Tag Archives: Pebble Time

Aria adds gesture control to Android Wear and Pebble Time

Deus Ex has come up with a solution to one of the biggest drawbacks of wrist-adorned gadgetry: having to use both hands.

As if handheld computers and wrist-adorned gadgets weren’t enough in today’s tech-savvy world, a new smartwatch accessory wants to make controlling a wearable device as simple as moving a finger. In what would appear to be some sort of Harry Potter wizardry at work, Aria employs a layer of sensors to enable users to perform on-screen functions without ever having to physically touch the gadget.


More times than not, people’s hands are constantly full of things whether it’s a caregiver with a child, a housewife preparing dinner or an engineer hard at work. In any case, what if accessing a step count, checking a recipe, or playing a song was as easy one tap of the index finger? Capable of exactly that, a wearer slaps Aria around their wrist, calibrates it and then uses it to scroll through menus, launch apps and answer calls.

Aria is compatible with a wide range of watches including Pebble Time, Samsung Gear Live, Sony Smartwatch 3, LG G Watch R and Urbane, Motorola Moto 360, Asus ZenWatch, as well as any other Android Wear device. What’s more, users can customize their gesture controls for various functions, like scrolling down a menu with a ring finger or flicking a thumb to read an email.

The brainchild of London-based startup Deus Ex, the hands-free remote is comprised of a water-resistant silicone material that attaches to the underside of the watch and is held snug against the person’s wrist. This allows it to sense and analyze distinct tendon movements.


For its Kickstarter launch, Deus Ex has made Aria available in two different models: a clip for Android Wear and a smartstrap for  Pebble TIme, both of which feature varying connectivity options. The clip is Bluetooth Low Energy compatible, meaning that it should sync with countless electronics ranging from drones to action cameras. Meanwhile, the smartstrap communicates via a serial interface. Plus, the startup has revealed that it will be releasing an SDK for developers who want to explore their creativity and design apps of their own.

“Our focus is giving the best support and the best tools to the developer community. There are still thousands of applications and use cases for Aria that we want to empower you, the developer, to discover and exploit them all,” the team writes.


Interested? Head over to Aria’s official Kickstarter page, where Deus Ex is currently seeking $100,000. Shipment is expected to get underway in June 2016.

Pebble pledges $1M to make smartstraps a reality

Pebble has pledged $1 million towards development of modular accessories for its latest Time and Time Steel smartwatches.

A few weeks ago, Pebble launched a Kickstarter campaign for its Pebble Time smartwatch. To date, the record-shattering gadget has already garnered nearly $20 million and has been at the center of all the wearable buzz as of late. Aside from the unveiling of its premium Steel counterpart during Mobile World Congress, another big piece of news has proven to be the announcement of modular smartstraps. This open hardware component of Pebble Time will enable Makers, developers and designers alike to create their own add-ons for the device. Better yet, Pebble is now betting big on the initiative by pledging $1 million to fund its development and commercialization.


“If you have an idea and want to be part of the smartstrap revolution, this is your chance! Get a team together, build a prototype and put your project up on a crowdfunding platform. Our team will work to help bring your idea to life,” Pebble writes.

Smartstraps open the door to a wide-range of possibilities, including standalone cellular capabilities, NFC, GPS and even heart rate monitors. Pebble says these bands will be easily interchangeable, and can be swapped out in as little as five to 10 seconds.

In the days following its announcement, the Pebble crew received countless ideas, requests, and suggestions for smartstraps. Two of their earliest favorites came direct from notable names in the Maker community: Spark.io and SeeedStudio.


Seeed Studio has revealed that they will be producing a Pebble Time connector for their Arduino-compatible Xadow boards (ATmega32U4) later this year. Meanwhile, a recent Spark.io prototype demonstrated how an Electron could be used to untether a Pebble and connect directly to the cellular network.

“We are big fans of Seeed and their Xadow modules. They offer 20+ strap-sized modules, which include NFC readers, OLED displays, barometers and GPS modules, and we hear a Heart Rate Sensor is coming soon! The upcoming Xadow adapter for Pebble Time will make prototyping new smartstraps very simple and affordable.”


Keeping in line with its crowdfunding tradition, Pebble is encouraging Makers to get together, devise prototypes and put their projects up on Kickstarter. The team adds, “We will monitor Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms for smartstrap related projects that support Pebble devices, and we’ll back the best of them. We truly understand the value of backing projects in their early state, having started that way ourselves.”

Want to learn more? Head over to its official page now.