrinking the tech to make its stylish Lift activity tracker that also stops you from slouching.

Now it's turning its attention to smart clothing. The Lumo Run could help get smart clothing into the wardrobes and drawers of the masses. It's keeping its run tracking apparel affordable first and foremost. That's not something you can say for most first gen smart clothing. It's also introduced a Run sensor giving you the option to smarten up your existing running shorts and save yourself even more money.

13. Hykso

How many wearables can you name that are built for boxing? Yep, there's not a lot out there. If you ever tried wearing a fitness tracker on your wrist while hitting a punchbag, you'll know Fitbits and Jawbones don't cut it either.

Check out: The best gym wearables and trackers

This Canadian startup has come up with a pair of sensors that slip into your hand wraps leaving you free to measure key boxing elements like punch count and strike intensity. You can even see how you fare against professional fighters and work through gruelling training drills.

Hykso has already been inside the boxing mitts of professional fighters so it comes with a ringing endorsement. This could be a real winner in the ring.

2 Comments

  • Paras says:

    Thanks Warebale for this wonderful feature on Leaf Wearables

  • TommyDuquette says:

    Thank you Wareable and author Michael Sawh for including Hykso in this prestigious list! If you even need any info from me in the future, please feel free to reach out at t.duquette @ hykso.com. ;

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