In the market for a smartwatch but not sure you want to be tied to your smartphone’s platform? Enter the WEDA (Wearable Electronic Device for Applications), a smartwatch that operates on an open platform.
The old adage about never doing business with family has never rung less true. Lance Seidman and his father Jerry are at the helm of a plucky start-up called Wearing Digital. If you think you’ve heard the name before, it’s because they started out by making superlight T-shirts with incorporated audio and video panels.
While his son handles the tech side of things, Jerry takes care of marketing. He’s no slouch at it either: Jerry heads up a successful chain of American restaurants called Jerry’s Famous Deli, so he knows his way around a sales meeting. Together they’ve designed a concept to compete on the smartwatch market, but also to get children and young people interested in learning about writing code.
The Design of WEDA
What can we say about what WEDA looks like? Well, nothing - for now. We do know that the Seidmans were inspired by their first wearables (the T-shirts) and by the fact that Jerry was always missing calls. Like other smartwatches, the main unit will vibrate and flash to alert the user of an incoming call.
What sets the design apart is the slap-band bracelet/wrist band to which the main unit will be attached. A fashion fad from the 90s, the band is straightened and then slapped against the user’s arm, causing it to curve around the wrist and stay there. The display won’t be a touchscreen like that of your smartphone’s, which gives way to a lighter, thinner main unit than what’s currently on the smartwatch market.
- The slap bands are usually made of plastic or fabric wrapped around steel springs. Repeatedly slapping it against the skin to get it on can be painful. (So be gentle when you do it.)
- If you’re expecting a functional screen looking like your smartphone, you’re going to be disappointed.
- This smartwatch is water-resistant, but not waterproof. Give it a miss if you’re keen for smartwatch that you can wear surfing or swimming.
How does it work?
The WEDA connects to your native smartphone or device via Bluetooth. Once connected, users write programme codes on their home device and then send to the WEDA. Of course, you have to know how to write code to send the WEDA instructions or just information. Once you get this down, you’ll only need to one to three lines of code at a time for an interaction.
If you’re concerned the space all the code would take up, don’t be: the WEDA has over 8GB set aside for just this, so you’re in no danger of running out.
Getting your WEDA up and running is easy: simply turn on your main device’s Bluetooth, connect to the WEDA and start writing code for things you want it to do. It can alert you of incoming calls, emails and text messages – in fact, it can receive any notification sent to your smartphone or tablet. Since it’s designed to operate on an open platform, it can accept apps and hardware built by independent developers. So far the WEDA features OLED, Vibrator, Accelerometer, Barometer and GPS functionality.
- It’s rudimentary when compared to other smartwatches, but far less expensive.
- You’ll have to learn to write code.
Should I buy the WEDA?
Right now, the Seidmans are campaigning for funding to continue producing their smartwatches. They’re a start-up like any other, but their objectives aren’t purely money-driven: they’re hoping to connect with schools in their district, supply them with WEDA smartwatches and teach children how to write code.
There are several smartwatches from which to choose, some of them more sophisticated than others. This is certainly not the most elegant nor feature-rich product among them, but if you like smart people with guts and determination to help others learn something new, then by all means, go ahead and support them