At the recent Wearable Tech Expo in New York, I sat down with the co-founders of Actv Content, creators of the Sync Smartband. The company is currently running an Indiegogo campaign in the hopes of producing the wearable device, aimed at kids and parents. The $70 device (discounted from a potential $129) has three functions - it can track sleep patterns, has a location-based tracker and synchronizes health information on an app for parents and caregivers (including a list of allergies and emergency contacts).
The biggest function (in my opinion, as a dad) is the location tracker. When the Smartband is synchronized with an app on the parent’s smartphone, an alert can get sent if the child wanders away from a safe zone (or "virtual fence") that the parent can configure, up to 150 feet (because the device speaks with the smartphone app via Bluetooth). If you can't see the child once the alert goes off, you can still use the app to help locate them (via Bluetooth, not GPS, so this would only work within the 150-foot range of the wireless). Over the course of my kids’ lives, there have been a couple of times when I suddenly noticed that one of them was gone - fortunately, I was able to quickly find them - but I can see how this could appeal to parents of younger kids. An accelerometer on the device is used to alert parents if someone tries to take the Sync Smartband off the child.
The other functions are also interesting - the Health Keeper app allows parents (and caregivers, through a free app download that they can synchronize with the child’s band) to have medical information (allergies, etc.) and emergency contact information. On the fitness front, the sleep tracker (tracking REM sleep) and fitness tracker (tracking steps) seem like nice add-ons to have, but not as important as those first two functions. The band is made out of hypoallergenic rubber and is also water resistant, and feels lightweight enough where the child (or parent) doesn’t feel like they’re wearing a heavy device.
While it’s possible that a lot of these functions will become available on a smart watch (my guess is that Apple would put a sleep tracker and/or fitness tracker on their rumored device), I’m not sure whether parents would spend $200 (or more) on a watch for their kids. But $70 for a Bluetooth alert system and fitness tracker? Perhaps.
The company hopes to ship its device in February 2015 if the crowdfunding campaign is successful. Check it out if you're interested in helping the company reach its goal.