Wearables don’t come much stranger than this. Built for practising Buddhists, Acer’s Leap Beads count the number of mantras recited during prayer time.
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While it might seem like a very niche market, Acer is not overly concerned. There are almost 8 million Buddhist in Taiwan alone and 500 million worldwide, representing 9% to 10% of the total population. China is the country with the largest population of Buddhists, accounting approximately for a half of the global total.
Built of wood, the Taiwanese company’s latest wearable contain a smart chip that tallies the number of times a mantra has been repeated and displays this on a smartphone app. Located in the mala’s largest bead, the chip tracks how often the user has rotated the bead through their hands. Every complete rotation represents one mantra.
This allows the worshipper to focus on prayers rather than keeping tabs on the number of mantras recited. The results are turned into ‘credits’ which can then be shared over social media to loved ones and friends.
“Acer is continually talking to customers and looking for ways to use technology to simplify everyday life,” a spokesman said.
“The intent is to help people concentrate on the mantra versus being distracted by counting the times the mantra is recited.”
The largest bead features a picture of a lotus flower on it, which lights up when the unique wearable is being charged. The battery lasts about 4 days between charges.
The smart beads also double up as a basic fitness tracker counting the number of steps, distance and monitoring sleep. Acer says it may add more features later on such as electronic payments.
Apparently, more than 10,000 orders have already been placed. For now, Leap Beads are only being sold to religious organizations in Taiwan. The price is 3,888 Taiwanese dollars which equates to around $130. No word yet on international availability.
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