Wearable Banana to feature at Tokyo Marathon

February 21, 2015

Dole Japan has been bankrolling Tokyo Marathon for the last seven years but this weekend’s 2015 edition will see two runners among the expected 30,000 strong pack sporting the Wearable Banana.Tech blogs are abuzz with news about the wearable banana, which is celebrated by many as a breakthrough in the category of wearable technologies. Being a Japanese product, through slipping an LED display and sensors under the banana’s skin, The Japanese arm of Dole, the biggest fruit and vegetable company in the world has created a piece of fruit that can monitor the runner’s race time and heart rate as well as showing Twitter messages urging them onwards. During the marathon, the banana will offer advise to runners about consuming more bananas at checkpoints along the event route.Apparently, after the race is over, the wearable banana can be eaten just like any other.Two years ago, the talk of wearable technology, especially regarding smart-watches and health as well as lifestyle products, increased dramatically, as did the number of product concepts appearing online or in the mainstream Print and Electronic media outlets. This is understandable in the light of figures which point towards exponential growth in the market for wearable smart devices. However, there also appears to be a common consensus that these devices have yet to realize their full potential.By this I means potential to not only relates to function, but also to form and it is the latter that is usually cited as holding back development, acceptance and take up of wearables. Wearable technology needs to be comfortable, convenient, robust and stylish for it to be compelling enough to sell in volume.Recently, I was reading a research paper on how the wearable market for quantified-self technologies meaning the apps that enable people to track and quantify aspects of their daily lives is currently in just crawling out of embryonic stage but I strongly believe that communication, computing, data capture and feedback mechanisms will be key technology enablers for quantified-self.Below is the Dole Wearable Banana technology project.

The 2015 Tokyo Marathon’s main attraction is definitely the wearable banana and this is an indication that wearable technology has gained considerable traction especially in the health and wellness industry. Increasing momentum in the use of sensor-enabled wearable devices promises more design opportunities in the future. Wearable Banana miniaturization trend will no doubt quicken development of improved and innovative wearable devices that monitor athletic performance and health. Have a feeling that tracking of athletes as is happening this weekend in Tokyo Marathon, heart rate, activities among others will allow individuals to gain better insights on physiological parameters that were never examined earlier.As healthcare is one of the main industries impacted by the quantified-self movement, acquiring accurate data and ensuring seamless interoperability are key challenges. In Japan, data sharing among health services and pharmaceutical firms would no doubt raise privacy concerns. Dole Japan must ensure that data collected from Tokyo Marathon is not shared without direct consent. User perceived benefits will be another critical factor in the success of quantified-self products, along with affordability. To get the healthcare industry further involved in quantified-self, enhancing the connectivity of wearable devices with technology companies to support data exchange will also be crucial.Have been in close contact with some stakeholders who are exploring other ecosystems with which quantified-self can be integrated. Technological advancements in energy harvesting for wearable devices like the Wearable Banana as well as in social networking dynamics will push the quantified-self industry into the next stage.For more visit http://www.dole.co.jp/wearablebanana/en/ 

Contador Harrison