September 30, 2017 weblog
Light-harvesting smartwatch shines on Kickstarter
(Tech Xplore)—LunaR is a smartwatch that is now up on Kickstarter and its key feature is a standout for those who would not like to be bothered by battery management. LunaR's team have turned to Kickstarter to get it to the next step and into people's hands.
LunaR is offering solar power in a smartwatch. Notably, the watch can harvest energy both from sunlight and artificial light.
Nick Lavars in New Atlas said that with that clear solar panel over the watch face, its ability to harvest light from natural and artificial sunlight is so much so that, "with as little as one hour of daily exposure to light, its 110-mAh lithium-polymer battery can apparently stay fully charged."
The price: It is $138 on Kickstarter. The creators said the retail price will be $239. They were even pitching it earlier on at $99 but at that lower price they later posted "reward no longer available."
The watch has a transparent solar panel from Sunpartner Technologies, a company focused on transparent photovoltaic technologies.
The creators gave it dual time zone functionality (the promotional video shows a man looking at his watch in office, seeing time in Amsterdam and New York).
Other functions include sleep tracking and Notifications. "All notifications that show on your phone are supported by LunaR. After installing the LunaR app, it will automatically index all your apps and become configurable. You can set a different LED color for each app-notification."
The Lunar app makes it easy to see and analyze all data aggregated by the watch. Android and iOS are both compatible. "As for now, Windows Phone isn't on our roadmap," they said.
Michael Sawh in Wareable walked readers through what happens when you put it on your wrist, and you "make sure the watch screen is not hiding beneath your shirt sleeve and it'll start absorbing light to store into the rechargeable battery."
You monitor light-harvesting from the smartphone app, where it swings into action as soon as sunlight is detected. "This sets the small sun icon spinning on the app's dashboard to indicate that it's soaking the light up." Sawh said they got their hands on a working prototype for a look and he wrote "well, it appears to absolutely work based on the time we've had with it. We've only had the watch for just over a week and we've not had to think about charging it once."
At the time of this writing, the watch creators have drawn $96,420 in pledges out of a $50,000 goal. They have 25 days to go. Estimated delivery is December.
The Verge's Chaim Gartenberg, meanwhile, wrote about the watch design:
"From a design perspective, Lunar doesn't look terrible either: it has a simple black watchface ornamented with some decorative concentric rings. The case measures 41mm and is made from stainless steel, while the crystal offers a choice of either sapphire-coated glass or sapphire crystal glass. The biggest issue is the giant, off-center "Lunar" logo that dominates the 4 o'clock area of the face, which lends a tacky feel to the entire thing."
Michael Sawh in Wareable had another take on the design. "We're big fans of the minimalist approach, from the matte finish on the metal casing and the buttons to the sun-themed watch face and black and white hands. It's simple, stylish and crucially, not chunky."
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