Mighty Cast is unveiling a new developer platform for its wearable watch-like device dubbed the NEX Band today. It is one more in an army of wearable wristbands, but NEX Band hopes to make it unique as a modular platform that third parties can use to create applications and games that run upon it.
In particular, the NEX Bands’ interchangeable “mods” will focus on social, gaming, and mobile notifications. At any given time, a consumer could use five different mods on the band. The company hopes to target the “smart charm bracelet” at teens and young adults.
Montreal-based Mighty Cast is announcing that its software development kit and applications programming interface are now available for developers to use so that they can build mods. The company launched the wearable in December.
The NEX band uses a proprietary base, the band, and token technology (or mods) to connect physical, collectible objects to the cloud. Developers can create their own mods and monetize them.
With the NEX Band, each mod represents a related game, social channel, or other mobile app that can, once snapped onto the band, send notifications to the band’s wearer.
Applications can include customized notifications, messaging, proximity detection, and mod tracking. Wearers can also swap mods with other NEX Band users to unlock new experiences. For gamemakers, the collectible mods can include characters, weapons, or upgrades. Mod identifications are managed in the cloud, creating a dynamic and ever-changing experience with real-time analytics.
“Because The NEX Band is modular, it gives power to the consumer to customize their user experiences on the inside and their styles on the outside; all the while protecting against obsolescence,” said Adam Adelman, the CEO and cofounder of Mighty Cast, in a statement. “The technology we’ve created is also extensible to other form factors outside of wearables such as toys or the connected home. This provides virtual brands an opportunity to offer a dynamic physical component – something viral, shareable, traceable, discoverable and secure.”
Mighty Cast hopes people will like its wearable as a fashion accessory. The mod connects mechanically to the NEX Band, which has most of the horsepower to do the wearable computing. NEX mods can contain a multicolored light-emitting diode (LED) with a unique ID that is referenced in the cloud.
“As such, we can manage data actively in the cloud provide a dynamic experience,” Adelman said. “For example, individual mods could act as different game pieces – ostensibly creating a game console on the wrist. But unlike Skylanders, where the experience is static, NEX mods can store progress, distance traveled, cities visited, and the number of different people who have ever used that particular mod. Then, at the higher end with Mods that have embedded hardware and sensors, we offer developers a turnkey solution to get their technology to market in an inexpensive and efficient manner.”
Adelman cofounded the company with his wife, Belinda Takahashi. The company itself has just seven employees, so it can’t build all of the mods itself. It was founded in San Francisco in 2011 but moved to Montreal in 2012. The company has done two years of focus-testing with tweens and teens to validate the demand.
Rivals include Google’s Project Ara. Others in the fitness/wearable market include Nike’s Fuelband, FitBit, Misfit Wearables, and Jawbone.
The company was self-funded until 2013. Then it raised a seed round of capital of $1 million from an angel investor and BDC Venture Capital. Mighty Cast also received a $1 million award from the Canadian government to build our own proprietary gaming content for The NEX Band.
The founders were previously the creators of Juno Baby, which made children’s education products. It was renamed The Juno Company and sold in 2009.