We’ve covered a number of interesting wearables at CES 2023 in Las Vegas. Another one comes from a Dutch health startup called Nowatch. Their timepiece is designed to reduce overstimulation & stress by replacing the watch-face with a range of visually appealing materials.
The wearable was initially announced via an Indiegogo campaign in December 2021 and previewed at CES 2022. But it is only from next week that is will become available for everyone to buy. The crowdfunding campaign raised just over $100,000 towards the development of the device. The 235 backers each contributed around $500. The reasons for the steep price lie in the specs.
A watch that doesn’t show the time
Nowatch resembles a regular smartwatch but it lacks one important thing – it doesn’t have a standard display or regular smart features. Instead of a screen, Nowatch uses unique and visually interesting materials, such as ethically sourced gemstones, as its watch-face. Think of it as a fitness tracker that looks like a smartwatch.
The idea here is to sell something discreet. Something that is not overwhelming, constantly delivering notifications and other distractions. Nowatch is taking a different approach to traditional wearable technology. Its a push back against stress, overstimulation and anxiety. A wake-up call not to get lost in distractions!
One of Nowatch’s party tricks is its ability to predict stress levels in your body in real-time. The watch gets this ability thanks to an electrodermal sensor (EDA), similar to the one that can be found in Fitbit Sense.
EDA sensors detect tiny electrical changes called electrodermal activity responses on a user’s skin. But rather than just tracking the metric, Nowatch has the ability to predict congnitive zones up to an hour in advance, including the wearer’s mood and stress fingerprint.
The device can also send subtle vibrations to the wearer to help them become aware of their stressors and emotional outputs. So if you see yourself getting anxious, the thing gives you ample time to take some time to calm down by stretching or perhaps meditating. Or just chilling on the sofa. The company says its stress-tracking algorithms were put together by Philips.
Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets
Other sensors include including red and green PPG, an accelerometer, temperature sensors, along with a barometer. Users can interact with Nowatch through an iOS or Android app, which displays the wearer’s vitals metrics in real time and offers suggestions and actionable insights for a more balanced life.
Interestingly, Nowatch does not monitor sports activities like traditional wearables. Instead, the device calculates energy expenditure by working out the number of metabolic calories needed to sustain your basal metabolic rate (BMR). The system has been designed to be more about general health than individual sports tracking.
Lots of customisation options
The beautiful looking watch-like device can go around 4 days between charges. It is rated 3 ATM for water-resistance and comes in a number of different designs.
You’ll also have the option to pair it with a range of gemstones that can be purchased separately. This includes White Agate, Tigers Eye, Rose Quartz, Malachite, Lapis Lazuli, Labradorite, Falcon Eye and Amethysts. Prices for these additional stones will range from $25 to several hundred dollars. The company is also working on limited edition models in collaboration with artists and jewelry makers
In a market crowded with health trackers, Nowatch offers something refreshingly different. Its a focus on aesthetics and mindfulness rather than notifications and constant distractions.
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