Fund this: Trivoly turns your regular watch into a smartwatch

Can a smartwatch have its guts on the outside? This Kickstarter project says so.

2 min read

You know that watch you love? The one that looks cool and never needs winding? Too bad all it does is tell time.

You could get a smartwatch, sure, but then you'd have to abandon the watch you really like for one that, maybe, you aren't so fond of.

Kickstarter project Trivoly aims to turn "dumb" watches into smart ones. It's a small black disc that adheres to the back of your existing watch, adding features like notifications, health monitoring and music controls. In other words, it's like the guts of a traditional smartwatch made external.


Interesting idea. The water-resistant Trivoly has a diameter of 30 millimeters and a thickness of 3 millimeters, so it's a hair larger and thicker than a quarter (which is just over 24 millimeters across). It relies on a double-sided adhesive sticker to piggyback on the underside of your watch.

According to the developer, "This sticker can be reused when switching the disc to another watch and does not leave any residue. So [there is] no risk of losing the Trivoly during daily wearing."

The Trivoly's creators also promise up to four days of battery life -- a bit more than double what you get from an Apple Watch or the average Android Wear watch, but about half that of a Pebble Time.

The gizmo offers three key features, plus an optional fourth. When you receive a call, text message, calendar alert or the like, the disc will buzz and LEDs will flash. You can customize these notifications (number of buzzes, color of LEDs) and set priority notifications that come through even when others are silenced.

The Trivoly also functions as a pedometer, relying your step data to an eponymous app. That's the Trivoly 1; the Trivoly 2 adds an optical heart rate monitor.

Finally, you can remotely control music (volume, next/last track, Play/Pause) by tapping the edges or center of your watch. A tap can also trigger the camera shutter if you're looking for remote-control selfies.

If all this sounds a bit familiar, you may be thinking of Kiwi Wearables' Glance, a failed Kickstarter project that aimed to add smartwatch features to your watchband.

Will the Trivoly see the light of day? The developers are seeking $100,000, with about $17,000 pledged so far and nearly a month to go. Early backers can sign up for a Trivoly 1 for $99 or a Trivoly 2 for $129 -- each a $20 discount on the expected retail prices. (Converted, that's about £65 or AU$140 for a Trivoly 1 and £85 or AU$180 for a Trivoly 2. The project says it will ship internationally.) First shipments are due in February 2016.

Much as I love the idea of adding smarts to my favorite analog watch, those prices seem a little high. Your thoughts?