Intel is giving away US$1.3 million as total prize money in its global, Make It Wearable Challenge. Intel hopes to encourage the evolution of wearables through the contest and invites ideas from students (ages 13 and up, except where prohibited), designers, engineers, and makers for either of the two Tracks – Visionary or Development.

The contest is open to just 25 countries and Singapore is the only country from Southeast Asia that can be a part of it. Other countries from Asia that can participate in the contest include China, Japan and India.

Besides the grand prize, The second and third place winners will receive US$200,000 and US$100,000, respectively. The ten finalists will receive US$50,000 each. Also, each of them will be provided with more than 70 hours of intensive mentoring over two months to help get their ideas off the ground.

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Wearable technology market, as per various industry reports is expected to be a $6 billion market by 2016, and another research by analyst firm, Canalys, expects 17 million wearable bands to be shipped in 2014. The number of shipments is expected to go up to 45 million by 2017.

Prakash Mallya, Country Manager, Intel (Singapore & Malaysia)

Prakash Mallya, Country Manager, Intel (Singapore & Malaysia)

Prakash Mallya, Country Manager, Intel (Singapore & Malaysia), told e27, “Wearables are the next frontier in the evolution of computing. Intel has been in the forefront of creating standards. In the last 16 years, we have been able to increase computing performance by more than 1,500 times; cost reduction by 100 times; and compared to that power consumption has just gone up by four times. Intel is in a great position to take a leadership position in the wearable technology too.”

“’Make It Wearable’ aims to identify innovative ideas that bring Intel’s vision to life – technology that fits into people’s lives seamlessly and improves daily life in a meaningful way,” he added.

While the registrations for the Visionary Track started on February 24, earlier this year, registrations for Development will start in summer 2014.

The Visionary Track is about futuristic ideas where participants can send in one-minute videos describing disruptive ideas. The Development Track will focus on concepts that are innovative and feasible to execute. The concepts will be judged on technical and business criteria.

The ideas around wearable technology, according to Mallya, could be broken down into segments – healthcare, wellness, security, fashion and education.

On why participants from other Southeasian countries cannot participate, Mallya cited “various legal regulations” as the only reason.

wearable chart

Function of Wearables Forecast (Source: psfk Labs & iq intel) [Click on image for larger view]

Intel, in partnership with McAfee co-developed a smartwatch prototype to showcase safety capabilities. The smartwatch was showcased at CES 2014, in Las vegas, in January this year. The demonstration showcased time-contextual geofencing, which allows for quick and easy set-up of “safe areas” that the watch wearer can be in, and optionally, add time to the safe zones. For example, the watch can be used by parents to monitor their kids’ movements.

Intel, however, said that it has no current plans to bring this smartwatch to market. “It’s a technology demonstration to help showcase personal safety capabilities,” Mallya said.