The Halo smart bracelet, making its debut at MWC, is a clever safety wearable with some serious minimalist style.
The Bluetooth smart jewellery is a collaboration between Scandinavian studio Jacob Jensen Design and Chinese safety company Eachpal. Tap it three times or shake your wrist three times and Halo will automatically send an SOS distress message to a friend or family member and automatically start recording audio on your smartphone – clever.
The idea is that it’s much quicker than reaching for your phone but it doesn’t look like a dorky safety gadget either. You can set up one emergency contact in the Halo app, which is also where you can set up the secondary features – there’s no fitness tracking here though. Instead, you can set up five gestures which the smart bracelet will recognise to handle calls or open apps on your phone.
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Somewhat oddly, the taps are reserved for the SOS alert and wave-heavy gestures are used for more day to day tasks such as declining a call, taking a selfie, opening a music app etc. If it were up to us, we reckon it would make more sense to use the taps for the everyday stuff and the three shakes of the fist for the emergency situations.
Excuse me, I have to find my phone
The minimalist design can be worn as a brooch or necklace as you can remove the module from the bangle plus covers can be swapped out to change up the aesthetic. It comes in two models, the first €149 and the second €199. This accessory is obviously aimed at women but Jacob Jensen Design and Eachpal are also working on a device for kids with the safety of elderly people also in the forefront of their minds.
“For me, the main idea is that it has a SOS notification,” Timothy Jacob Jensen, the design studio’s CEO and chief designer, told us. “Most women have a cellphone but it’s deep down in that bag. When a bad guy comes, they don’t have the time to say – excuse me, I have to find my phone.”
The collaboration came about after the 58 year-old Jacob Jensen Design, known chiefly for its work with Bang Olufsen, opened up a studio in Shanghai where Eachpal is based.
“We met Richard [Yi, Eachpal’s CEO] at a design fair. He had this wonderful idea and this technology but he needed, I guess, design competence and distribution etc,” he said. It’s not the studio’s first foray into wearable tech, either.
“I did the first smartwatch back in 1991! That’s a long time ago. I liked this idea, Richard told me that 800,000 children go missing every year in China. And for elderly people, they have these ugly, big plastic things around their necks. This makes you feel safer but it doesn’t have to tell you how many steps you’ve done or what time you went to sleep last night.”
Battery life on the bracelet is four weeks and the €199 model charges wirelessly on a bundled dock. It’s waterproof too. The Halo smart bracelet will be available in mid 2016 – we’ll update this story when we have firm release date.