Gadgets

Glance is a Kickstarter project that turns any watch into a smartwatch

glance

Love the idea of owning a smartwatch but hate the idea of giving up your existing watch? Glance is a tiny add-on that gives your wrist the best features of a smartwatch at a rock-bottom price.

Wearables — and smartwatches in particular — are just about all anyone in the technosphere wants to talk about right now (well, except for our current and hopefully short-lived obsession with dumb apps that do next to nothing).

There’s good reason for this interest. Smartwatches hold the promise of being able to free you from pulling out your phone every time you need to see who’s texting or calling you, plus their embedded sensors could enable a digital-health revolution.

Trouble is, without exception, every smartwatch that has hit the market is about as beautiful as a Casio Calculator Watch (sorry, hipster Casio nerds). If you are amongst the millions of people who have spent some serious cash to own a high-end timepiece, you pretty much have to shelve that work of chronographic art indefinitely while you avail yourself of the utilities that a smartwatch can bring to your wrist.

That just isn’t right.

Thank goodness a team of Canadian inventors is here to rescue our old-fashioned, Bluetoothless relics from the underwear drawer with their Kickstarter project aptly called “Glance.”

Simply put, Glance is like a smartwatch greatest-hits collection of features housed in a thin and light curved chunk of aluminum that can be worn under the strap of your existing watch. At first Glance (hah!), it sounds and looks horrible and uncomfortable. Its creators promise that isn’t so.

According to its project page, the Glance can do most of the things a Pebble can do, for far less than half the price (backers can get in on the Glance action starting at $70 plus shipping), plus a thing or two the Pebble can’t do (more on that in a moment).

Packing a 3D motion sensor, Bluetooth 4.0, and a high-contrast (albeit tiny) OLED display, the Glance can show you notifications for incoming calls, let you read incoming text message via a scrolling system called “Spritz,” and respond to said text messages with the touch of button (or a shake of the wrist!) using canned messages such as “Can’t respond, I’m juggling three chainsaws” or perhaps the more likely “Can’t respond, I’m driving.”

But wait, there’s more! (Cue informerical music…)

The Glance can be used as an “air mouse” to control your Smart TV or computer (the Glance app will let you configure these options) and track your activity (naturally – who doesn’t want to track everything these days?). Best of all, the thing is waterproof and available in both silver and gold, which might make it the first gadget that actually has a reason to come in gold. It will also be manufactured in three different widths for compatibility with the greatest number of wrists and watchstraps.

Of course, if you’re under the age of 30, there’s a good chance you view any watch as a sure sign that its wearer is from a distant analog past and should probably be offered a does of Geritol with their half-caff latte. For you, Glance can be worn watch-free with the bracelet of your choice.

Someday, hopefully in the not-too-distant-future, all watches will be able to give us an untethered connection to our digital lives. But in the meantime, we have Glance.

So grab your Rolex or TAGHeuer or Ebel watch, dust it off and then reach for your credit card. You, my friend, are about to have a Glance (hah!) at the future. Just don’t delay. There are only 12 days to go, and the founders are only a third of their way to their funding goal.

Simon Cohen is one of Canada’s most experienced consumer tech voices and has appeared nationally online as well as on TV and radio.


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