This week spotlights the area’s wearables and robotics innovators. Voting is now closed for this category.
Ambrose Diaphonic Ear Lens from Asius Technologies
Asius Technologies is a Colorado-based start-up with an office in McLean that develops innovations based on the physics of sound, with the help of grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. To cut down on in-ear fatigue and hearing loss, the company has developed a membrane that can be built into a traditional earbud headphone, designed to counter the harmful in-ear pneumatic pressure that can result from having a listening device sealing onto the ear. The company says listeners get a clearer sound without having to turn down the volume, as the membrane doesn’t dampen acoustic pressure within a person’s ear.
Impact Counter from Brain Sentry
Diagnosing concussion in children usually relies on after-the-fact reporting of symptoms, but Brain Sentry aims to automatically identify causes of concussion as they happen. The company’s Impact Counter is a wearable sensor resembling a USB flash-drive that attaches to the back of a young athlete’s helmet to keep tabs on rapid head movement and impact to the head. The sensor allows coaches to spot risk factors as they occur and identify which athletes have the highest concussion risk.
Cyber Armz from CyberTimez
Leesburg-based CyberTimez offers an in-home system designed to make everyday household actions voice-operated via smart-watch. The company codes the watch to the each user’s voice and outfits cabinets, doors and appliances with various rods and widgets that open them automatically. The product is still in the prototype phase, but the company is partnering with the D.C. Center for Independent Living, a local nonprofit, to pilot the program in 20 houses.
Inspire from Inspire Living Inc.
In development by Fairfax-based Inspire Living Inc., Inspire is a portable product that monitors a child’s vital signs and remotely communicates the results to a parent or doctor’s smartphone. The device circles the baby’s body just under the arms, keeping tabs on seven measurements including heart rate, body position and anxiety level. Inspire is still in the prototype phase, but the company is testing it with aid organizations Project Hope and the International Rescue Committee.
Hands Free Cleaning from Intellibot Robotics
Intellibot Robotics is a Portland-based robotics company with research and manufacturing centers in Richmond that sells floor-cleaning robots for commercial use. The company’s cleaners stand waist-high and come in three separate models, tailoring the cleaner to the specific needs of the building. The robots can be operated manually via remote control, or can be set to clean on their own without the user’s direction.
Qore Performance is a Fairfax-based start-up that has developed athletic apparel that cools the body during strenuous activity. By placing cooling packets on strategic “pulse points” on a person’s body, the technology mimics arterial cooling techniques employed by paramedics. The company markets the product for independent athletes, soldiers abroad wearing heavy equipment and, more recently, aid workers who spend long periods of time wearing hazardous materials suites.
Sensor-Smart Affordable Autonomous Robotic Platforms from Robotic Research LLC
The use of advanced technology in disaster relief is often inhibited by circumstance: rescue officials don’t know what they will need until after a crisis has occurred, and the crisis could be far from the closest manufacturing center. Gaithersburg-based Robotic Research LLC is working on an adaptable 3D printing system and spare parts database that would allow for the rapid-fire production of components needed to assemble disaster assistance robots. If the process were scaled up for use, crisis-response agencies could deploy the system close to the scene of a disaster and churn out spare parts on the spot, eliminating the time-consuming process of purchasing and shipping them.