Korean Startups Are Targeting the Next Generation of Wearables
2016년 01월 22일

Wearables gained huge popularity during 2015 with high-profile releases such as the Apple Watch and Pebble Time bringing wearables truly into the mass consciousness. Wearables are now high demand items and are on course to be one of the biggest tech trends of 2016.

While early wearables were often criticised as useless accessories for tech geeks, in 2015 we saw the first popular applications make their way into everyday life and gain mass appeal. As we enter 2016, the market is primed for a new generation of wearables to expand on the value propositions of earlier devices and are expecting the introduction of new concepts, many of which were showcased at CES in Las Vegas this January.

With the attention of the mainstream market, as well as a dedicated following of tech enthusiasts, corporations such as Apple, Samsung and LG ended 2015 with high sales numbers in smart watches. Startups are also fighting for recognition in the category, with a wide variety of wearables promising specific value propositions in niche markets.

Korea has a proud heritage in hardware and startups on the peninsula are looking to leverage new opportunities to carve out a niche in their industry. With varying applications in categories such as personal health and fitness, gaming and communication, wearables from Korea are becoming more sophisticated and are seeing success both at home and overseas.

Here’s a few wearables from Korea to watch in 2016.

Talkey by Fluenty


Fluenty is making messaging more effective on the go with Talkey - an app for your smart device.

Talkey uses AI (artificial intelligence) to automatically provide suggested responses to messages received on your smartphone or watch. The Talkey AI deciphers the received message and displays accurate on-topic response suggestions from which you can select one fitting your attitude. This way you can answer messages within seconds, straight from the notification screen on your smart device, by sending off one of the suggested responses. Talkey is a hit on smartwatches as it lets you reply to your messages straight from your wrist without having to pull your smartphone out of your pocket. Talkey is available from Google Play for your smartphone and smartwatch.




When was the last time you were on the phone and had trouble hearing the other person due to background noise? Probably within the last few days.

Ripplebuds seeks to help you overcome the problem of not being heard in noisy settings, with a noise-cancelling microphone positioned inside your earbud. Simply connect Ripplebuds to your smartphone via Bluetooth and you are then able to transmit your voice clearly in any surrounding, and without background interference. You can also enjoy high quality, wireless stereo sound through the earbuds.

Ripplebuds is a breakthrough in earphone technology, which allows you to talk with a friend or use voice commands accurately, whether you are on a busy train ride or in a night club, without picking up background noise, with a practical hands-free solution.


Rapael by Neofect


Stroke patients often experience long term disability due to neuron damage, not muscle cells. You cannot revive the dead cells, but you can enhance brain plasticity by training the undamaged cells.

To aid in long term rehabilitation for stroke patients, Neofect developed the Rapael Smart Glove, a wearable motion-tracking glove. Users can train the different muscle groups of the hand with motion-controlled video games specifically designed for rehabilitation purposes. The movement data is collected by the Rapael Smart Glove and provides vital feedback about rehabilitative progress, as well as suggesting new exercise regimes that can boost efficacy.

As a complete solution for patients and caregivers, Rapael Smart Glove lets both patients and doctors keep track of the rehabilitation progress through their accompanying software, which leads to more efficient rehabilitative treatments.

Rapael has undergone clinical trials in Korea and is being used at a number of hospitals. The company aims to take their technology to the global market in 2016.


Alex by Namu


On account of dramatically increased use of smartphones, tablets and laptops, there is an epidemic of back and neck pain caused by slouching over portable devices. In the short term this condition, known as ‘text neck’ or ‘forward head posture’, can lead to discomfort, but the long term impact can be much more serious.

Addressing this issue, Namu developed Alex to coach users towards better posture.

Alex is a wearable that sits lightly on your neck and provides real time tracking of your posture. It can be set to vibrate gently if you adopt poor posture for more than a few minutes, letting you know to sit up straight. The wearable Alex device is accompanied by a smartphone app which tracks your posture in real-time and keeps a record of your progress over time. Alex just launched on Kickstarter and has raised more than USD $25K within 48 hours.


Motionpen by Widevantage


Widevantage aims to bridge the gap between the physical and digital world with smart pen Motionpen.

Motionpen is a smart pen for touch devices which takes your touch navigation into the third dimension. Your device tracks the precise position of the pen when hovering over the device screen and measures the distance from screen to pen. This has not been done before and allows the user to achieve an intuitive 3D environment which can be navigated by making movements above the screen. By tracking movements in this way you can zoom in on a page by moving your pen closer, and zoom out by moving it further away.

Motionpen comes with an app that takes full advantage of these unique features but it can also be used for simply surfing of the web or taking notes.

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