Single-function wearable devices are old-school and a massive waste of potential, according to a new Toronto-based startup called Kiwi Wearable Tech that’s building a hardware device as well as a cloud-based platform for leveraging data gathered from their wearables to build a wide variety of different experiences. The Kiwi team was at the Disrupt Hackathon this year, and built a demo app to show the power of its platform, which translates motion captured by its device into music using cloud-stored MIDI files.
Kiwi co-founders Zaki Hasnain Patel and Ashley Beattie say that the hack can use any kind of instrument that can be made into a MIDI-based output, and that since it works via the cloud, it’s possible for a number of “players” to use Kiwi-based instruments simultaneously for collaborative music creation.
The purpose of Kiwi is to turn its Move platform into something that developers can use to build a wide range of apps – you could have a fitness-tracking app like RunKeeper use it to track your activity, for instance, then use it for monitoring motions during a baseball swing in order to try to derive the optimal body movement for big hits, and then have the same device turn on your connected home lighting system and activate your home theatre when you get home using a series of gestures (in addition to measuring movement, the Kiwi Move can detect things like double taps on this surface and sides, too).
That’s only the beginning, however. Patel and Beattie say that they’re working on ways in which the Kiwi could help with early alerts for health problems – detecting heart attacks in advance, for instance, by keying into early warning sings. Beattie says that current methods make it possible to detect a heart attack up to 13 hours in advance, and that working with developers in the medical community, Kiwi could be able to provide a warning at least roughly 3 hours ahead of time, based on their current research. It’s another example where they’d be relying on the community to take advantage of their platform to advance the possibilities, but it’s an interesting example of what could be accomplished by not limiting wearable tracking to just a single purpose.
Kiwi has yet to ship any hardware, but it has a working prototype, is currently taking pre-orders via its website and plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign on September 24. Kickstarter is their target crowdfunding platform, since its launch in Canada and high-profile makes it a good option for a Toronto-based startup, but says it could consider other options, as well.