Wearables for women

Wearables for women

You can think that the design of differentiable technology for men and technology for woman is not necessary. But, really specific wearables for women exist, especially for health topics. The others wearables, despite not being specific for woman, have a feminine designed due to some fashionable aspects.

I am going to mention several of these devices. Some of them are at the market, but others ones not yet, because they are pending of financing (almost always by crowdfunding), in order to going on with its development and coming out to the market. However, results are real for all them.


In relation with health topics, we find a big variety of devices focused on biological questions, such as control menstrual cycle or maternity and pregnancy aspects. For example:

–    Leaf, a popular jewel due to its design, is developed to make fertility tracking. To keep track of monthly cycles. The technological advantages are its autonomy (six months) and capacity (dates for 14 days can be recorded without the connection to an app)
–    YONO Fertility Friend. This device is introduced in the ear and collects basal temperature overnight. Through an intelligent system, predicts and reports fertil days’ information.
–    The ReliefBan bracelet serves to avoid the morning sickness in pregnancy period. The operating philosophy is as of acupuncture. It consists of two electrodes that distract the nervous system through electrical impulses. The brain is distracted and the pain is blocked.
–    Milk sense is placed at breast, before and after feeding during lactation period. It uses alveoli changes for determinate the milk quantity that the baby needs.


They are device that do not have a concrete function for women but the design is for them. Some examples

–    Ombra works as every sportive device. The main difference is that its sensors are integrated in the brassiere.
–    Swarosvki offer us the Lumo Lift. It is a brooch with a sensor, which alerts us when our back position is not correct.
–    At the frontier, we have the Firs Sign forks. The pin detects possible assaults. It has a sudden movement detector. Immediately, it connects to the camera of our smartphone and alert to emergency services. Smartphone provides them the localization, also.
–    In addition, there are intelligent devices for solar protection, such as bracelets, towels, bikinis with UVA sensor, etc. These sensors, via RFIDs, send alerts to smartphone, depending on every skin type.


Talking about decorative or fashion aspects, we have a big offer of wearables. It is said that the bet of important trademarks (such as Swarosky or L’Oreal) allows us to intuit that the fashion-technology fusion will have an important market of the near future.

Inside this group we have jewels with same or similar functions as the smartwatch:

–    The Ringly ring is synchronized with smartphone for warning to alerts and calls through colour and vibrations.
–    The Hungary ring Omate, presented in gold, silver or precious stones.
–    The TagoArc bracelet is characterized by having an electronical ink covering. An associated app allows us to select the design of bracelet and change them when you want.

If we talk about fashion complements, taking out jewels, we have a wonderful offer from the more practice devices, (such as intelligent handbags that allow to charge phone), to the most ostentatious.

I want to highlight the experiments that Ezara and Tuba Cintel are designed, with Intel enterprise; the “dress of butterflies”. This dress remembers the fiction models of Katniss Everden at “The Hunger Games”

Did Nikola Tesla open a door to accessibility? (II)

Did Nikola Tesla open a door to accessibility? (II)

In my last post, published last week, I made a collection with the most interesting definitions of “Internet of things” or this “connected world” accesible for everyone without discrimination because of economic, social or functional diversity reasons.

At the sprint by connect everything and everyone, in the disability world, the called: “connected home” and orientation and mobility are de winner.  These two aspects make life easier to people with disabilities.

In the framework of the “connected home”, the options of applying Internet of Things in the improvement of the quality of life are very spacious. Here, there are some examples:

•    Philips Hue lighting system eases the communication between people with hearing disabilities, using lights to notify the person different signs and sound warnings that they may not listen. This system provides an open software platform, which facilitates its use from external applications adapted to each user.

•    Brands such as Miele and Bosh announced the inclusion of intelligence and connection with smartphones in their appliances, both for the same control to offer other types of services (recipes, shopping list).  Control of electrical appliances to drive, even voice, can be a big advantage for people with motor difficulties, because the use of the conventional controls could be a problem for them.

•    The project SANDS (CARTIF) offers the possibility of the electrical appliances to adapt to the tastes of users automatically. Users only have to express their opinion. Appliances from users with similar profiles, communicate with each other to share recipes that are combined by the machine itself according to each user. SANDS, as in the previous case, allows the configuration and commissioning of electrical appliances from a network application. Automatic adaptation of the recipes could help people with memory problems, or cognitive disabilities to use appliances according to your tastes without having extensive knowledge of the commands.

To facilitate mobility and orientation we have projects such as:

 •    AT&T and Permobil wheelchair, with wireless. Users share information about their status and situation through a secure cloud. You can also modify aspects like the position of the chair.

•    A “Search for parking” systems, as the Viarium Technology, provides information to people with disabilities related to parking.

