Highlights from WEST: Wearable Entertainment and Sports Toronto

From THE VOID to Push, we explored some of North America (and beyond's) best in wearable technology

On November 5, a few of us lucky ICF Olsonites seized the opportunity to attend WEST: Wearable Entertainment and Sports Toronto, or what can now otherwise be referred to as “the coolest technology in the city (and beyond) under one roof”.

The event played host to a number of inspiring keynote speakers, informative expert panels, and interactive demonstrations set up around the MaRS Discovery District, which happens to be one of our Toronto office's neighbours.

Read on to discover what we considered to be the best of the best.



Curtis Hickman, Chief Creative Officer and Founder of THE VOID, left a lasting impression as he led us on a voyage through the illusion of reality.

THE VOID considers itself the amusement park of the future. Thanks to a brilliant appropriation of wearable technology, THE VOID blends virtual reality with physical environments, including effects like wind and water, to transport you to a fantastical new setting, time period, or even planet, while never leaving your physical location.


The VOID Image


The venture promises that from the moment you enter one of their Virtual Entertainment Centers (the first of which is stationed in Utah, of all places), you will feel as though you’ve abandoned reality as you know it. Assisted by wearable devices called the Rapture Vest, Rapture Glove, and Rapture HMD (aka, Head Mounted Display), THE VOID is a 5D experience, stimulating all of your senses at once. It’s immersive entertainment that is redefining the way we interact with gaming and amusement mediums.

While the call for Beta Testing visitors has now closed, THE VOID aims to soon be available throughout North and South America, Asia, Europe, and Australia.


In the age of omnipresent social media, our tendency to record and share every waking experience, particularly those which excite and inspire us, is unfortunately distracting us from the very moments that we find so stimulating.

That’s where Lightwave comes in.

Lightwave Image


Rana June, Silicon Valley hotshot and co-founder and former VP of Marketing at social start-up Medialets, wants to change the way we engage with live events by tapping the potential of wearables and bioanalytics.

Using connected devices to measure things like movement, audio levels, and temperature, Lightwave provides live performers with real time data about their audiences, allowing them to customize the fan experience they deliver based on crowd feedback–feedback which is intended to seem, as June puts it, “magical”.

Collecting and visualizing real-time crowd data without fans noticing until suddenly they’re having even more fun than moments before? Magic is right. Lightwave technology has already been implemented for Pepsi, Target, and Jaguar, and we can’t wait to see where it shows up next.



It’s 2015, and according to StudioFeed, it’s time for what they consider to be “the physical dimension of sound.”


Subpac Image


Beyond being a social venture setting out to support indie music arts by way of technology development and community engagement, StudioFeed is also the maker of SubPac, a tactile bass system that aims to allow DJs, producers, and everyday people to not only hear music, but to feel it too.

There are 2 versions, the SubPac S1 and SubPac M1- one you strap to your seat, the other you strap to your back. It’s an innovation that hopes to bring people closer to music by combining high-fidelity electronics and vibro-tactile membranes into a compact form-factor, allowing you to feel the sound you typically can only hear (at hearing-safe volumes, that is).

Beyond being an awesome way to enhance the creative process of producing music, what caught our eye in particular is how SubPac widens the experience of enjoying music to those who are audibly impaired. Our latest Innovation Challenge included a Wearables for Disability category, and this fits right in.

If only we’d thought of it first…



On journeys to physical fitness, we’re told to “push ourselves to the limits, and then push past them.” But for many of us exercising solo, how are we supposed to know where our limits are, let alone how to safely go beyond them?

PUSH, the first fitness tracking device in market that measures reps & sets, force, power, balance, velocity, explosive strength, 1 rep max, volume load, andtempo (whew), wants to solve our training woes using a wearable device and ground-breaking bioanalytics.


PUSH band Image


At just $149, PUSH is the personal trainer you’ve always dreamed of, but could never afford. The patent-pending PUSH band tracks how your body is performing at a certain weight, and provides insights to help you optimize the load. Its companion app interface, PUSH Assist, provides guidance and feedback on your workouts, and PUSH Portal allows trainers and coaches to analyze and monitor their athletes remotely.

PUSH was informed by the experience of experts in Velocity-based Training. Professional NFL, NHL, and NBA athletes are using PUSH, and helping to shape its future states.

In other words, PUSH is perhaps one of the most legitimate, purely fitness-focused technologies out there, and it may be just what amateur athletes need to break through the barriers expensive training equipment erects.