While the Women's Safety X Prize focused on wearables that work without the need for a phone, Canadian personal safety startup Seam Technic is betting on the reverse - you just need a wearable that can act as a remote to your smartphone.
That's the idea behind Lotus, a $129.95 unisex connected button that's up for pre-order now and can be worn as a badge, necklace or bracelet with a range of accessories and attachments.
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It works with iPhone and Android (though the features differ) and it lets you make two-way audio calls via the wearable and also voice control your phone from the device, using Siri or Google Assistant for everyday things like directions, weather and dictating text messages.
The real sell here is the ability to make a hands-free call to a friend, family member or the emergency services by holding both buttons. Calls to friends and family works with iPhone and Android but the emergency service call feature seems to only be available on Android - at least for now.
The Seam Personal Safety app itself looks pretty fully featured. You can tap both buttons on the Lotus to start recording images (from both your phone's cameras), streamed ambient audio and your GPS location and then tap again to share with up to five emergency contacts - all in real-time. Even in non-emergency situations, that's a pretty nice feature to have for say, a friend walking home alone at night - it's the connected self version of "Text me when you get home".
Journeys are saved for 24 hours for free but Seam Technic also has a premium service called Seam Plus that lets you save audio and images for three months - this costs $5.99 a month, $14.99 for three months or $47.99 for 12 months.
Seam Voice also works with Google Assistant so your contacts could say "OK Google, where is Amy?" and it will tell them what street you're on. Battery life for Lotus is seven hours standby, five hours talk time and it comes with a charging case that will keep it going for up to 42 hours.
We've seen a lot of similar safety wearables in the past, some of which rely on mass adoption to work, but Lotus looks like a really viable, affordable, mainstream option which, most importantly, is available to buy now.
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