The power of fashion and technology, the marriage of it, is ginormous!
Said Will.i.am, frontman of Black Eyed Peas, at the Dreamforce conference where he debuted his new smartwatch. Or is it a smartband? Or a smartcuff? Let’s just call it a wearable that acts like a watch and a phone at the same time, and was designed with fashion in mind.
Backed by Salesforce tech giant and inspired by cuff bracelets, Will.i.am’s PULS is a pretty innovative wearable. So much so that’s hard to categorize based on existing wearables. As the singer-turned-fashiontech-entrepreneur explains:
It’s definitely a wearable that has a watch in it, but it also has a GPS map system, a music player, fitness tracker that tracks your steps, weight and calories burned, social network sites like Facebook and Twitter and it can use your contacts to call or text, without the need for a phone.
Yep, it’s got a SIM incorporated which makes it an untethered, standalone connected device – different from anything else on the market in terms of wearable tech. Add to that:
- a Qualcomm chipset
- 1 gigabyte of memory
- 16 gigabytes of storage
- time functionality
- a pedometer
- an accelerometer
- voice recognition
- personal assistant software called Aneeda – Siri, you better watch out!
- an emotion detector
- the capacity to run Android applications from third party developers. Apps like Humin and Esri already work on it.
…and in terms of technology, it may even put Apple Watch to shame. In terms of fashion design, it can use some tweaks. Although, Will.i.am’s vision was to create a fashion statement item, marry it with technology and close a gap in time; the gap between now and the moment a standalone wrist band can act like a phone, without being attached to one. So in a way, the futuristic sleek wrist cuff design with curved screen, and a battery strapped around the back makes sense. But then again, incorporating all that technology into such a small thing is tricky, as with all things wearable tech.
A note for the fashionistas: the smart cuff comes in various colours and there will be even a gold version.
If you want to know more about Will.i.am’s vision and what drove him to make this item, check out this interview provided for TechCrunch – it’s pretty impressive:
Now, another interesting thing about the smart device is that it comes with complimentary fashion items, all under the singer’s i.am+ brand:
- a jacket, called Pow-wear, that can be used to charge the cuff through the sleeves to give it four extra days of battery life
- a bag that can provide power and sound
- shoes that can weigh the wearer and act as a pedometer as well.
These are all prototypes and I’m sure you’re dying to see them. I know I was. So check out this video:
If you ask me, he’ll have a hard time convincing fashionistas to wear the racket-looking backpack. All you fashionistas out there, are you with me? But there’s hope.
As a closing remark, I actually find Will’s project inspiring. Not only because of how he brought it to life, but also because of his vision on fashion and technology. Or fashionology as he dubbed it.
I’ll leave you with snippet from his speech at Dreamforce that sums up his story: