All it takes is one random smartphone notification to distract you from your busy day. Unfortunately, there aren’t many ways around the issue. Placing your mobile device on silent will leave you checking your pocket every few minutes in anticipation for a message or call, which can sometimes be worse than having your phone on full blast.
Helping you stay in the moment is Vinaya, a London-based startup that specializes in smart jewelry and wearables. The brand strongly believes that technology should help you engage your surroundings (relationships, daily tasks and personal hobbies) and not the other way around. “We believe that it’s only through facilitating such a human-centric research loop that we can arrive at meaningful solutions. Our aim is to become a go-to resource for lifestyle management in the digital age, and to pave the path for mindful technology innovation,” explained Vinaya CEO Kate Unsworth.
The group recently released an innovative, modular smart device that, from a distance, looks like casual jewelry. Called Altruis, the digital stone is designed to connect to your smartphone (only works with iPhones) via Bluetooth. Its primary function for letting you know that your phone is receiving something is vibration. The piece isn’t a substitution for smartphone notifications, because it doesn’t make any sounds (that would defeat the whole purpose of the gadget). You also won’t find a display panel or subtle LED lighting options. All you have is vibration, and for the startup’s consumer demographic (females) who carries their phones in a bag, the notification system works extremely well.
Inside the stone, you’ll find a functioning circuit board, battery and vibration motor. The piece can be worn on your finger, neck or wrist. Vinaya offers several types of jewelries that you can use to support the pendant. Battery life lasts up to three weeks, though this threshold obviously depends on the amount of notifications you receive daily. But because the device doesn’t have any other battery-hungry features, performance should be reliable and consistent. Charging the device can be done wirelessly using a magnetic USB cable. You don’t have to remove the piece from the jewelry to connect to the charger.
Feeling the Vibe
The official Altruis app by Kovert Designs offers a variety of vibration options to help you distinguish the different types of incoming notifications. Priority notifications are allotted three short, powerful shakes, while low priority apps are limited to one. You can customize the unique vibration settings through the app’s panel. The app is also where you can update the firmware and check on battery life.
The startup offers a range of designs for its wearables. The Cleopatra ring ($345) is a shiny yellow, gold-plated piece with a black ceramic smart stone. A more subtle option is the Cleopatra necklace ($430), which comes in a rose, gold-plated base with a white ceramic stone. Lastly, the Cleopatra bracelet ($385) offers a thick leather strap with yellow, gold-plated accents. For more information on the jewelry styles and color combinations, check out the company’s online shop.