Wearable upstarts

From a bracelet that identifies your heartbeat to a brainwaves-measuring headband, cool tech is right in your backyard.
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Wearable technology is the talk of the marketing town and there are some hot up-and-coming companies in our own backyard. If you’re looking to get into the wearable game and searching for the perfect partner, take a look at a few of these locals.


Created by Toronto-based Bionym, Nymi is a bracelet that uses your pulse to measure your heartbeat. It creates a unique pattern to identify you (and only you), making it more secure than a traditional password.

In theory, the $79 bracelet could be programmed to open the door when you approach it or turn on your coffee machine to brew your favourite cup.

The company is sending out developer copies and hopes to start mass shipments in the spring. Karl Martin, CEO and co-founder of Bionym says he forsees huge opportunities for airlines (such as use in first-class lounges, where people can enter with a wave of their arm) and other industries where identity is an issue.


Waterloo-based Thalmic Labs created Myo (pictured), a device that sits on your forearm and can sense movement in two ways. First, it picks up the electrical impulses released from your muscles, and translates them into different commands. For example, a wave of the hand might be programmed to turn up the music, while a clenched fist could mean turning off the TV.

It also has a motion sensor: move to the right and you can pause your video. Shift your arm up, and you can speed it up.

The $149 device has already shipped to a number of developers, including a few agencies, and Thalmic is focusing on partnering with gaming and multimedia developers, such as an app currently developed that allows the wearer to control Activision’s Call of Duty videogame.


Toronto’s InteraXon created Muse, a headband that measures brainwaves. At $299, it’s designed to help you focus and calm your brain.

Because neuro-ware is still so new, it’s hard to get the device to do much else. With most of its apps encouraging a calm mind or better focus, don’t expect to wear a headband to order a drink with your mind anytime soon.

But, InteraXon has successfully used it in demos, such as its work with Mill Street Brewery to create a beer tap that pours when you concentrate.

It’s currently looking for distribution through high-end luxury retailers.