What makes wearable technology so exciting is that it brings out the inner secret spy out of everybody. The Smarty Ring is back on Indiegogo to help those who missed it the first time pick one out before they hit the market. This sleek stainless steel ring can alert wearers of incoming calls, texts, emails, and even control music or take a photo among many, many other things. Like the device itself, the campaign materials ooze style and make this compact piece of tech look very desirable. The Smarty Ring is available without scrolling display for $175, or with scrolling for $275, and will ship out in May 2014.
The Premise. When it comes to a child’s imagination, any number of common household items can become tools for adventure or props to act out any number of fantasies. For centuries, the imagination has been enough to entertain, but what if there were real-world stimulus to add to the excitement of play?
The Product. The Moff band is a wearable snap bracelet that children can put on when they play make-believe. By syncing up with the Moff app on a tablet or smartphone, different modes can be chosen to simulate specified wrist movements into real-life sound effects for laser guns, sword fights, air guitar, or sports equipment. With Bluetooth support, acceleration and gyro sensors, and powered by a watch battery, the Moff is easy to put on and begin playing with immediately. For the time being, Moff only works with the five most recent generations of iOS devices, but Android compatibility is in the works.
The Pitch. Moff CEO Akinori Takahagi introduces the Moff in a gentle, playful video that combines hand-drawn animation to represent the imagination and live play to demonstrate what the Moff is capable of. The entire presentation of all Moff’s campaign, from videos to pictures and even the app itself, is generally friendly and easy for children to understand and use as well. Moff is looking for $20,000 to get Bluetooth certification, finish tooling and bulk order the device’s internal components.
The Perks. A $45 pledge is required to get a Moff band for any child or child at heart. All products are expected to ship in July 2014.
The Potential. The Moff band is something that children should be very excited about, helping them bring their imagination into the real world. Having to be tethered to an app on a mobile device hampers the usability somewhat, as children will probably either still want to have a phone nearby to change settings or will be continually pestering parents to change the settings repeatedly. The novelty of these sound effects will be something that enraptures younger users, while those already attending grade school might look elsewhere for something more substantial. Still, children will love the idea of enhancing their play without having to break the action for sound effects.
The Premise. The world is a much different place than it was even 50 years ago. Where older generations may have spent all day outside the house, roaming the city and having adventures, many parents are concerned about their kids’ safety or just want to know their whereabouts.
The Product. Children wearing the hereO GPS watch can have their location tracked and monitored live using the companion app for up to 72 hours. The bright, colorful watch was designed with children in mind and fits many smaller size wrists that other GPS units won’t. Each watch is fully water-resistant and features its own SIM card for roaming-free tracking in over 40 countries.
The Pitch. In the promotional video, the hereO team explains their mission goal and shows off some of what the watch can do. In addition to live monitoring and tracking, alerts can be set up for specific locations like school or friends’ houses to let parents know when children arrive and leave. Seeing the hereO work with children of all ages is enough to pique the interest of most parents. The campaign needs $100,000 to complete work on the different apps and to begin mass manufacturing.
The Perks. One challenge of some kid trackers, such as the thoughtfully designed FiLiP available at AT&T, is the need for another cellular subscription. hereO backers can save $50 off the retail price by making a pledge of at least $99 and receive a hereO watch with six months of subscription fees paid. Higher tiers are available for batch orders and distributors, and at the highest $1,000 tier, backers can design their very own hereO watch.
The Potential. The concept behind the hereO watch is certainly one any parent can get behind, and the design and size are ideal for children, unlike other personal GPS locators. However, the safety messaging behind the device is negated by how simply the watch can be removed, either at the hands of a predator or the child itself. While the former seems unlikely based on its seemingly innocuous design, the latter seems almost inevitable as children are likely to fiddle with any accessory. This just serves as further proof that no device is a substitute for vigilant supervision.
The Premise. All those New Year’s resolutions to lose weight are already two months old. A small percentage of them are probably still in progress, most have already been given up on, and some never even got started. Of course, it’s harder to turn down a workout with a trainer that can motivate, push, and correct issues with form or impact.
The Product. The Moov is designed to be the personal trainer that it doesn’t feel awkward working out in front of. Pairing with a mobile device (only iPhone 4s or above supported currently), the Moov can be attached or worn anywhere to monitor movement and track stats. More than just a simple pedometer, the Moov can have apps created for virtually any kind of workout, with built-in support for running, body weight workouts, cycling, boxing, and swimming (it’s waterproof). Most of these workouts only require the base Moov, but boxing works best with a second unit, one on each wrist, and up to five can be used in conjunction with each other. This way, not only will distance or reps be tracked, but the device can even provide suggestions to help exercise more safely and effectively.
The Pitch. The Web site for the Moov is pretty underwhelming and just sort of generic 2014 startup with plenty of big pictures and lots and lots of scrolling. The video ads are slick though, and show off the flexibility and possible applications the device could have beyond workouts, though hearing Apple’s Siri as a fitness coach feels less encouraging and more like an Orwellian state-sponsored physical fitness mandate. Moov needs $40,000 to hit the ground running.
The Perks. The Moov can be pre-ordered for $59.95 (half the retail cost), but the product’s creators also offer backers a nifty referral link that others can click through to pre-order as well, earning the original backer a $5 credit for each pre-order. The first batch is expected to ship in the summer of this year.
