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Kickstarter project of the week: MetaWear


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Every week, we're going to be checking out what's new on Kickstarter to find the most innovative and interesting new projects on the crowdfunding website. That's because in the last couple of years, some of the most exciting developments in technology have come, not from the established players but from small teams with big dreams, like the Pebble smartwatch and the Oculus Rift. We're watching out for what comes next.
With Google's Android Wear, Samsung's Galaxy Gear devices, and other smartwatches and wearables emerging in the market, not to mention a vast array of fitness trackers, there are two things that are becoming increasingly clear.
One is that the tech giants aren't the best companies for making what are also fashion products. Most of the products out there are either bulky and weird, or just plain weird to look at. The other issue is cost, with most of the products still being too expensive to be considered disposable technology.
That's where the MetaWear Kickstarter comes in - it's basically a small and cheap module for wearables that can communicate with your smartphone, and everything is designed to make prototyping and developing new wearables simple and cheap.
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The MetaWear uses Bluetooth Low Energy to communicate with your phone, and comes with sample iOS and Android apps to get people started on how to use the chip. It's just about the size of your thumbnail
As the creators of MetaWear note on their Kickstarter page, you could use this to build up any number of unique applications; for instance, you could design a clip which you can attach to your clothes, which lights up whenever you get an email from specific people, or use it to build a discreet motion detector and alarm. You could use it to control haptic feedback pods that could be sold alongside a mobile game, or make your own version of a fitness tracker.
And the best part is that it's also very affordable - the kit has been fully funded but the Kickstarter is open till May 3, and you can still get a kit for just $30 (approximately Rs. 1,800) and experiment and build your own prototypes.
That means, much like the Raspberry Pi before it, the MetaWear also has the potential to be a tinkerer's playground. This device could become a hit with DIY hobbyists, but it also has the potential to jumpstart development for commercial products.
Both scenarios are pretty exciting, and while the tech titans like Google and Apple will certainly take the lead in the wearable space, this kind of development could lead to a scenario where you have multiple smart wearables, for different use cases and different social settings, without breaking the bank.
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