Tyia smart bracelet unchains you from a smartphone

Tyia smart bracelet - this is the "Walt Adler edition"

In a move that’s quite the opposite from the principles of the instant notifications of the Apple Watch, Tyia is a smart bracelet that filters out all but the most essential alerts when you’d prefer to spend time away from your technology.

The Tyia smart bracelet (image courtesy Viawear)

The Tyia smart bracelet (image courtesy Viawear)

We all know the situation where you’d like to unlink from your smartphone and push back, but at the same time, needing to wait or wanting to be available for an important alert.

It’s this trade-off that can lead to surreptitiously checking your phone (it used to be called the BlackBerry Prayer) in circumstances where you know that you really should be focusing on other things.

Tyia is the answer: An elegant and stylish bracelet that’s also smart and can glow or vibrate – or both – to give you an alert. Set-up is simple via a rules-based wizard on an iPhone or Android phone and as the company says, “Tyia blends high-end jewelry design with cutting-edge technology to create a beautiful and useful accessory”.

From the ability to provide a basic 15-minute warning ahead of your next appointment through to rat-a-tat morse code style pulsing to let you know that a message has arrived that meets a more complex set of criteria, Tyia is the evolution of the 1990s radio pager / beeper – but in a different world when it comes to design. It’s also a sort-of evolution on the ‘mood bracelets’ that were a brief fad a while back.

There are three parts – a gemstone fixed into a precious metal body, and a wrist strap. Pricing is not yet announced but we expect $250 plus, based on the high quality materials. Among the launch options are 18k gold and sterling silver, with white quartz and citrine stones used for the visual alerts, and quality-looking leather straps.

Gamification not crowd-funding
Update June 17: As well as Instead of the usual crowd-funding route (Tyia is now on Indiegogo, with discounted bracelets starting at US $200 and rising to a $10k Benefactors Edition from solid gold or platinum), San Francisco-based start-up Viawear is using gamification to spread the word, awarding points to “fans” who will spread the word. Points mean prizes, of course – free bracelets for the fans who make the most noise … (note, WTW is independent and we are not collecting referral points or any other rewards with this post).

Tyia is also an activity tracker and can be paired with Apple Health. The bracelet genuinely looks like a high quality piece of jewelry, there’s not a rubber strap or an OLED display anywhere to be seen. For the casual observer, you’d imagine a Tyia band to be simply jewelry – until, perhaps, it starts to flash or vibrate.

According to the company’s site, there is a very personal story behind the device: “Tyia is named for a busy therapist who, one day in 2012, silenced her smartphone, only to later learn she’d missed several calls telling her that her 5-year-old had broken his arm. Tyia’s husband, Ben, knew that technology was available to create a bracelet that could alert her to urgent messages—but he knew it would have to beautiful and useful enough for Tyia to wear every day.”

Bless.

/WTW

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