•    Danok of Konectik is an application that uses iBeacon sensors and technology to provide information about the environment. This application is especially useful for blind people and people with cognitive disabilities.

•    The Aditium Kango project, using cards NFC for tracking schoolchildren during their route to school. This project can also be useful for older people and people with cognitive disabilities or mental illness.

•    The connected headset, Oticon Opn, uses Wi-Fi connectivity and recipes based on TWITTERFEED (IF This Then That) in addition to the traditional functionality, to allow deaf people can set it up to receive alerts such as a bell, or the activation of a smoke detector.

In short, we can see that road to “interconnection of all” can be closer thanks to advances in the IoT.

Did Nikola Tesla open a door to accessibility? (II)

Did Nikola Tesla open a door to accessibility? (I)

Nikola Tesla was a visionary engineer and physical of the 19th century. He devoted much of his life to wireless energy transmission, as have done with radio. He was the first that imagined a connected world which he described with these words: “Anyone, at sea or earth, could receive news or particular messages from anywhere in the world, with a simple and inexpensive device in your pocket; the Earth would seem to an immeasurable brain, capable of emitting a response from anywhere”.

The now called Internet of Things (IoT) is not a big step toward “immeasurable brain”? For those who are dedicated to new technologies, should we be motivated in order to not excluding anyone from this connected world, either for economic, social or functional diversity reasons?

“Internet of Things” is an expression that today has many descriptions, but we can say that is a term invented in 1999 by Kevin Asthon, co-founder of MIT and creator of a global standard system to RFID and others sensors. He used the IoT term to describe a system where Internet is connected to the physical world through ubiquitous sensors.

One of the most formal descriptions belongs to Cluster of European Research Projects (IERC, 2009): “Internet of Things (IOT) is an integrated part of Future Internet and could be defined as a dynamic global network infrastructure with self-configuring capabilities based on standard and interoperable communication protocols where physical and virtual “things” have identities, physical attributes, virtual personalities and use intelligent interfaces, and are seamlessly integrated into the information network”.

Recently, Diego Soriano (CENTAC) described IoT concept in a more friendly way: “IoT is the technology that allows using joint, simple and cheap form, many electronics elements connected to the Internet”

If we combine these ideas with these technological aspects:
•    The large number of available sensors and wearables and in design phase.
•    The use of technologies such as Big Data and Cloud, to analyze, management and store generated data by these devices.

IoT provide enough elements to create products and systems capable of making our lives easier. They are able to interact with the world around us without having to connect to it via cables (alerts in our smartphones, tablet or bracelet from others devices, ability to interact with appliances and security elements in our home from a different location, …). As we will see below this “make our lives easier”, IoT can be especially useful and meaningful for people with disabilities and can imply an advance in their independence.

On the one hand, the general products existence provides application in different fields to different collectives, and, on the other hand, we have specific solutions for disabilities people that, as we always say, they will evolve by quality life to everyone. Compare it with the evolution of accessible architecture.

The following week, we will go on analyzing the different applicances of IoT in the dissability world. In addition of the “connected home”, we will see some specific examples which are already in the market.

ICT Accessibility: duty, gain and satisfaction

ICT Accessibility: duty, gain and satisfaction

At a time when the technologies are present in all areas of people lives, ICT accessibility is essential to ensure equal opportunities for all people in the use and access to resources, products and services.

In Spain, according to the report on Spanish Disability Strategy, 8.5% of the population claims to have a disability.

Take into account this data, the tendency to create rules and standards for companies to offer accesible products can convert it, not just a social good, but also a market opportunity.

Large companies place and begin to direct their projects towards disability. In this March, Microsoft has addressed an informative day focused on the “European Accessibility Standard and its impact on the ICT industry.”

On this day, experts from national associations and public and private entities have gathered with Alex Li, an expert on accessibility and analyst standards in Microsoft.

Together, they have analyzed the implications of this standard, its implementation in the Spanish government and the creation of mechanisms to ensure its compliance.

The European Accessibility Standard was approved in February 2014 and has been adapted in Spain from the European standard EN 301 549: “Accessibility requirements suitable for procurement of ICT products and services in Europe accessibility“.

With this standard it describes the functional requirements in order to ensure ICT products and services are accessible to all people. In addition, the European standard describes the test procedures and the evaluation methodology of each.

Although being aware of the importance of the rule and its contribution to fundamental rights, it is not mandatory, so it urges both administration and private companies to take responsibility for its implementation in the ICT industry.

The involvement of the administration is to include accessibility in tenders and their hiring criteria and ensuring compliance. The private enterprises by offering products with accessibility integrated from the beginning of design.

