Cannes Lions 2016: Wearable tech stars at the festival of creativity

Smart clothing, VR and hearables pick up awards at this year's show
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While the Cannes Film Festival attracts some of the biggest names from the world of filmmaking, Cannes Lions is an 8-day event that invites the most creative minds from across the globe. Whether that's through entertainment, innovation or life-changing examples in the world of health.

This year, wearable tech truly made its presence felt in the South of France, picking up prestigious awards in some of the event's biggest categories.

Essential reading: Best VR films at Cannes Film Festival 2016

Project Jacquard, Google and Levi's connected denim jacket, won the Grand Prix for innovation beating Doppler Labs' Here Active Listening earbuds and the Dot Braille smartwatch, which were also among those shortlisted for the award. The smart jean jacket will allow users to control their mobile experience and connect to a variety of services, such as music or maps, directly from the jacket sleeve. It's launching in Spring 2017 with a limited beta version rolling out in Fall 2016.

While Doppler Labs didn't walk away with a Grand Prix, it did earn a Product Design Lion award for the wireless earbuds that let you filter out the sounds you can hear on a daily basis. The Dot Braille smartwatch was also recognised with a Product Design Lion award for communication. Developed by Korean startup Dot, the wearable for the visually impaired has four sets of six dots, which raise to produce four braille characters at a time to make it easier to interact with.

Going Gaga over Intel tech

Cannes Lions 2016: Wearable tech stars at the festival of creativity

Elsewhere, Lady Gaga's tribute performance to David Bowie at the Grammys picked up a Gold Lion award in the Design Lions category. Teaming up with Intel, the popstar's performance included digital skin projections and Intel Curie-powered smart rings.

Unsurprisingly, VR was prominent as well with a series of immersive demos and shorts being recognised in the Digital Craft Lions category. Help, a live action film made for mobile and brought to life through a collaboration that included Google's ATAP special projects group, won a Gold Lion award. The impressive The Martian VR Experience picked up a Silver Lion in the same VR category. Samsung Brainband, a wearable that wants to tackle concussions in contact sports was also recognised in the Digital Crafts category for innovative use of technology.

There were wins elsewhere and you can see the full list of winners on the Cannes Lions website, but what's clear is that there's plenty of diversity in the world of wearable tech right now and long may it continue.

WareableCannes Lions 2016: Wearable tech stars at the festival of creativity

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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