How 10 wearable tech companies got their unusual names

When in doubt, go Latin
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My name means Wisdom Sparkle. I don't know too much about how I got it but I do know the first part is from Greek, second part Moroccan. If pushed, I'd have to say that yes, it does sound like the name of a porn star's pet.

Which brings us neatly onto wearable tech companies, and how they got their names. You probably know the origin stories of Google - a googol is a 1 followed by a hundred zero's - and Amazon - basically just a huge river that begins with A so Jeff Bezos liked that. But here are a few you might not have heard of.

Oculus

WareableHow 10 wearable tech companies got their unusual namesOculus means 'eye' in Latin; Palmer Luckey was quoted saying it's just a "supercool word". Hey, he was 17 when he built the first prototype and it is supercool. The Rift, his first VR headset, refers to the "rift between the real world and the virtual world."

Misfit

WareableHow 10 wearable tech companies got their unusual namesSonny Vu named Misfit after Steve Jobs, who died 11 days before it was founded. Specifically this quote: "Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently..."

Fitbit

WareableHow 10 wearable tech companies got their unusual namesWhen James Park and Eric Friedman founded Fitbit, they knew they wanted a name with "fit" in the title. They tried tying it to some other words, starting with fruits and vegetables where they came up with "Fitberry" and Fitcado" as potentials. As the story goes, James had a nap and had an epiphany for the name Fitbit.

GoPro

WareableHow 10 wearable tech companies got their unusual names

CEO Nick Woodman says the name comes from the fact he'd heard surfers talking about wanting to "go pro", one benefit of which was that people would take footage of/for you. Enter GoPro: the wearable action cam that captures what you're doing.

Xiaomi

WareableHow 10 wearable tech companies got their unusual names

Xiaomi means "little rice" or "millet" in Chinese. You know, the stuff in bird seed. Healthy? Ancient? This one hasn't really been explained but MI - its Western branding - has been said to stand for either "mobile internet" or "mission impossible".

Garmin

WareableHow 10 wearable tech companies got their unusual names

Pretty straightforward this one. Garmin is a combination of the first names of the company's two founders: Gary Burrell and Min. H. Kao. It's that simple. What a bromance for the ages and better than the original name: ProNav.

TomTom

WareableHow 10 wearable tech companies got their unusual namesWhat we love here isn't the story - Harold Goddijn gave his team 48 hours to think of a character in 1999, Tom topped the list, became TomTom - but an Ericsson exec's response: "What do you think we're doing, selling teddy bears?"

Doppler Labs

WareableHow 10 wearable tech companies got their unusual names

Unconfirmed but we'd bet our Here Ones that Doppler Labs takes its name from the Doppler effect. It's the change in frequency of a wave as the source move towards/away from you & explains why the pitch of sirens changes. Cue AR audio.

Bellabeat

WareableHow 10 wearable tech companies got their unusual names

Bellabeat's two co-founders Sandro Mur and Urska Srsen merged Bella-, meant to signify women, and -beat, a reference to a baby's heartbeat, for their startup which now makes lifestyle trackers as well as connected pregnancy accessories. Cute.

Bragi

WareableHow 10 wearable tech companies got their unusual names

Again uncomfirmed but hey, we googol-ed. Bragi comes from the word bragr which means "the best or foremost" in Old Norse. And it's also the Old Norse god for poetry and a name in Scandinavia - founder Nikolaj Hviid is Danish.

Which wearable tech startup or company names have got you scratching your head? Let us know and we'll find out what they mean or where they came from.




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Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.


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