The Potential. Moov is a lot more versatile than the average fitness band, and the coaching and multi-device usage really help it stand out; of course, the quality of that coaching remains to be seen. It’s adaptability to different exercises remind one of the Atlas, byt Moov’s approach is quite different. Many people with Fitbit friends know that it becomes all they talk about or post on social media. The Moov looks like the next evolutionary step in personal fitness devices, and will certainly command the same kind of enthusiasm from anyone trying to get or stay in shape.
The Premise. Having a cell phone or tablet run out of battery is pretty much the modern-day indication that it’s time to get back home ASAP. Many people feel naked without their devices, so why not wear something that can keep them running without tethering users to their homes?
The Product. The team at EnergyBionics has a solution – the Carbon Precision Solar Charger. This small device is worn like and even resembles a modern, designer watch. Instead of a clock face, the Carbon houses a solar panel that can store energy equivalent to roughly 3 hours of additional phone life. By pressing a button and unscrewing a cap, the Carbon can connect to most major mobile computing devices and keep them going for a while longer. If Carbon needs to be charged in a flash (and not one of sunlight), it can connect via USB to any traditionally powered device to charge up without the assistance of the sun.
The Pitch. Like the product itself, EnergyBionics puts forth a simple, no-frills presentation video that explains the Carbon and how to use it, including a demo with an iPhone 4s. The other campaign materials show off the optional crush proof case, currently available cable adapters, and go over the technical details. At this point the Carbon is compatible with most phones and tablets, personal music players, and even the PlayStation Vita. EnergyBionics needs $48,000 to get three major certifications, manufacture the small, initial run, and create the molds for the internal parts.
The Perks. A minimum pledge of $95 is required to get a hold of the Carbon Precision Solar Charger with a black silicone strap, available in August 2014. Getting one with all the bells and whistles (leather strap and black crush proof case) is possible with a $130 pledge.
The Potential. Portable chargers, and indeed solar chargers for mobile devices are already plentiful on the market. Some DIY-ers have even made similar devices to the Carbon, but what makes this particular item so marketable is the sleek design and the sturdy components. The Carbon is perhaps even fashionable, which means a lot for a device that someone has to wear, regardless of how well it functions. Obviously, it would be even greater if the designers could figure out some way to get an actual watch face overlay on there. Nonetheless, gadget stores and even cell phone mall kiosks will want to upsell this kind of item to people in the process of upgrading their phones.
With the vast deserts of technology stretching out endlessly before us all, what could else could they possibly come up with? How about a wireless device that transfers some functions from your phone…to your wrist? For 90 bucks and a wait that lasts til July 2014, the sleekly-designed iOne will allow you to answer calls and texts, play music, display the time and chime one the hour. You also get Bluetooth connectivity, 240-hr battery life, and grey, red, orange and blue color options. But, with competitors like the Vachen, which shares all of the iOne’s features plus a calendar, stopwatch, and multiple digital clock face,s for about double the price, and the HOT Watch which does even more for even less, it looks iOne may be the Ryan Gosling of the smart watch world: looks really cool, but doesn’t actually do much.
You run out the door and see the grey sky above. Uhooh. Should you bother to bring an umbrella? No more digging around in your pocket or purse for your mobile device to find out. The Zammann smartwatch operates like a simplified smartphone so you get that speedy weather update right on your wrist. As with other smartwatches, various apps will also let you read your e-mail, visit social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, control your music device, track fitness goals and a multitude other really cool functions. And yes, even your phone calls can be managed right there on your wrist. Of course, crowdfunding sites have been a haven for many smartwatches, but what sets the Zammann apart is its traditional round face. Unfortunately, the Zammanites haven’t provided much in the way of a video to show the product in action so we’re asked to take a bit of a leap of faith. The wearable technology comes in stainless steel, titanium and rose gold. For $199, a backer gets a Stainless Steel smartwatch with an expected delivery date of August 2014.
The Premise. When you’re in a rush and on the go, it can be difficult to access the key features on your phone. Fumbling through the process of unlocking your phone, opening the the app, and waiting for it to boot up can often end up being a waste of time. This can make accessing smartphone apps a problem.
The Product. Using NFC technology, simply tap the phone to your Haloband to access your favorite apps. You can quickly unlock your phone, change the song, turn on the flashlight, check in to social networks, open the camera, and access many other features all with a simple wrist movement. The silicone band is not only flexible and waterproof, but it doesn’t require any batteries either.
The Pitch. Product Manager Sam Luo starts off the video by showing some of the Haloband’s main features and how they’re accessed with a simple tap. At around the 50 second mark, the video suddenly takes a turn towards the realm of high school video projects. If you can get past the cringe-worthy awkwardness of the acting, the video turns back to Luo who asks for a donation to put the Haloband into mass production.
The Perks. For just a $19 donation on Kickstarter, pledgers will receive a black Haloband, and for $22, you can choose your color as well. This is one of the cheapest options for wristband technology today, so it may be worth checking out. If you want to pledge more than $2000, the Haloband team will take you out to dinner along with a tour of Shanghai, China (travel fee not included).
The Potential. Smartphones have incorporated software that improves the accessibility of their phones already, so the Haloband’s purpose of improving their efficiency falls short of the mark. However, if accessing applications on your phone still remains a challenge, the Haloband may very well be an effective and economical solution for your needs.