Health and Wellness Smartwatches/Bands

IBeat smartwatch monitors every beat of your heart

Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the U.S., and every minute that passes without defibrillation and life support intervention reduces the possibility of survival.

patent-claimedIBeat is a 24-hour, heart-monitoring smartwatch that can immediately notify the user, as well as his or her family and 911 in case of a heart-related emergency. Its medical-grade sensors constantly monitor heart activity and detect emergencies.

IBeat ships in July at future pricing of $459. But Indiegogo backers have been able to reserve one for a pledge starting at $99 for early birds. Its makers hope to raise $50,000 by Oct. 30.

There are many other smartwatches on the market already, many of them that feature heart monitoring, including Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2. But few rival products continuously monitor heart rate around the clock like iBeat does. Not all rival products include GPS and some that do, unlike iBeat, charge extra for that feature. Unlike most rival products, iBeat users also don’t have to use it in conjunction with a smartphone.

There are, however, potential negatives for some consumers. First, after a free year of monitoring service, the iBeat watch monthly monitoring fee becomes $17. It is, meanwhile, a single-profile device that’s not designed to be used by more than one person. It is also only being targeted at the U.S. market for now, but its makers say that, in the near future, they plan to offer an international version of iBeat with multi-language support.


The Ticwatch 2 smartwatch responds to your sweet caress

Apple’s foray into the smartwatch market has shown how difficult it truly is to create something that has broad appeal. Of course, style and functionality are critical for this, but so is a more approachable price.

The Ticwatch 2 attacks all this head on, much to the excitement of the true smartwatch believers out there. First off, it boasts a wide range of apps, with more available on its own Ticwear app store. And these apps work in tandem with the many ways the Ticwatch 2 makes available to interact with it. For instance, a double flick of the wrist gesture picks up a phone call, while doing it again ends it. Quality voice control is also prevalent, allow users to query Yelp for a good restaurant nearby or call an Uber. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg: the Ticwatch 2 also tracks fitness, controls music, and even finds a phone if necessary. 

Kids/Babies Smartwatches/Bands

Octopus smartwatch teaches kids time and good habits

Kids’ smartwatches tend to merely be stripped-down versions of standard smartwatches, with fewer features but more colorful designs.

Octopus is a twist on kids’ smartwatches, featuring a simple, icon-based user interface designed to teach children good habits and the concept of time, while fostering independence, responsibility and self-esteem. The watch works in conjunction with Android and iOS mobile devices that allow parents to manage Octopus from their own smartphones and tablets. Octopus ships in March at $79, but Kickstarter backers can order one for a pledge starting at $49 for early birds. Its makers hope to raise $50,000 by July 22.

The design of Octopus sets it apart from many other kids smartwatches, such as Miiya. That it’s water resistant is a plus, but being waterproof would be preferable for any kids’ smartwatch considering how likely it is that the device will get wet at some point. More importantly, Octopus doesn’t –- at least for now –- have the ability to alert parents as soon as their child is about to be out of range. That’s a feature that its makers are working on and want to make available by the time it ships … or at least as a free software update later on.



Pebble 2, Time 2 come to the smartwatch field with integrated health monitoring

The smartwatch field has become crowded with players since the first Pebble model launched via Kickstarter in 2013 and demand exceeded supplies.

Now, Pebble introduces updated versions of its Pebble and Pebble Time smartwatches that add, among other features, integrated health monitoring. Each features an e-paper display, heart rate monitor, microphone, and built-in activity and sleep tracking, and are water resistant down to 30 meters. They are also each compatible with Android and iOS smartphones. Pebble 2 has a high contrast black and white display, while Time 2 has a 53 percent larger color display than its predecessor. Pebble 2 can last seven days on a full charge, while Time 2 can last 10 days.


The Hot Band makes any watch – dumb or smart – even smarter

editors-choiceSmartwatches run the gamut from simpler fare like the Pebble Classic to more advanced options like the Moto 360 and the Apple Watch. But despite the wealth of options on the market, smartwatches are like Cinderella’s glass slipper after the ball: part of a hunt for the right owner.

