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Product Design
Published: 4 Jun 2015

Blocks: Modular Smartwatch

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Blocks

Blocks is a UK-based initiative to create a modular smartwatch that can be customised to the wearer's specifications. The concept has been developed by American processor manufacturer Qualcomm and British jewellery and accessories brand Tateossian.

The watch is composed of different modules that can be interchanged for a device that best suits the user's needs. Components include a choice of a round or rectangular touchscreen face, with the option for a slim e-ink face also proposed. As with a conventional smartwatch, content is delivered to the device through a compatible iOS or Android smartphone.

Each link of the strap will also have a particular function, such as heart rate monitor, gesture control unit or kinetic charger. The strap modules will also feature removable covers, allowing wearers to alter the colour or material. These varied functionalities enable users to tailor the device to their individual requirements and priorities – for example, sports, health or payments.

Blocks is launching this week at Computex Taipei 2015 (June 2-6) and will be available through a crowdfunding campaign later this summer. At the initial stage, just a selection of the planned modules will be available, with plans to extend the range in the future. The device is also being designed on an open platform, allowing others to create or sell their own compatible modules.

Modular technology products are growing in popularity thanks to their ability to be customised to an individual's needs – although previously, this approach has mainly been used in conjunction with mobile phones, as seen by NexPaq, Motorola and Circular Devices.

As highlighted in Ethical Electronics, modular products are also considered a more sustainable solution due to the ability to replace a single module rather than an entire device in order to update or repair a model.

For more on the latest developments in wearable technology, see International CES 2015 and Wearable Technology Show 2015.

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