The Nex Band, on Indiegogo now and shipping as soon as June, is taking the idea of a wearable controller to its logical conclusion. Aside from a few LED alerts, this is its raison d'etre.
The $150 modular, programmable band features five 'Mods' which can be set up as one touch controls for music, smart home, selfies and even games.
It hooks up to the If This Then That platform (IFTTT) to handle smart home controls like opening garages and controlling Hue light bulbs. But the Nex Band also allows you to create custom recipes, which it calls 'hacks' via the app - one nice example is that pressing one button turns the whole band into a music controller (play, pause, volume up/down).
The mods themselves can also be easily removed and swapped with friends' bands to share photos and other files, a play to make this a social wearable from the start. For game-obsessed teens, for instance, this could mean that because the Mods have unique IDs, they can act as swappable characters, weapons or power-ups. Take the band off your wrist and it can also be used as a five key gamepad. Nifty.
The look is more gadget geek than chic but the IPx6 , polycarbonate smart band does come in two sizes and two colours (black and cream) for the time being. Plus open CAD files will mean you will be able to customise your own designs. That good value Indiegogo price is $50 off what the wearable will cost from this summer. It's worth noting that it's iOS only to begin with, which is a shame - Android compatibility is coming this October. The battery life is a decent, if not spectacular, 3 to 5 days.
Mighty Cast, the Montreal based company behind the Nex Band, is hoping that advanced users, hackers and third parties will take advantage of the open platform to add sensors, memory and contactless payments to Nex Mods. Whether that actually happens depends if the band can replicate the success of the Blocks modular smartwatch last year.
A couple of software updates are already set for July including controlling your Sonos system and sending your location via text with one push of a Nex button.
"Our goal is to democratize the wearable space; to give complete creative control and empowerment to our community," said Adam Adelman, Mighty Cast's CEO. "Nexers can create a Hack in seconds."