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Wearable Tech

E-ink Eyecatcher smart bracelet promises a yearlong battery

No charger, no problem. A new smart bracelet up for crowdfunding aims to deliver battery life that smartwatches can only dream about.

If you have a smartwatch, you've probably seen it spend a lot of time with its charging system. Most of those wearables are meant to sit on your nightstand, recharging every night in order to have enough juice to the survive the day. Forget to charge it and you'll have to deal with a dead watch. The Looksee Labs Eyecatcher smart bracelet on Kickstarter wants to remove power worries from the wearables equation.

This is a very different animal from a gadget like the Apple Watch . There are no buttons. You won't activate it with a finger swipe. The display isn't in color. Everything that shows up on the bracelet is controlled through an iOS smartphone app. It does have 8MB of built-in memory for storing up to 12 images for when your phone is out of reach.

The Eyecatcher is part fashion accessory, part practical. It can display a slideshow of patterns or pictures or show off a regular watch face. Like with smartwatches, it also displays alarms, news and app notifications.

Eyecatcher bracelet
The Eyecatcher can change with your mood. Looksee Labs

Looksee Labs says the battery will last up to a year on a single charge. That depends on use, of course, so expect something shorter if you're constantly updating the watch's display all day and night long. Still, if the battery is anywhere close to as promised, the Eyecatcher will be a rare beast in today's landscape of power-hungry mobile devices.

The low-power, flexible electrophoretic display (more commonly known as electronic paper or e-ink) is key to the promised long-lasting battery life.

The Kickstarter project is aiming to raise $75,000. It just launched and has so far attracted nearly $50,000. Early-bird pledge prices for an Eyecatcher start at $214 (about £140, AU$300). Keep in mind that not all crowdfunding campaigns deliver as expected and on time.

The concept of an e-ink bracelet has appeared before. The tago arc was successfully funded on Indiegogo earlier this year with an Android-only bracelet focused on offering different patterns and images. What sets the Eyecatcher apart from this is the iPhone compatibility and the ability to display news and notifications, a la smartwatches.

The Eyecatcher isn't trying to supplant smartwatches; it's trying to sidle up next to them like a stealthy supermodel, drawing your attention to the possibilities of a high-tech gadget that is as much about fashion as it is about function.