We all know it’s true that over the holidays we watch a lot of TV and do a lot sleeping on the couch which inevitably leads to missing our favourite TV shows. Virgin Media has teamed up with two tech savvy teens to create KipstR, a wristband that will automatically sets a TiVo box to record whenever the wearer falls asleep watching TV.
Created with the help of two Manchester teenagers, 14 year old Jonathan Kingsley and 15 year old Ryan Oliver, students at Manchester Creative Studio, as part of Virgin Media’s ‘Switched on Futures’ initiative, the wristband keeps track on whether the user is awake or asleep by tracking their blood flow using pulse oximeter, which measures oxygen levels in the blood. When people fall asleep, the flow of blood changes and the pulse oximeter can sense this information to determine when someone has dozed off, and when they wake up again. Now families can watch TV while Dad’s asleep on the couch knowing that his favourite show is being recorded with KipstR, avoiding about 4 million arguments over the holiday season. The device is powered by a small lithium-polymer battery. The strap itself is 3D-printed in Polyjet resin using an Objet Connex 3D Printer. According to Virgin Media, Polyjet was used as it is more robust than the “rigid plastics used by most 3D printers.”
Both teenagers have been playing with software and engineering since their early childhoods, and jumped at the chance to work with Virgin Media on this project. Virgin Media was looking for promising young people who could one day inspire to pursue an engineering career and that’s how they came across these two. The Virgin team are very pleased with the results. Ryan said, “Building KipstR with Virgin Media was a brilliant challenge for us but we’ve learnt so much and are really pleased with the end result.”
“We have been exploring the possibilities of connected entertainment for some time and are very excited to unveil KipstR,” Neil Illingworth, head of advanced technology and innovation at Virgin Media said. “With emerging new technologies, it is possible to create almost anything, including emotionally entertainment systems that can suggest shows based on your moods, or even harnessing brainwaves to control your television.” KipstR will be going on trial this Christmas.