Fur many of these folks, though, wristwear comes down to aesthetics that no digital face can countenance. The multi-faceted Hot Band tackles that objection by making any dumb watch smart, hitting even the most baller of watches with a dose of digital intelligence through the use of two easily swappable fobs that sit on the wrist.

Chargers/Batteries Health and Wellness

Tylt Vu Pulse adds heart rate, wireless charging to Pebble Time

Heart rate tracking is one of the most helpful features of some fitness activity trackers and smartwatches including the Apple Watch. But it’s not a feature (yet anyway) on the Pebble Time smartwatch. The need to plug in the watch to charge it, meanwhile, can be a major hassle.

Tylt Vu Pulse is an add-on, protective case for the Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel that adds heart rate monitoring, as well as wireless charging, to those smartwatches. The case connects to the accessory port of the watches and syncs with Android and iOS mobile devices using Google Fit and Apple Health.


Hidn Tempo smart watchband reveals your hidden stress level

Stress is a problem that’s been linked by doctors to serious health issues including heart disease and obesity. One obstacle people face in fighting stress is that they don’t always realize when they are under stress and how it’s impacting the decisions that they make.

Hidn Tempo is a stress-measuring watchband with a working watch that teaches the person wearing it to control stress through three steps: awareness, knowledge and action. The watchband monitors the wearer’s stress level, sleep quality and activities all day. That information is sent to the accompanying Android and iOS app that analyzes the data and gives the user instant advice about what to do, when to do it and how to do it.


ReVault uses wireless storage to back up your smartphone, keep stuff close at hand

Day in and day out, the smartphone does a lot for the smartwatch, but what does the smartwach do to help the smartphone? As it turns out, one thing it can do is help back it up.

What sets the ReVault smartwatch apart from its rivals is its ability to back up devices wirelessly. The device enables users to securely access and sync their files across all devices without an Internet connection. It connects to other devices using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Users can set up ReVault to auto-backup and auto-synchronize files across their devices. A 32-GB version will cost $269, while a 128-GB model will cost $404 when ReVault ships in January.


Reserve Strap charges Apple Watch while you wear it

The Apple Watch isn’t even out yet, but many people are already viewing the device’s 18 hour battery life as a point of concern.

Coming to the rescue is the Reserve Strap, a charging band for Apple’s new smartwatch that charges the device while its user is wearing it. Photos at the strap’s website, where pre-orders are being taken, show a design that features a silicon band with embedded lithium polymer cells and an inductive charging cradle located between the user’s wrist and the Apple Watch itself. The strap is similar in concept to the smartstraps recently announced by Pebble for its new line of smartwatches, including the Pebble Time.

Through prototyping, the Reserve Strap’s maker has refined the product’s design and has come up with a few other ways to charge the watch that remain undisclosed for the time being. Interested buyers should note that there is no ship date yet for the band. Nor is there a final price, for that matter, but the site lays out an estimated selling price of $249.99.

The Reserve Strap, featured in a Backerjack podcast, seems to solve an issue many Apple Watch users will likely face. As a result, this product has all the makings of a slam dunk — so long as the Apple Watch catches on, that is.


Comfortably watch video on your wrist with the Blu smartwatch/smartphone hybrid

Most smartwatches on the market look fairly similar, with screens typically too small to be used for viewing items like video or mapping directions.

patent-claimedThe makers of Blu have created a bendable and wearable smartphone/smartwatch that’s worn like a bangle around the wrist. The device features a flexible 5-inch by 2-inch HD OLED display capable of covering a user’s full wrist. With such a design, the device is able to incorporate an overlapping clasp that allows the Blu to fit users with wrist circumferences ranging from 5.5 inches to 8.5 inches.

The waterproof Blu also features an invisible 360-degree speaker system which emits sound from all around the wrist. Another notable feature of the device’s futuristic design is a light bar which can be incorporated into application functions for games, social media apps, and even standard mobile phone notifications. Adding a dash of customization, the light bar’s colors can be user-adjusted. Blu will cost $799 when it ships in May and its maker is hoping to raise $600,000 AUD (~$468,700 USD).

Blu has several unique features that separate it from the growing smartphone pack and its distinctive look will likely appeal to many consumers. That said, its industrial design may prove to be off-putting to many, especially those who don’t want something so large around their wrists.