The most remarkable points of the conclusions of the conference can be summarized as follows:

•    “The standard will bring the technology to a greater number of people “(Alex Li – Microsoft)
•    “Design for all should be incorporated as standard”. (Miguel Ángel Valero -CEAPAT)
•    “The standard establishes minimums. The responsibility for implementation is for everyone”. (Loïc Marínez – Equipo redactor de la norma)
•    “The integration of accessibility is also a moral obligation” (Miguel Ángel Valero – CEAPAT)
•    “Accessible design is a market opportunity that companies must seize” (Jesús Hernández – Fundación ONCE)

As for open debates, highlights the reference to the accessibility warranty and certification of the product. On the one hand, there are those who believe that there should be an external certification to ensure accessibility of products. On the other hand, those who believe that every company must self-certify its product.

Another open debate is the one that refers to surveillance the administration of the standard compliance. Li supports the idea of sanction for breach of contract. For this, in the contract or bid should be clearly included the accessibility of the product or service.

In addition, if accessibility guidelines are included among the criteria for public procurement, the companies that will offer it have competitive advantage over the rest, and the administration has in his hand ensure accessibility of the product.

We have before us the possibility to avoid future sanctions, the market opportunity and satisfaction of creating and selling socially inclusive products.

Is accessibility an option?

Is accessibility an option?

Human nature relativizes disadvantages and problems in depending on what they affect us, personally or our environment. With respect to Accessibility and Universal Design, today, we can find the idea that these are problems that only persons related with disability scope must engage.

At the disability world, we can say that general mentality is quite advanced, although not enough yet, and less what concerns to mental health. The changes of attitude towards disability people started at the Renaissance. In Spain, Isabel of Castile created hospitals for soldiers in which prosthesis and therapeutic device were provided them. Even so, disability did not begin to be seen with clinic eyes until the middle of s. XIX, in order to know the causes and suggest possible improvements. But this issue was addressed from social services. People with disabilities were seen as people null, from the point of view social and productive skills.

At mid-twentieth century, in 1955, during the International Labor Conference, a recommendation about “Rehabilitation and Employment of the Disabled” was presented. In this moment, it was considered “the need to make available to people with average disability professional adaptation medias of independently their origin, nature or age, always they can be prepared to exercise adequate employment and they have a reasonable prospect of obtaining and maintaining employment”. Although it has analyzable nuances still, it can be considered as the forerunner of the social and labor integration of people with disabilities.

Although in 1948, there is talk of equal rights for all people in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, compliance is not regularized for people disabled until 2006, at the  Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. In Spain came into force two years after.

Following the Convention, Laws that try to go adapting to reality, with more or less success, emerge. And, when have we started to talk about Accessibility? In 2007, the first resolutions concerning access and use of public spaces appear in Law on Equal Opportunities, Non-Discrimination and Universal Accessibility, known as LIOUNDAU. The First National Accessibility Plan 2004-2012 appeared and was published by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The main objective is “to achieve universal access for all environments, products and services to overcome barriers that discriminate against persons with disabilities”.

In 2013, it was recasted, with other Laws, in the General Law on Rights of Persons with Disabilities and their Social Inclusion. At this Law were introduced Universal Design principles, Social Inclusion and Independent Living among others. Telecommunications and Information Society are among its areas of application.

This legislation has support in different international and national standards and regulations related to interface ergonomics, accessibility of hardware and software, subtitling, audio description and web accessibility, such as

Regarding Universal Design or Design for all, it is necessary to clarify that this concept does not cover all possible cases. As Stephanidis said in 2001, “universal design does not necessarily imply that a single design should be suitable for all users, but it should be treated as a design philosophy that tries to meet the needs of accessibility for the greatest number of potential users”.

In Spain there are entities such as the National Center for Technology Access, the State Reference Center of Accessibility and Technical Support or the Spanish Centre for Subtitling and Audio Description which are responsible for promoting and supporting everything related to the accessibility need of people with disabilities.

After this collection of Laws, regulations and related aspects accessibility in the field of computer science, is clear that the design and accessible development is not an option. Accessibility is an obligation, in legal terms. The problem is that ‘accessibility’ is not understood as part of design – few universities considering ‘accessibility’, and only as an optional subject. This makes that accessible systems development needs accessibility experts and it increases the costs in time and money of any technology project.

We should consider whether these savings offset, in cost or quality, spending necessary to adapt or redo designs, in the event that the Laws of digital accessibility were applied with the same rigor as those affecting architectural designs. Is built a new building without access to level?

Finally, if we are talking about “meet the needs of the most number of users” we should keep in mind that we are opening the market expectations of the products we develop. Where we see an obligation, cannot we have a good business?