It is likely that you never heard the name Valencell before, even though you may even have had it in your ear or on your arm. Here now is your chance to learn more.
The Valencell PerformTek® technology powers many wearable devices ranging from earbuds to smart watches and among them are many familiar names, but maybe what makes Valencell even more unique is their Biometrics Lab where they test over 400 different devices from various manufacturers each year. PhD exercise physiologist Dr Chris Eschbach runs the lab in Raleigh, NC with a smart and passionate crew, and each month they analyze over 1 million biometric data points. There are many athletes employed by Valencell and Eschbach and Lab exercise scientist Seth Long are triathletes, and Long admitting to being a Slowtwitch forum member. A plethora of volunteers test wearable devices in 25 distinctive testing protocols ranging from hard intervals to easy lifestyle efforts. The volunteers also get to see and touch gadgets not yet on the market. Word also has it that they always can use more volunteers.
Bethany Stillwaggon is one of the volunteers of Valencell and here she is testing an earbud HR, but also has an armband HR and a chest strap HR running to measure accuracy and compare notes.
Valencell just returned from the CSE show in Las Vegas and this display was part of their booth.
Chris Eschbach checks out a list where they keep track of mechanical design, sensor technology, and other details of the prototypes. But here Eschbach is focused on different sensor technology. He assured us that all of that info is digital too, but they enjoy this quick access.
Biometrics Lab exercise scientist Seth Long makes sure the earbud and all other wearable devices are properly in place. Bethany Stillwaggon meanwhile patiently awaits the start of the treadmill.
With Stillwaggon in full flight, Long and Eschbach check the monitors and look at the data.
Here is what some of that live data looks like with one of the comparison trackers below on the phone.
Each tested product gets documented thoroughly. Pictures of the earbud fit for one get taken from a couple angles.
Running is not the only way you get tested inside the Valencell Biometrics Lab. These weights are good enough to challenge the most hardened crossfit person.
Puzzles are used to simulate simple lifestyle activities, as not all wearable device brands are interested in hard core endurance applications.
The ear of each volunteer at the Valencell Lab gets measured and a custom mold. This way Valencell also gets data from a variety of ears.
One of the earbuds placed in the custom molded ear.
Alex Maters is another exercise scientist in the lab and here she deals with data collection.
Shawn Stephenson is a senior mechanical engineer, and this passionate rower is the Wearable Device Architect.
Sheila Holt is one of two test engineers and here she works on some tiny circuit boards.
It would be near impossible to work on these small circuit boards without a microscope.
This should give you an idea of the actual size of these circuit boards.
The metabolic cart is also available for more detailed testing.
The brand is now in a 7,200 sqf building and has 30 employees. The company was founded in 2006 and had to move twice already to accommodate the growing business.
All images © Herbert Krabel / slowtwitch.com
Learn more about Valencell at valencell.com