Norwegian Students Shoot for the Moon

A shared idea about the future of technology went from a vision to a reality when three Norwegian students got together and founded the company MOON Wearables. The company is created to design and make wearable electronic devices and software applications. The goal: to make life easier for people by giving them beautiful objects they will love to use.
moon-wearables

Wearable technology presents the potential for massive transformation in many industries. The more obvious ones include consumer electronics and communications. Early adopter industries include clothing, healthcare, sports and fitness. However, we see many industries adopting wearable technologies as computing and wireless communications integrate wearable into virtually every aspect of product and services.

How can this type of technology improve people’s daily lives?

“Elon Musk once said, “Engineering is the closest thing to magic that exists in the world.”

“We absolutely share his view. And with the rise of the internet-of-things (IoT), we believe the history of engineering and technology is soon facing an inflection point. Where before, most ‘things’ around us have existed as individual cells of technology and engineering, analogous to how computers existed as individual workstations prior to the Internet. Today and going forward, these cells are beginning to be interconnected. The world’s things will begin talking to each other,” Jørgen Veisdal says.

“The currency in this world, as we see it, will be knowledge about the user. Where is he/she? What is he/she doing? Is he/she hungry? Sick? Bored?”

“Utilizing a few simple sensors and microprocessors in conjunction with a few hundred lines of code, MOON and its application can begin making informed predictions about the answers to such questions. Our predictions may then feed into the ecosystem of things around the user, improving his or hers experience.”

“If our app knows that the person is in Trondheim, that the weather is cold and dark, that the user has just walked three kilometers in 25 minutes, and his/her blood sugar is low, these factors may be brought into what the user sees, hears and feels around them. As you walk in the door, your August Smart lock can tell your Sonos sound system to put on some smooth jazz, your light bulbs from LIFX will dim up a calm yellow light, while your Nest sets the thermostat to a soothing 25 degrees. All before the user even has time to take off their shoes,” he says.

An idea born at NTNU

The idea for MOON started two years ago when Jørgen Veisdal began at his graduate degree at Norwegian University of Science and Technology. “A believer in the potential of the-up-and-coming wearable market, I was reviewing the various products in the marketplace trying to understand why some products had been successful and others had failed,” he says.

He tells that this analysis culminates in three key properties, which in his opinion a wearable has to have in order to be successful. “At the time, no products were successfully delivering on all three properties. I still believe that to be the case today.”

The wearable technology market is entering a rapid growth phase. Examples of leading indicators of future wearable technology sales such as Google Trends, cost reduction of the key enabling technologies, increase in functionality that is becoming possible and initial sales of new smart wrist wear such as Apple Watch, and fitness monitors. All show that a very rapid growth is in prospect.

Driven by the arrival of the Apple Watch, which will begin shipping in April according to CEO Tim Cook, the global market for wireless power and charging in wearable applications is set to attain a giant 3,000 percent expansion this year compared to 2014, according to IHS Technology.

Furthermore, there will be a remarkable growth this year for wireless charging in wearable electronic devices. According to statistics on Market Watch the wireless charging in wearables will generate revenue exceeding $1 billion by 2019.

“In choosing which segment of the market we wanted to contribute to, we similarly analyzed what the goals of using any given product may be, and how one might go about trying to achieve such goals. For wearables, this relates mainly to where on the body the device physically sits and what it enables the user to do, that he/she is currently unable to do with a smartphone/tablet,” Jørgen Veisdal says.

“Failing to deliver on either or both of these two properties is, in our opinion, where most wearable vendors get it wrong. When we make product decisions, the final decision always comes down to how it affects one or both of these two factors.”

Goals for 2015

“Ultimately, what we do is build tools that will make people’s lives better. That’s our ultimate goal. When they asked Steve Jobs about how he saw the computer, he would invariably refer to it as the ‘bicycle of the mind’, a tool which enables humans to perform at higher levels than they would be able to without it.”

Veisdal explains, “In our opinion, there have been two such ‘bicycles’ in our industry to date – the personal computer and the smartphone. These were two inventions that truly made people’s lives better in a dramatic way, and largely shaped our modern world. We believe wearable technology has the potential to offer improvements at a similar scale. Our firm’s name was chosen to engrain this belief in our own company culture.”

“We are not spending our twenties building something that aims for incremental improvements. We’re shooting for the MOON.”

In the past few years the wearable technology market has made a huge jump out of the trial and error phase and into the hands of hundreds of thousands of eager consumers, with hundreds of product launches last year alone. With consumers already spending a lot on the product, it should not be surprising that seller competition has skyrocketed.

“We are about to begin manufacturing complete functional prototypes of our device for demo and testing purposes. Because we are building everything in-house, this process is expected to be both comprehensive and time consuming, but we are hopeful that it will culminate in a minimum-viable product by the end of the year.”

“I think it is interesting to talk about motivation. Having followed the technology industry in Silicon Valley like many people may have followed their favorite sport’s teams for over ten years now, we have been dreaming about this opportunity since we were in our early teens. This is it for us,” Veisdal says.

He expresses himself as a dreamer. “In truth, at our core, more than anything we are dreamers. Dreamers work in bits and atoms, trying to create things that we want for ourselves, but that don’t exist around us. In order to do so, in the face of overwhelming odds of failure, putting our hearts, souls on the line, the thing that keeps us going is undoubtedly our passion. The passion we share for what we do.”

“Of course, if such was our goal, there are easier ways for us to make money. We could perfect and license out our circuits and spend our time doing business development instead. It would certainly be a lot cheaper, and we would likely get a lot more sleep while doing so. It’s not magical. It’s not going to make users smile. That’s something I think this country has lost, or maybe never even had, that Silicon Valley is amazing at. Creating user experiences that are so thorough and well thought out that people form an emotional attachment to them. That’s engineering at its finest, and it’s rare.”


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