The women in wearable tech 2015

Part 2 of our annual who's who of the wearable tech world
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A great deal of time and money is currently being funnelled into plans and programmes created to empower young women to pursue a career in technology.

Although extremely valuable, there's anything more inspiring to a younger generation than seeing female leaders, designers and developers making a huge mark on their respective industries day in and day out.

Check out last year's list: Women in wearable tech 2014

And here at Wareable we're particularly interested in exploring which women are focusing on making wearable technologies smarter and, well, more wearable than ever before.

Although you could argue that women don't necessarily need different kinds of tech products to men, it's short-sighted to overlook the fact that for any product, service or idea to penetrate a diverse and mainstream market, it needs a diverse team fuelling it. A team full of people that bring all kinds of different experiences and opinions to the table, which rather critically includes a mix of both male and female voices every step of the way.

So here our ten leading ladies in the world of wearables:

Meng Li

Co-Founder and CEO, Moov

The women in wearable tech 2015

Product Designer Meng Li and her co-founders dreamed up the idea of Moov whilst she was working at Microsoft Research. Her thinking behind the unique tracker and digital coach hybrid was simple, after a running injury she realised she didn't know her body as well as she thought she did. But what did she know? Tech:

"I just thought I knew my body so well. At that moment I realised that I didn't. I knew my iPhone better than my body."

Considered one of the most innovative wearable tracking devices on the market because it collects so much data and provides no-nonsense real-time feedback for a relatively low cost, the Moov started its life as a crowd-funding project. As of September 2015, Meng Li and her team have launched the next iteration of the tracker, the Moov Now, proving that with the right product and the right team there really is longevity after a Kickstarter campaign ends.

Read our full interview with Meng Li.

Urska Srsen

Co-Founder Bellabeat

The women in wearable tech 2015

Urska Srsen co-founded female-focused technology company Bellabeat in 2014 and married her early love of product design and sculpture with her growing passion for women's health. Which is how the company's first product, the Bellabeat, was born. A wearable device created for soon-to-be mums to listen to their unborn child's heartbeat, record it, and then send it to family and friends.

Like all Srsen's previous projects, Bellabeat's latest wearable offering, the LEAF, has been designed with women in mind. And when it comes to female health you could argue it's one of the most holistic trackers on the market because it paints such a detailed picture of a woman's wellbeing, from stress monitoring tech through to fertility tracking, and everything you'd expect from a regular ol' wearable in-between.

Diana Chang

Industrial Design Lead, Misfit

The women in wearable tech 2015

Diana Chang currently leads the industrial design team behind some of Misfit's biggest products, most recently the brand's first connected home device, the Bolt lightbulb.

However, Chang's accolades spread far beyond the Misfit brand, as she's also contributed to design projects for Jawbone, helping to collaborate on the design of the UP3 wearable, as well as taking concepts from sketches to finished products for a number of fashion, packaging and interior design projects.

It's Chang's unique experience in these areas, the world of fashion, the interior spaces of the home, the nuances of packaging design and the aesthetic demands of creating accessories that wearable tech brands of the future will need in their design teams to create products that seamlessly integrate into peoples' lives and no longer just fall neatly into the consumer tech vertical - but instead straddle many.

Ayse Ildeniz

VP New Devices Group, Intel

The women in wearable tech 2015

Ayse Ildeniz has been working through senior roles at Intel since 1998 and is now leading the brand's wearable offering, which she kicked off in a big way last year with the MICA smart bracelet.

MICA was one of the first wearables to really appeal to a style conscious audience thanks to collaboration with fashion house Opening Ceremony and the Council of Fashion Designers of America at launch. And this fusion of tech and style is something she's keen to foster in the future, spearheading partnerships with the likes of Fossil, Oakley and Tag Heuer to bridge the gaps between wearable tech, watch and must-have accessory.

Chosen by Fast Company as one of top 100 creative people in business in 2015, Ildeniz is also the founder of the Women in IT platform

Read our full interview with Ayse.

Stacey Burr

VP wearables, Adidas

The women in wearable tech 2015

Back in 2005 Burr founded wearable tech and e-textile company Textronics, which was one of the first to commercialise wearable technologies and smart-sensing garments created specifically with fitness in mind. So it's no surprise that Adidas quickly snapped up the company and Burr now heads up the sports brand's wearable division.

She spearheaded the Adidas miCoach fitness monitoring ecosystem producing a diverse product line from wrist-mounted optical HR wrist devices to the miCoach smart ball. When we spoke to Burr back in April she told us the future is definitely in even smarter sensors and connected clothing, something which she knows all about from her days at Textronics, "Connected clothing is absolutely the future […] Smaller non-intrusive sensors, more efficient data processing and energy harvesting capabilities will all lead to making wearables a more intrinsic part of our lives."

