When one considers how long mobile telephone communication has been available, it’s perhaps surprising that we’re still largely relying on finger input to answer calls and write emails. CommBadge aims to fix this with a wearable Bluetooth speaker that pairs with Android and iOS, and isn’t too far removed from something Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard might wear.
CommBadge attaches to the clothes of the wearer and offers wireless control of both basic telephone functions and more advanced features like Siri and Google Now, allowing users of those services to perform the usual supported tasks like dictating an email, or scheduling an appointment.
The device measures 1.5 inches (39 mm) in diameter and weighs less than a gram, with connectivity provided by a low-power Bluetooth 4.0 (or Smart) chip. An onboard noise-canceling system is reported to deliver a crystal clear voice, and CommBadge will operate at a distance of up to 30 meters (roughly 100 feet), alerting the user should the connection be lost. There’s also visual feedback courtesy of some integrated LED lights. Settings are configured with complementary iOS and Android apps.
CommBadge’s creator Charles Krimstock states that the internal battery provides "up to a full day’s use," which is a little underwhelming, though perhaps not a deal breaker when one considers that most smartphones need charging daily too.
CommBadge is produced in both consumer and business iterations, with the latter commanding a slightly higher price tag and sporting either an ID badge holder attachment, or retractable badge reel. This could prove a more attractive alternative to the similar but more expensive Vocera voice activated communications system we previously looked at.
Perhaps the biggest issue for the CommBadge is that, beyond the loudspeaker element, its functionality can already be replicated by the more ubiquitous (and discreet) Bluetooth headset, thus leaving very little reason beyond geek-appeal to encourage Bluetooth headset users to make the switch.
Still, if this doesn't put you off, then a minimum contribution of US$75 toward the product's Indiegogo campaign is required to secure a unit once it eventually reaches production.
The promo video below features the CommBadge pitch.
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning