Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sensorstream Aims "To Put a Computer on Every Wrist"

Sensorstream Pi Smart Watch Case

Sensorstream is pleased to announce the successful allowance of its smart watch case design featuring a circular display from the USPTO and its subsequent release for purchase. Commercially dubbed "Pi," this buttonless smart watch case combines an eponymous circular design with interior threading to support an upgradable modular electronics package.

Physical prototypes of the Pi smart watch case fabricated by Sensorstream's rapid-prototyping partner 3D Systems are now available via the this blog by contacting: Tom(at)Sensorstream(dot)com

The black anodized aluminum case is priced at $49.95, custom-cut circular Gorilla Glass and heavy-duty watch bands are also available for $19.95 and $14.95 respectively. Exotic metals such at 24K Gold Titanium are also available, please contact Tom for additional options.

Combined with commercially available off-the-shelf displays, Android Wear's O/S, and some "Homebrew" engineering, now any motivated early adopter can have his or her very own smart watch!
Waiting for Mike Markkula

The innovator's greatest dilemma has almost always been one of capturing enough attention with a new product to raise enough capital to sustain development of said product. Today in Silicon Valley, the focus is unabashedly software-centric. The reasons for this are obvious to anyone who has worked in traditional manufacturing or physical product development for about 10 minutes; there is no physical product to manufacture, store, ship, recall, insure, etc. Hardware is hard.

Software by its very definition allows for a mega-massive (that's right, mega-massive) distribution platform that can rapidly scale user adoption, and hence dollars. That's probably why the biggest "innovations" right now in Silicon Valley are people turning their homes into hotels hoping to avoid room taxes, pirating digital content and retransmitting it, and trying to turn everyone with a license, or not, into a cab driver. Innovation? Hardly, thinks this entrepreneur.

Luckily, we're on the cusp of another unbelievable hardware push. This time it is going to come in the form of a wearable device, specifically a smart watch. These "wrist computers" will have the greatest adoption rate of any other consumer electronics product ever released based simply on two factors; the existing, "installed" user base of 7 billion human beings and the proposed utility smart watches will offer. What is really neat about the smart watch is the fusion of a traditional wearable fashion statement with the functionality of a computer. To date, the focus has left much to be desired (who wants a watch that's not even waterproof?) That's about to change.

So how can a small entrepreneur hope to make the proverbial "dent in the universe" with a new hardware product? How can one compete against Apple, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, etc.? Frankly, you can't. Their financial muscle is unbeatable. The only hope is to harness the open source software operating systems on the market, combine that with tooling expenses that have been paid by your competitors for commercial off-the-shelf electronic components, and unleash your own patented design (Sensorstream "owns" the circular display design patent for smart watch cases) with the goal of somehow fusing form and function into a product that will become wildly popular. So wildly popular in fact, that this "wrist computer" morphs into the next disruptive technology the consumer can't leave home without his or her smart watch. The smart watch will become a necessity. This will happen. It is too obvious not to occur. 

As tech entrepreneurs, if we've learned anything at all it is this: that if Apple can't secure monetary damages or at least a ban of Samsung smart phones from directly copying their products, what chance does the small entrepreneur have? The battle must be fought with proof positive of established IP and allying with a well-funded backer and massive launch. That is the single best method to market. Otherwise your product, its innovations, its unique fingerprint in the tech landscape, will be utterly snuffed out. Point one is to get great products to market, and sell enough of them to build up the war chest for the inevitable litigation, then make more great products.

How many of us have wished for a Mike Markkula to pull into the driveway of our garage-based business with a gleaming sports car and an open checkbook? Word on the street is that there are millions (billions some say) in capital waiting on the sidelines for the "next big thing." I'm here to tell you that smart watches are it and they're probably big enough to at least cause the Valley's fortunes to tack a little away from software momentarily. Big things are in store for the early seeds of capital flowing into wrist computers; you'll see mobile pay in a whole new light, social networking should become altogether more social, and even the process of energy consumption will be changed (yes, wireless charging is here.)

Bottom line? Mike Markkulas of the world, give me a call: Eight Zero Five, 245, Zero Six Eight One; I have the blueprint of the future in hand, and it looks beautiful. Let's create something awesome.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sensorstream Releases Pi Smart Watch Case for Alpha Testing

Sensorstream is pleased to announce the release of its Pi Smart Watch Case for alpha testing and direct licensing to the smart watch community. We believe the Pi Smart Watch Case will become the de facto design for an ensuing wave of wearable technology which most logically starts with a smart watch.

