MaRS Library Wearable Tech: Leveraging Canadian Innovation to Improve Health
Wearables are small electronic devices, often consisting of one or more sensors and having computational capability. They are embedded into items that attach to the body, such as a user’s head, feet, arms, wrists and waist. They can resemble a watch, eyeglasses, clothing, contact lenses, shoes or even jewellery. Wearables either capture data or present data. The types of data collected could be as simple as the number of steps taken in a day or as complex as ECG or brainwave measurements. For output, wearables can convey information to the user through a variety of means, from the blinking of an LED light to a complex display of data.
Health and fitness, and other medical applications, are areas where wearables are expected to play a transformative role. Over $450 million in capital was raised by wearables startups in 2013. The market opportunity for wearables is expected to top $30 billion by 2018, with health and fitness making up over 20% of the total.
In Canada, the wearable device startup and researcher ecosystem is thriving. World-class startups have emerged in recent years from different corners of the country, with clients across the globe. This report will highlight key Canadian innovators and investors, trends, challenges, and future predictions about the wearables ecosystem, with an emphasis on health.