This future-proof, interchangeable device will be the last smartwactch you’ll ever need.
For quite some time, modern-day gadgetry has taken a one-size-fits-all approach. Though many different sensors can be embedded in our devices, space is always the limiting factor. This leads designers to select features that they feel are right for “everyone” and forces consumers to compromise on what they want from their equipment. Fortunately, this may be a thing of the past thanks to one UK-based startup who wants to do the same for wearables as Google’s Project Ara has set out to do for smartphones.
In effort to provide you with a smart accessory that reflects your individuality, BLOCKS is the world’s first modular smartwatch that enables you to customize your timepiece to best suit your needs and lifestyle. No different than LEGOs, simply choose your modules and connect them together in seconds to bring a plethora of capabilities to your wrist.
As with any watch, the face (or Core) is at the heart of the wearable. It’s completely functional on its own and has all the features you would expect from a good smartwatch, like phone notifications, activity monitoring and voice control, and boasts a round, full-color touchscreen. Inside you’ll find a Snapdragon 400 processor, Wi-Fi and BLE connectivity, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of Flash, an accelerometer and gyroscope, a 400mAh battery, a microphone and a vibration motor. In the future, the team says it will offer a few different cores with varying displays, such as e-ink and rectangular screens.
The Core is attached to a strap comprised of several intelligent links, each of which possess their own functions and are embedded with an ARM Cortex-M0+ MCU. This includes everything from an NFC component for contactless payments, to an extra battery for prolonged battery life, to a GPS piece for tracking your whereabouts and activities, to a Flash memory module for extra storage, to a camera for quick photos, to even GSM/SIM card slot for phone-free operation. The power is in your hands, or wrist we should say, allowing you to choose the building blocks that you want in assembling a smartwatch that’s just as unique as you.
“The Modules listed are the first of many, and were selected based on popular choice. As new technology becomes available, we’ll be developing new Modules for you. You don’t need to choose the Modules you want immediately when you back us; after the campaign, we will get in touch to ask what combination of Modules you’d like,” its creators reveal. “BLOCKS is all about choice. We want to be able to provide you with as many Modules as possible so that you always have access to the latest technologies.”
What’s nice is that a module can be swapped out in a matter of seconds, without ever having to restart your watch. Whether it’s throwing on a battery if you notice that your smartwatch is running low on power or fastening on a heart rate monitor as you head off to the gym, snap it on and it’ll work right away.
The device runs on its own platform, which will be opened up to developers so that they can create and sell their own modules on what the team calls “the BLOCKStore.” Moreover, BLOCKS is compatible with both iPhone and Android smartphones, including those from LG, Motorola, Sony, Samsung, HTC and Xiaomi.
Intrigued? Then watch-a waiting for? For its Kickstarter debut, BLOCKS is available in 3 different colors — black, white and red — and made from a high-quality, durable, comfortable and water-resistant plastic. The first batch of units is expected to ship in May 2016.