Wearables can do more than measure your pulse or take your temperature. Now an intelligent glove is supposed to make factory workers considerably safer and more productive.
The term “startup” does not necessarily refer to yet another online shop or a company that has developed yet another app. Four of the six startups that are competing in the finals of the “Neumacher” startup competition sponsored by WirtschaftsWoche magazine deal with “tangible” things. The winner, a Munich-based company named Workaround, seems to have really gained the upper hand. Its intelligent ProGlove supports the most used “tool” in the industry with an entire series of sensors, a scanner and a display.
It uses motion tracking and RFID to monitor and document the worker’s choice of products and tools as well as work-step sequence. If the worker makes a mistake, he is warned by optical and haptic signals. There are virtually no limits to its potential applications. For instance, access management could be integrated into the glove for high-security areas.
Based on Intel’s wearables development module Edison, the ProGlove predominantly addresses companies in the logistics and automotive industries. Which comes as no surprise, since several of its founders come from BMW.
Naturally, the “tool” supplies quite a bit of data that is also useful to management. However, ProGlove’s founders were never specifically interested in monitoring employees. Besides violating German labor laws, anything that was to move in that direction would be extremely counterproductive.
During the past six months, ProGlove participated in Challenge Up, the acceleration and incubation program for startups founded by Cisco, Intel and Deutsche Telekom. The results were presented at unBound Digital in London at the end of 2015. Since then, it has been working on serial production of its first product. Pilot projects with Advantech Dlog in the industrial sector and Pixi, one of the leading manufacturers of mail-order software in e-commerce, are already demonstrating that the “somewhat different” glove may actually be quite practical.
This article is the first in a series about startups in the electronics industry. You may showcase your company here, too. Write to us! We look forward to hearing about exciting new business models.