Will Happic, which signals messages’ importance by the intensity and placement of vibrations on your wrist, close the distance between you and your phone? Or more importantly, will people want this?
The makers of Happic, a smart device for your wrist, believe wearables have missed the mark in something important: their touch.
While it might seem redundant to have something alert you of new messages when a phone is in your pocket (and it’s beeping constantly), the system is designed with actual mobility in mind. What distinguishes this baby, though, is its emphasis on vibration. Each pulse is different and based on where Happic taps your wrist, you can tell how important that signal actually is.
“Smartphones and smartwatches are touch screen experiences, the interaction is mainly by touch and visual,” co-founder Gilad Reshef told Geektime. “Interaction is much more intimate and exciting when you feel and move and do not just type with your finger,” describing how “intimate” messages (No, no, no, just simple ‘I love you’ messages; gosh guys) would send signals to wearers’ inner wrists while less priority notifications would hit your outer wrist.
“While on the move, screen-based interaction is less convenient and at times dangerous: driving, biking, running, etc.”
They do not define their product as some new generation smartwatch. The device functions more like a homing device tethered to your phone for functionality. While operating a camera, the band detects movements of the wrist and intuits zooming movements automatically. If you leave your phone behind (when you shouldn’t have), it pings your wrist to make sure you don’t leave it behind. It also will tell you by its signals which direction you should be traveling.
Just the right touch or invading personal space?
“The various ways gestures are superior to taps, for example zooming when you take a selfie is far from great. Sometimes you miss the perfect selfie because of messy zoom and blurry pics – zoom and click gesture re-invent the selfie experience and makes you look better,” Reshef explained to us.
But do people actually want technology moving that much closer to being embedded into their anatomy just so they can take selfies?
This author pondered how much people would actually want something like Happic, ensuring you don’t get any sort break or private time from your phone? Reshef told us that far from any demand to get away from phones, the feedback they had from the market is that people merely wanted to distinguish what was important from what was petty so they could prioritize their notifications.
“As we use our smartphones more and more, sometimes we disconnect from our immediate surroundings. People are looking for some more balanced way between the digital world and their surroundings,” he reflected.
In fact, he said, Happic would give them incentive not to get away from close connections. Disassociating priorities from the other distractions your phones provide would actually enable that sort of privacy.
“If you’re walking around NYC for the first time with your friend, you want to connect and experience your surroundings, not looking at your phone navigation screen.”
So far funded by private investors, Reshef seems content letting us know they are confident in their business strategy moving forward without elaborating on any major funding strategies for the near future. At $139, Happic beats out most smartwatches and wearable health monitors.
“We will start by selling Happic directly, building users and developer communities that want to take part of the next revolution in how we will interact with technology. Later, we will see some interesting brands joining the feel movement.”
It remains to be seen if that touch will translate into something people will want or if it feels a little too close for comfort in an era of encroaching technology.
Happic launched this month at ShowStoppers-IFA and has already received several preorders with the first shipments going out in February 2016. The product is owned by Made In Sense Limited, which Gilad Reshef and Malcolm Paton co-founded in 2012. The top brass includes VP of Engineering Minoru Yamada, Head of R&D Michael Bukchin, Head of Product Development Tracy Tsang and Project Manager Chris Moore.