From the Series
Using cleverly concealed electronics, the Polish innovators at uBirds have designed watchstraps that give an ordinary analogue watch all the features you'd expect from a smartwatch and fitness tracker.
The leather smart straps, called Unique, have built-in controls that allow the user to access their music player, accept and reject calls and send pre-written text messages all by simply tapping the strap. Using discreet LED lights and vibrations as alerts, the straps notify the user of incoming messages, emails and calendar notifications.
The watchstraps are also fitted with activity monitoring technology to measure steps taken, distance travelled, speed, and calories burned, as well as monitoring the user’s fitness goals. And when the user walks away from their phone, Unique will vibrate to inform the user that they are in danger of leaving it behind. The watch features near-field communication for mobile payments, which means you can use Unique to pay for things such as coffee and public transport from your wrist.
The Unique watchstrap is no thicker than an ordinary watchstrap. Unique connects to smartphones via Bluetooth and a dedicated app for iOS or Android that lets users configure the strap's functionality to suit their own needs.
"The way the strap works is very intuitive, so it's easy to use, and it comes with built-in user response detection to work the way you want it to," says Pawel Karczewski of uBirds. “This is just the beginning for Unique, and we have lots of ideas for future functions.”
Karczewski and the other uBirds founders are engineering graduates from Warsaw University of Technology.
Unique is currently looking for funding through Kickstarter. Their campaign runs until 22 October.
All images courtesy of uBirds.