Wearables in the Spotlight - January: xBand

Ubimax, January 3, 2018

As the world leading experts on Wearable Computing, it is a given that we are all about wearables. Therefore, wearables are in the limelight of this blog series! Regardless of the companies producing them, quality judgments, preferences, or else we want to shed a light on the devices that Ubimax’s customers are working with and optimizing their businesses.

You can read it as our view on what is out there and for those of you who share our passion for Wearables this blog series is perfect! Every month, we will introduce one wearable, ranging from Smart Glasses and Smart Watches to confirmation devices.

The modern industrial sector has a huge demand on continuously improving technologies that increase quality, efficiency, and as a result save money. xBand, which complements the Ubimax Frontline solutions, is a milestone in the modern race for technical advantage. It is used in combination with Smart Glasses and can be used as effective replacement for present step confirmation, such as barcode scanning. Within the Ubimax portfolio, it for example optimizes the picking process of the Frontline Solution xPick. Ubimax developed this multi-sensor wearable wristband to achieve an even more effective manual picking solution.

Small Gadget, Impressive Performance

Type of device | Confirmation device
Year of release | 2016
Developer | Ubimax
Measurements | 64x38x24 mm
Weight | 100g
What makes it stand out | Better usability, ergonomic, hands-free

With an integrated Radio-Frequency Identification Reader (RFID), the xBand communicates with the host device (Smart Glass, Smartwatch or Tablet) via Bluetooth. It can be used to identify a location, to determine if a task has been completed or to notify the user that he is entering a certain area. For instance, as the worker moves his arm to pick an object, the wristband automatically scans the RFID tag of the object’s box or shelf and sends an automatic confirmation to the Smart Glass. Next to the visualization right in the field of view of the picker, the xBand confirms pick-and-put activities with a sound for a correct activity and haptic vibration feedback for an incorrect one. The user has the option to configure the type of feedback the xBand gives, much like changing the ringer mode on a mobile phone from vibrate to sound.

The xBand eliminates the need for barcode scanners, manual verification or check digit confirmations leaving both hands free for pick-and-put activities. Ridding of these time-consuming processes allows a significantly faster, more ergonomic and flexible conduction of business processes without compromising on their quality. xBand customers report performance improvements of 50% or more. Further, the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) sensor of the xBand enables a gesture and activity recognition capability. The user’s activity, be it picking a box or tightening a screw, can be recognized by the xBand. These activity recognitions are used to validate actions as they are and to provide context specific information.

We wanted to build an intuitive and fast confirmation device which can actually be used in production - And we did!

Anas Hashmi, Developer at Ubimax

Slim-Fit & Pioneering

As each use case has unique requirements, the xBand firmware can be adjusted to every scenario with options to alter the reading range of the device and updating it wirelessly on the fly. Thus, each company receives a custom made and perfect suiting solution. The xBand not only eliminates the flaws of existing devices in the market, it also dominates regarding convenient and ergonomic handling when used in logistics. The design is slimmer and lighter than that of other confirmation devices, with a hook and loop fasteners comfortably adjustable to any arm size. The reading antenna is underneath the wrist which allows placement of barcodes in much more convenient locations. In addition, the battery life has been increased significantly to last more than eight hours, which means that it does not need to be charged during a worker’s shift. Still, the most important change was the evolution from tap-to-confirm to automatic-confirm. While previously a button on the scan device needed to be pushed in order to scan any kind of tag, the xBand now allows automatic and intuitive scanning operations.

Small change, huge effect and the beginning of completely hands-free picking!

(Editing: Katja Erling)