Check out our interview with Stacey Burr.

Francesca Rosella

Creative Director, Cute Circuit

The women in wearable tech 2015

Since 2004 the Cute Circuit team has been a pioneering force in the wearable tech space, experimenting with the fusion of tech, art and fashion in a truly unique way.

Creative Director Francesca Rosella has been one of the biggest driving forces behind the company's vision, dreaming up beautiful, futuristic smart textile creations wired with micro-electronics that would look at just as at home in a sci-fi movie as they would on the runway.

Read more: How Cute Circuit brought the magic back to fashion

In fact Cute Circuit's range of quirky LED creations and high-fashion e-garments have garnered the brand a mainstream following after they were worn by a number of celebrities, including Nicole Scherzinger and Katy Perry.

Ariel Garten

Co-Founder and CEO, InteraXon

The women in wearable tech 2015

Ariel Garten studied neuroscience at the University of Toronto but is also a keen fashion designer and artist, so it's no surprise her career has led her into the world of wearable tech.

She is the co-founder and CEO of InteraXon, which some wearable tech fans will know is the team behind Muse. A brain-sensing headband that can monitor brain activity and send data back to a phone or tablet, providing users with real-time feedback about how calm they are, enabling people to learn how to de-stress, mediate and quite literally control their brain.

Garton is excited about what the future holds for Muse now that third party developers are available to build their own apps into the headband.

Tan Le

Founder and CEO, Emotiv

The women in wearable tech 2015

Tan Le is the founder and CEO of Emotiv, a biofeedback company that isn't focused on tracking your steps or your heart rate, but wants to really get to know your brain. Using electroencephalography (EEG) readings the Tan Le and her team want to better understand the human brain. And the applications for this kind of tech are endless, obviously it can be used in a medical setting, but has huge scope in the world of gaming and entertainment, the sporting world, art and even defence and security.

As well as heading up one of the most pioneering brain tech companies in the world, Tan Le was also named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2013 and was named Fast Company's Most Influential Women in Technology in 2010 and Forbes' 50 Names You Need to Know in 2011.

Ling Tan

Designer, Umbrellium

The women in wearable tech 2015

Ling Tan is a designer and artist who originally trained in architecture but whose career has now spanned a range of different industries, including interior design, art, tech and of course wearables.

She specialises in exploring the applications of wearables and biometric devices and what they mean for human bearability, how people interact with them and also the ethical implications of these always-on pieces of tech.

Ling Tan currently works with the Umbrellium team on a number of neuroscience and interactive design projects. The company is a little different to your standard wearable tracking startup, created to build tools to "support citizen empowerment and high-impact engagement in cities" Umbrellium's projects to date include mass-participation events, art installations fuelled by wearable tech and a number of experiments into how the Internet of Things can be applied in the modern world.

Kate Unsworth

Founder and CEO, Kovert

The women in wearable tech 2015

Kate Unsworth is passionate about real-world connection, cultivating a healthy work life balance and enabling people to switch off from their stress-inducing, always-on digital lives. Her answer? Wearable tech. It may sound counter-intuitive, but Unsworth believes that armed with the right subtle, connected and customised devices we can get way more smart about how we interact with the digital world and pay a little more attention to the real one.

Read more: Why Altruis is the product of Kate Unsworth's digital detox

Unsworth has combined her knowledge of the tech industry, interest in fashion and passion for empowering people to take better control of their digital lives to create a range of wearable devices at Kovert that straddle the line between tech and fashion accessory better than anyone else on the market at the moment.

Her latest offering, Altruis, is the smartest piece of jewellery you'll ever meet and can be customised to alert you when you want to be alerted. Meaning you can leave your phone in your pocket (or even, shock horror, at home) safe in the knowledge Altruis will let you know if there's anything you really need to know about.

How we test

Becca Caddy


Becca has been writing about technology for nearly ten years. In that time she’s covered topics from robotics and virtual reality to simulated universe theory and brain-computer interfaces for a wide range of titles, including TechRadar, New Scientist, Wired UK, OneZero by Medium, Stuff, T3, Metro and many more.

She’s passionate about helping people wade through tech jargon to find useful products they’ll actually use – with a focus on health and wellbeing.

Becca is also interested in how scientific developments and technological advances will impact us all in the near future. Many of her features ask big questions about what’s in store for wearable technology, especially the potential of virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

She spends a lot of time interviewing researchers and academics to explore the ethical implications of a world increasingly filled with tech. She’s a big fan of science-fiction, has just traded in her boxing gloves for weight-lifting gloves and spends way too much time in virtual reality – current favourites include painting in TiltBrush and whizzing through space in No Man’s Sky.

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