Luxury traditional watch fans, there is now no excuse for you not to jump into the world of wearable technology. uBirds have unveiled Unique – a bespoke handmade watch strap that can replace the existing strap on your mechanical timepiece giving you the added benefits of a smartwatch
Once and a while, an introductory email crosses my desk causing me to exclaim “why didn’t I think of that?” and today was one of those occasions. I received an email from uBirds, an innovative Polish tech company asking me for my thoughts on their new product, the world’s first handmade smartband watchstrap customisable to match almost any look.
It struck me as a completely logical and useful piece of technology and I couldn’t understand why I had not seen something like this before. This product would allow me to wear my favourite luxury timepiece along with an almost indistinguishable smart strap to replace the original, keeping the classic looks of the timepiece and giving me the advantages of having smartwatch functionality on my wrist.
How does it work?
The uBirds Unique strap utilises a dedicated app and gesture recognition allowing you to perform a wide variety of tasks:
- Notifications – You don’t have to keep checking your phone to be updated. You decide what information is the most important for you. Filter “Push Notifications” allows to provide segregation of the information that you receive. These are displayed to you via colour LED and vibration.
- Activity – A healthy lifestyle is not only becoming more and more popular but also it’s easier to achieve. Measure steps, speed, distance travelled, burned calories. The Unique smart watch strap will help you to control your actions and achieve goals. The Motivation system will help you to increase your daily activity via the dedicated application. Set up your goals and Unique will help you to achieve them. With this there is no need to purchase additional devices.
- Gesture Control – The strap utilises finger gestures enabling you to for example, reject a phone call and inform the caller that you’re unavailable. Even the music player can be controlled by a gesture – this is just a couple of the many possibilities to choose from.
- Loss Prevention – Do you ever sometimes leave your phone behind or even worse lost or had it stolen? This shouldn’t happen again. Unique will notify you through vibration when you move away from the phone.
- Location – Nowadays we spend a lot of time at work and come back home at night. Using Location function you can inform your loved ones or friends where you are. A discrete gesture will send your actual position whenever you feel in danger or you just want to inform people how far you are away from coming home.
- NFC – (near field communication). Set up your strap to customize it and upload pass cards to the fitness club, work, and many others. No worries about leaving ticket at home.
These are a few of the options available today, what’s even more exciting is the future developments in the uBirds pipeline which are almost endless. To me it is one of those technological inventions that will allow me to wear the watch I want and do far more than tell the time and date.
The story behind uBirds
The people at uBirds are first and foremost engineers with appropriately a Unique vision. They met at University becoming friends and as engineers do, came up with an objective – How could they bring technology into people’s lives without changing their lifestyle?
The first three ideas they came up with were focused around medical equipment. One of the ideas focused on sleeping disorders. They developed a portable Holter for diagnosing Sleep Apnea Disorder. With this device they were acknowledged for their innovations at “The European Analog Design Contest 2012”, organized by Texas Instruments, taking 2nd place. The next step was to expand their business skills to become more aware of commercial marketing. Shortly afterwards they also received further recognition by getting to the final of the “Intel Business Challenge 2013” where their work was both highly appreciated and commended.
This success and recognition wasn’t enough for the engineers, what they really wanted was to create something new and exciting. Something that people around the world could find a universal need for. They decided to meet up for a drink and a chat to figure out how to become a global success story. They asked themselves, how they could make technology useful to people’s everyday life and at the same time non-intrusive. This is where the idea for the Unique strap was born, coming up with an idea to hide technology inside the strap without changing it from the outside at the same time creating a quality product that people would appreciate owning. One of them looked at his watch and pointed that there are many brands of smart watches but no one had gotten close to beating the looks, style and appeal of a traditional timepiece. So it was decided that they should hide the electronics within the strap turning almost any classic mechanical timepiece into a smartwatch. From that moment on it was “all hands to the pump” and after a huge amount of effort, testing and innovation, the Unique smart watch strap was born.
The uBirds Unique smart watch strap will be launched on Kickstarter in May. The App is available to download for IOS on AppStore and for Android via Google Play
By Paul Godbold