• Status: Closed

  • Key features: Innovate UK is offering six businesses up to £35,000 each to encourage innovation in wearable technology across the themes of sport and wellbeing, entertainment, hospitality, health and safety, accessibility and design. 

  • Programme: IC tomorrow

  • Award: Up to £35,000 for each business

  • Opens: 12 Jan 2015, 13:23

  • Registration closes: No deadline

  • Closes: 10 Mar 2015, 12:00

  • Support phone number: 0300 321 4357

Wearable technologies

Competition results

See here for the competition results.


Innovate UK is offering six businesses up to £35,000 each to encourage innovation in wearable technology across the themes of sport and wellbeing, entertainment, hospitality, health and safety, accessibility and design. 

Apply now to: 

  • trial your technology with major industry players while keeping your intellectual property 
  • secure up to £35,000 to develop your solution 
  • receive promotion, support and advice to speed up the commercialisation of your solution. 


Noon 10 March 2015 

Briefing events 

Wednesday 28 January at 41 Portland Place, London, W1B 1QH and Thursday 29 January at The Studio, The Hive, 51 Lever Street, Manchester M1 1FN. 


Six, up to £35,000 

Full details 

The contest

Through our IC tomorrow programme, we are looking for proposals from companies with innovative digital ideas around wearables. The companies will not only benefit from funding, but also the opportunity to collaborate with commercial partners to accelerate development of their technologies. 
We want to see solutions with potential appeal to a wide commercial market. Successful applicants will be expected to trial their proposed solutions with their industry partners for at least three months. 

The challenges

We are looking for innovative solutions to address one of our six contest challenges within the themes of sport and wellbeing, entertainment, hospitality, health and safety, accessibility and design. 

Challenge One 

Sensor technology and tracking performance 

Partner: McLaren and Loughborough University
The sports and recreation industry offers significant potential for digital innovators to address real-world challenges among likely participants, along with low barriers to entry. This challenge, in partnership with McLaren and Loughborough University, seeks to bring together sport and wearable technology, to enhance the comfort, safety andperformance of users. While the winning applicant may find ways of applying new or existing technologies to address purely sporting goals, they could also use this challenge to test their commercial potential in other sectors. 

Challenge Two 

Wearables for kids 

Partner: Disney 
Children today are often more tech-savvy than their parents, and will grow up having used technology from a very early age. A 2013 report by Ofcom found that the use of tablet computers had tripled among 5 to 15-year-olds since 2012, and just over a quarter of infants aged 3 to 4 use a tablet at home. Wearable technology could provide a safe environment for this age group to stay connected, without issues of privacy, exposure to inappropriate content or risk of losing the device. This challenge, set in partnership with the Walt Disney Company, is to create a fun, wearable device for kids, exploring areas such as entertainment, personalisation, usability, safety and connectivity. 

Challenge Three 

Guest-centred experience through wearables 

Partner: glh Hotels 
Hotels are large, complex environments, providing a wide range of customer-facing services, including restaurants, bars, fitness areas, concierge, conference rooms and, of course, bedrooms. Co-ordinating these services so that guests receive a seamless and personalised experience is often a labour-intensive process. This offers digital innovators the opportunity to create scalable and wearable solutions for a global market. This challenge, set in partnership with glh Hotels, focuses on improving the guest experience and/or efficiency of staff, through wearables. glh hotels is looking to offer the successful applicant a unique ‘living laboratory' in one or more of their flagship hotels across London to trial the winning solution. 

Challenge Four 

Reacting to the local environment 

Partners: Amey and Network Rail 
One of the major emerging markets for wearable technology is the construction industry. Health and safety is a critical business process to infrastructure organisations such as Amey and Network Rail. This challenge seeks wearable technology solutions that provide an interface between the environment, external data feeds and the individual. The aim is to reduce the risk of injury to workers performing tasks in challenging environments. While the rail industry provides a valuable test ground around safety issues, there is significant potential for the winning solution to be commercialised and adopted beyond this sector. 

Challenge Five 

Unlocking accessibility through wearables 

Partner: Atos 
The World Health Organisation estimates that there are 1 billion people currently living with a disability, while more than 11 million people in the UK alone have a limiting long-term illness or impairment. Many of these result in cognitive rather than physical impairment. For example, 10% of the population show signs of dyslexia and/or dyscalculia. This challenge, set in partnership with Atos, seeks an elegant solution that harnesses the potential of wearable technologies to improve digital accessibility among those with cognitive and/or physical disabilities. This includes improving current methods of authentication and identification, both online and offline. 

Challenge Six 

Plug-and-play for textile wearables 

Partner: Queen Mary University London 
This challenge, in partnership with Queen Mary University London (QMUL), seeks to enable seamless and efficient interfaces between wearable devices and textile electronics, to enable integration with a wider range of applications. The successful applicant will be invited to work with researchers and scientists at QMUL to develop their proposed solution, and will have access to advanced laboratory equipment, design, fabrication and evaluation facilities. 

Who can apply?

To apply for a £35k award you must: 
  • be a company based in the UK or EU 
  • propose a solution which responds to one of the challenges 
  • propose a solution that is creatively, technically or commercially innovative 
  • propose a solution that has wider market potential beyond the challenge partnership 
  • have a clear idea of the revenue-earning potential and target market of your proposed solution. 
You do not need to have an existing app or service, or be currently active in the wearable technologies industry. 
You do need to have a specific product, platform or service in mind, even if it is only at the idea stage. 

Responding to the challenge

Although you can submit multiple entries across different challenges in this contest, we can fund only one solution from each company. Applicants should carefully consider which challenge is best suited to their solution. 
For the full guidance document on the challenges and criteria, and to apply, go to: bit.ly/wearablescontest 
Deadline for submissions: noon on 10 March 2015 

How does the contest work?

The contest is a two-stage procurement process. Stage one involves filling in an application form and making a two-minute video presentation of your idea. 
We will select up to 18 entries to go through to the next stage. Stage two involves a live pitch and Q&A to a panel of judges who will make the final decision on which solutions to fund. 

Stage One 

Applicants can apply from 12 January 2015. There is a briefing event at 41 Portland Place, London, W1B 1QH on Wednesday 28 January and another in Manchester at The Studio, The Hive, 51 Lever Street, Manchester M1 1FN on Thursday 29 January for potential applicants to find out more information. 
 To register for these events, go to connect.innovateuk.org/events 
  1.  go to bit.ly/wearablescontest to learn more about the contest and to get the application form 
  2. download and read the Guidance for Applicants as it includes full challenge descriptions and the information you will need to complete your application 
  3. attend a briefing event (28 or 29 January 2015) to find out about the challenges directly from the challenge partners 
  4. complete the online application form. You can save a partially completed application, update, finalise and submit the form at your convenience 
  5. as part of your application, upload a two-minute video. Note that we judge the video on the strength of your idea – not the production quality 
Remember to submit your completed application form before noon on 10 March 2015. 
Videos and written applications will remain confidential but they will be seen by a panel of expert assessors who will review the ideas described in them and select a shortlist based upon how well they address the above criteria. From that shortlist an internal panel will then choose up to 18 finalists to go through to stage two. 

What sort of video are we looking for? 

Video entries by previously successful contest applicants have included a mix of pitching to camera, animations and example footage of the proposed solution. They also clearly highlighted how their idea meets the challenge in the contest. We do not expect you to share any intellectual property or commercially sensitive information. 

Stage Two 

Stage two will involve a panel session on 20 April 2015 
Finalists will have 10 minutes to present their ideas and to take part in a Q&A session with the contest panel, which will include members of the IC tomorrow team and the challenge partners. The panel will select up to six winning companies. 

Apply now

IMPORTANT: do not leave your submission until the last minute. Technical problems do occur and late submissions will not be accepted. 

What is IC tomorrow?

IC tomorrow stimulates innovation and economic growth in the digital sector by breaking down barriers and opening doors for a new generation of entrepreneurs. 
It is a hub for digital innovation, connecting start-ups and SMEs with leading commercial partners and investors, through funded contests, events and strategic matchmaking opportunities. 
The IC tomorrow network is free to join and supports innovation across different industry sectors including music, film, fashion, publishing, TV, education, games, culture, sport, advertising, healthcare and finance. 

Need help?

If you need help applying, contact the IC tomorrow team. 
Competition helpline: 0300 321 4357 

Help for SMEs to grow faster

Small businesses that combine the funding they receive from us with additional business support are more likely to grow faster. If you are an SME and receive funding through this competition, you will automatically gain access to a growth workshop, an online diagnostic and a growth expert to help you develop a growth plan. This may include coaching, mentoring and entrepreneurial skills training. 

Key dates

Contest opens: 12 January 2015 
Briefing events (London and Manchester): 28 and 29 January 2015 
Submission Deadline: 10 March 2015 noon 
Finalists notified: 27 March 2015
Practice pitch sessions at IC tomorrow office: 30 March to 15 April 2015 
Final panel session: 20 April 2015
Trials launched: Spring 2016