Blocks smartwatch 06.07.16

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Forget the display, the latest smartwatch is all about the strap, with each link performing a different function

The fact that smartwatches haven’t really caught on seems only to have increased their status as the next big thing. Apple, for instance, has partnered with fashion house Hermès in order to woo tech-savvy fashionistas, but so far has only managed to irritate New York Times design critic Alice Rawsthorn.

The new Blocks smartwatch, however, elevates substance over style. Conceived by Alireza Tahmasebzadeh and Serge Vasylechko from London’s Imperial College, Blocks is a customisable device intended to give the wearer more control over its functions. The core module is a rather quotidian-looking watch case with an AMOLED screen. The innovation lies in the clunky articulated strap. Each component houses extra functions, such as batteries, contactless payment technology, GPS, a heart rate sensor or a SIM-card module.

Future modules currently in the works include a camera, a flash memory module and – most interestingly, given that smartwatches are prone to running out of juice within a day – a kinetic-charging module. So far, the creators have expressed openness towards modules being developed by third parties. Having already raised more than $1.6 million, it seems the tech crowd is interested. However, it will take a few rounds of refinement for Blocks to attract a more mainstream audience.



Peter Smisek

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