A customisable, modular smartwatch called Blocks promises a choice of features to fit your lifestyle.
Michelle StarrScience editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
The beautiful thing about a PC is that it can be customised for your needs. You need better graphics capabilities? You can upgrade your video card. Running out of memory? You can install some more. Heck, you could gut the entire case and fill it with entirely new components if you wanted.
With the ubiquity of mobile devices now, it would seem that that level of customisability would be very useful.
That's the idea behind Blocks, a modular smartwatch with mix-and-match features.
"Wearable devices are very personal devices, so naturally being able to customise yours would be amazing, as you could make it unique to your own lifestyle! Also, because smartwatch technology is so new, there are new versions of products being released every few months, so the sustainability angle that modularity brings would also be a huge plus," wrote Blocks spokesperson Hakeem Javaid as a guest blogger on the Phonebloks blog.
"After months of research, we finally managed to prove our modular concept in one weekend. Not a normal weekend due to the extreme lack of sleep, but time well spent on proving it worked. We had built simple display, processor, motion sensor and temperature sensor blocks, and we could connect them in any combination we liked."
Proposed modules include rectangular and circular touchscreen faces; an E Ink face, a la Pebble; microphone; motion sensor; gesture control; GPS; heart monitor; blood oxygen monitor; environment sensor; fingerprint scanner; audio jack; camera; extra battery; concealed USB stick; NFC chip for contactless payments; flashlight; programmable button; SIM port; and kinetic charging.
Each of the modules will also have removable covers, meaning that you can customise the look, as well as the functionality, of your device -- and you could even swap out which modules the watch contains on a daily basis if you needed to. As for where these modules all fit, they make up the links of the bracelet.
"Over the past 8 months we've been working non-stop on our next prototype, and we decided to take part in Intel's Make It Wearable challenge. Out of 400+ applicants, we ended up as one of the top 10 finalists. Not only did that bring us $50,000 funding from Intel, but also provided us with their latest processors!" Javaid said.
"Having gone very far with the hardware and design of Blocks, we're now focusing more on the software side. We're currently aiming to base our OS on Samsung and Intel's Tizen OS, and are working towards supporting Android, iOS and Windows Phone."
Blocks will enter a crowdfunding phase in Q2 of next year, with pricing yet to be announced. The watch is supposed to ship toward the end of 2015.
Correction, July 21 at 8 a.m. AEST.: This post was updated to remove incorrect information. There is no relationship between Blocks and Phonebloks.