We’re still in the early days of smartwatches and companies like Apple, Pebble and Google have all shown their take on how best to navigate and access content within a tiny screen attached to your wrist. While so far most attempts involve touch and voice, few buttons and a physical crown, a Kickstarter project aims to try something a little different with a clip-on accessory called the Aria.
Designed to work with Android Wear and Pebble Time devices, the Aria clips underneath your smartwatch’s band and lets you control the device with various finger gestures. The Aria is able to measure the movement in your wrist from those finger gestures and translate this into an action without ever having to touch the smartwatch screen. You can configure gestures like tapping, flicking your fingers, and closing and opening your hand through a companion app.
Although interacting with your watch this way may seem strange and unintuitive, it doesn’t seem like Aria is intended as your primary form of interaction, but rather a convenient alternative for when your hands are occupied on other tasks like eating, drinking or talking on the phone -- and you just can’t wait to respond to a certain notification or using an app.
The Aria will come in two variants: the cheaper model costs $69 and it will attach directly to the Pebble Time so it doesn’t need bluetooth or its own battery. A more expensive $169 unit is aimed at developers complete with a built-in battery and Bluetooth radio to work nicely with Android Wear. The SDK is also compatible with iOS but Apple Watch support isn’t advertised.
The Kickstarter campaign isn’t yet live but should be up in the next few weeks. While it’s unlikely it’ll pick up much interest at those prices, it’s still interesting to see people figuring out new ways of interacting with wearable tech.