We’re all curious about smartwatches, but we don’t want to let go of our beloved analog timepieces.
A project that just debuted on Indiegogo is promising to add some brains to existing watches, and could be one of the sleeker options we’ve seen so far for people who don’t want to abandon their watches entirely for a smart one.
A Canadian startup called Wearatec plans to produce a smart clasp it calls the Link, that will display notifications on the underside of your wrist. The clasp is similar to the folding type you’d find on many metal watches, and replaces the existing one to offer a lot of the functions that a smartwatch carries.
It connects to watches via Bluetooth, and has an NFC chip in there that Wearatec says will allow contactless payment — although it’s not entirely clear how that will be achieved securely. Mainstream mobile payment options such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay encrypt card information in the phone before it’s broadcasted.
Link’s NFC chip may be able to mimic lower security items such as loyalty cards or door access passes, so you could theoretically touch your wrist to a door to unlock it. Cool.
I like the idea of being able to glance at notifications on the underside of the wrist, because I always appear impatient during conversations when I check my smartwatch — people always ask if I’m checking the time and rushing to be somewhere else.
The smart clasp is the latest in a string of attempts by out-of-the-box thinkers to allow people to have the best of both worlds. In August last year, luxury watch maker Nico Gerard debuted a quirky analog watch that allows you to attach an Apple Watch on the other side.
And similar to the Link, a similar product called the Hot Band debuted on Kickstarter in February. It offers text notifications and has a pop-out earpiece within that you can use to take calls.
But the plasticky product is far less sleek in appearance compared with the Link, and failed to raise funding.
If funded, Wearatec promises to start shipping the Link in December this year. The item is going to backers at $289, down from a planned retail price of $449 if it becomes a reality.
By Victoria Ho