​Here's what Pebble Time's smart straps could look like

An announcement of a million-dollar fund for smart-strap development, plus two early concepts for smart straps are a glimpse at what could be coming later this year.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read

How the Pebble's smart straps would connect. Pebble

Pebble's new smartwatch is coming in a few months, but innovative smart straps could be what makes the Pebble Time stand out from the competition. Pebble's CEO Eric Migicovsky explained earlier this month that the Pebble Time and Time Steel watches will work with sensor-enhanced straps that connect with an underside connector port. But what would these smart-strap accessories look like, and what could they do?

Today Pebble announced a million-dollar fund to help create these straps, with further details to come on their website about how strap ideas can be submitted. It's not clear how funds will get distributed, but Pebble has revealed two early concepts for smart straps: one from Spark.io, the other from SeeedStudio.

Seeed Studio's strap concept with "Xadow" modules. Pebble

Seeed Studio will be making a strap connector that links Pebble Time to their own set of Arduino-compatible Xadow modules, little snap-on pieces of tech that range from GPS modules to heart rate sensors to NFC. Theoretically, each extra sensor accessory could be snapped on and off the band as needed, as seen above.

Spark.io's strap concept for cellular connectivity: Spark Electron.

Spark Electron, from Spark.io, is a completely different idea: it's a cellular-connected strap with SIM card that could let the Pebble Time run of a cellular data network. For what? Who knows. The prototype pictured above is the very definition of early prototype, and basically is a concept for glomming Spark's existing cellular data wearable Kickstarter project onto the Pebble Time. But it shows that these smart straps could end up being a territory for makers and hackers.

Will major manufacturers end up making smart straps that feel like something people would want to buy, or will these straps end up being a hacker's paradise? Maybe both. That's how Pebble's own app landscape got on its feet. Pebble is clearly taking a similar approach to its straps.