Feb 27, 2013
In past columns, we have taken a look at a few different devices that were created to help silently or casually display notifications. The majority of these are lamps or LED strips that have built in WiFi or Bluetooth technology. One was a charm that attaches to a purse or bad and lit up for calls, messages, and other notifications. These are all great for lounging around the house or driving in the car but their day to day practicality remain a question mark.
Being a college student I spend a lot of time in places where I would like to receive notifications but cannot because of the distraction to those around me. Obviously, my phone cannot start blaring Alice in Chains during a Circuits lecture, but I will not say that I am one to strictly abstain from texting in class. Those who work in office settings may find themselves in similar situations with email and annoying SMS notifications. Hailing from Seattle, the engineering duo of Paul Hornikx and Rudi Beijnen have an incredibly simple, elegant, and practical solution to all of these problems. Their idea is called the Embrace+, and is an idea so ludicrously simple that I have a hard time coming to grips with the fact that I did not think of it first.
Embrace+, as their clever name hints at, is a bracelet that glows different colors when their paired phone outputs a notification. Everything here, of course, is completely customizable within an impressive mobile app that keeps everything under the user’s control. The band is lit, not by LEDs, but a band of optical fibre that allows the device to remain incredibly slim and low-power. The goal with Embrace+ is to treat the user with a device that can be worn at any time, in any dress, without seeming like an obvious piece of tech. With successful funding the duo is focusing on putting the finishing slimming touches on as well as making the device 5atm waterproof which would allow for use in the shower as well as peace of mind in rainstorms and snow days. My only reservation is that the Embrace+ is a little bulky, coming in at 5mm at its slimmest and just 8mm at the battery, but I do not see that as being a main concern.
The Embrace+ truly looks like something from the future, and I have big hopes for it. I know for certain that I am putting this to the top of my birthday wish list, and cannot wait til similar devices begin to populate the marketplace. As of now, with only 20-plus days remaining the Embrace+ is still nearly $200,000 behind its goal, and pre-orders are going for just under $50 which is an amazing deal all things considered. So, give this deserving duo a shot and help usher in the next way of personal electronic accessories.