Wearable Tech World Feature Article
December 22, 2014

KipstR Wearable Device Keeps Virgin Media TiVo Up and Running

Teenagers aren't exactly famous for technological development. While certainly technological consumption and technological use are clear strengths, development is more the province of those who have studied and trained for years. But sometimes, that fresh perspective on technology pays off, and pretty big, as may well be the case with the KipstR wristband, a piece of wearable technology that keeps the standard Virgin Media TiVo box up and running, even when the wearer personally isn't.

The KipstR wristband's developers—15 year old Ryan Oliver and 14 year old Jonathan Kingsley—are part of the Manchester Creative Studio, and developed the wristband as part of a program known as the Switched on Futures initiative. Basically, what it does is ensure that the user doesn't doze off in the middle of a program and miss out on said program. It has happened to many of us at one time or another; sitting quietly, watching television, and feeling sleep suddenly steal upon us. This can be a matter of little consequence, or it can mean missing key parts of a movie or television show. The KipstR, meanwhile, looks to beat this.

The KipstR itself is a 3D-printed wristband that uses a pulse-oximeter system to see if a user is awake or asleep, and from there, acts as a TiVo remote to pause, resume playing  or record a show depending on just what the user's actually doing there in front of the television. The trigger point comes from measurement of the user's heart rate, and based on those numbers, the appropriate response is activated. Those interested in a KipstR, meanwhile, will be able to register interested starting this month, at last report, with trials set to start in a matter of days.

This is actually similar to what Virgin Media has been doing for some time now, according to word from Virgin Media's head of advanced technology and innovation Neil Illingworth, who said “We have been exploring the possibilities of connected entertainment for some time and are very excited to unveil KipstR. With emerging new technologies, it is possible to create almost anything, such as emotionally intelligent entertainment systems that can suggest shows based on your moods, or even harnessing brainwaves to control your television.”

There's no word on just what the duo actually gets for the work in question—one hopes at least a healthy percentage and a job offer or two—but the idea is one that's staggering enough in its intensity that it's hard not to be interested. In fact, the device is more than just an automated TiVo activation system, it's also a step ahead in the 3D printing venue as well. The device was reportedly printed on an Objet Connex printer, using a resin known as Polyjet that's stronger than most plastics used by 3D printers, which are as a standard more rigid than Polyjet. Plus, there are also some reports that suggest such devices might find work elsewhere, connecting certain functions to sleep conditions. It's easy to see a few ideas; how about lights that shut off when you're entering a sleep phase, or a home security system that steps in to cover the user too sleepy to stand watch any longer?

Still, this could be the start of something great, and not just recording the Rose Bowl because a user partied a little too hard on New Year's Eve. A lot of development went into this, and that development could pay off beyond the TiVo box.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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