If existing forecasts are correct, wearable technology will become the largest electronics market ever to exist given its potential utility, wearability, and existing customer base of over 7 billion users. The smart watch portion, if successfully harnessed, offers successful businesses the opportunity to create a $1 Trillion industry within the decade by capturing a portion of the ever-increasing number of potential smart watch wearers.

In terms of scale, it should rival the desktop, laptop, smart phone, tablet, and TV markets COMBINED. There are a lot of wrists in this world, and a smart watch makes sense on all of them!

With the above context in mind, Sensorstream holds these truths to be self-evident; that circular wrist watch faces are aesthetically and functionally superior to square or rectangular watch faces, that a sleek watch case without any exterior buttons or holes is superior to those with, and a modular "plug-and-play" design for an electronics package delivers a superior user experience. Why?

Part of the goal in penetrating and retaining a large portion of the 7 billion potential smart watch wearer market is creating an aspirational brand that has both lasting value and utility. But probably most important, however, is creating an aesthetically pleasing smart watch. To date, only the Sensorstream Pi Smart Watch Case offers the combination of a circular display, sleek design, and a modular electronics package.

Our overarching theme is to garner the look and feel of a luxury wrist watch combined with the core functionality found in some existing smart phones; namely display technology, wireless recharging, and mobile pay.

There are unquestionably also a vast number of secondary goals ranging from true mobile social networking to health/fitness apps. Sensorstream, however, is laser-focused on doing several things extremely well and letting third-party developers, engineers, and fabricators build on the baseline goals of display technology, wireless recharging, and mobile pay.

It all starts with the look and feel of a luxury watch that has evolved into a smart watch with greater utility.

The current industry approach has been to focus on "piggy-back" watches that offer limited utility and typically require the use of an associated cell phone. Sadly, most of the existing products are also made out of cheap materials that don't offer much durability or water resistance.

As a technology community, if we're really serious about pursuing a large audience, and the entire human race would qualify, we need to be serious about durability; barring a limited sliver of the global population that embraces a "disposal" attitude, a valued possession should stand the test of time.

And if we're going to talk about durability we need to start with dirt and water. Dirt and water are probably the two greatest engineering challenges facing development of a robust smart watch platform; Sensorstream's Pi Smart Watch Case helps to address both; inherently by its design, the Pi Smart Watch Case is a closed system without any buttons or holes. This bars dirt and water from entry into the entire system save for a catastrophic failure of the case. Additionally, the threaded front-entry system for the electronics package also builds on the goal of having a waterproof and dirt-proof system; the goal would be to have a threaded electronics package that screws snuggly into the smart watch case. The Pi Smart Watch Case was specifically engineered for durability.

Coincidently that is also why the Sensorstream Pi Smart Watch Case was designed to be fabricated out of nearly any type of material on earth; this is particularly important when one considers the advantages of hard metals like stainless steel and titanium, but perhaps even more desirous when one thinks about casting in gold for both durability and portable wealth. The vast majority of the world is looking for the ability to "store" value or wealth; the Pi Smart Watch Case design offers them that opportunity.

Why a circular display? Valid question considering nearly every single display we see in this world is either a rectangle or square, but going to the roots of a time display, a calendar, the seasons, the rotation of the Earth, we inevitably return to the purity of a circle. A circular display for a smart watch is superior not only aesthetically and functionally, but also contours to the wrist better.

Finally, why a focus on "plug-and-play" versus a traditional fixed electronics package? Electronics are almost always obsolete the moment they are purchased; from faster processors, to better displays, to longer battery life--the list goes on and on.

The reality of the situation is that an owner's smart watch case should last infinitely longer than the electronics package; the ability to "swap out" an electronics package would be a monumental new approach in the electronics industry and should be pursued from the beginning from both an environmental recycling approach and utility of design/functionality theory. Additionally, tastes change too; so maybe the user wants a different color case, better quality metal, or just another case as a spare. The "plug-and-play" methodology offers a viable solution to the above concerns.

At Sensorstream, we feel there is no greater disruptive technology hiding in plain sight than the Pi Smart Watch Case; we welcome the opportunity to alpha test and license this product to help radically improve and connect the world.

All Content and Images Copyright Thomas H. Rapko 2010-2014
The Sensorstream Pi Smart Watch Case is Patent-Pending
Sensorstream and Pi are Registered Trademarks