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A Kickstarter project that launched this week wants to put a mic on your wrist, for constant audio monitoring, in a twist on the wearable tech and quantified self movement. The Kapture, as it’s called, pairs with an iOS and Android smartphone app that allows for quick sharing of audio clips recorded by the hardware wristband, which is constantly recording audio to a 60 second, recycling buffer.
The concept might sound somewhat familiar: An app called Heard debuted back in June that records audio in the background, capturing a 12 second buffer by default, or up to five minutes of the very recent past via in-app purchase feature unlocks. The Kapture differs by offering a hardware accessory, which is worn on the wrist, and from which you can flag a clip for saving instantly via a simple tap on the exterior of the device.
The Kapture hardware uses impact-resistant plastic and a silicone strap, with a battery that’s said to last a little over a day. It has a simple multicolor LED notifier, no screen, a vibrating motor and a waterproof, omnidirectional mic built-in. The accessory prototype is connected via Bluetooth 2.1 to your phone, but that’s being changed to Bluetooth 4.0 for production units, and there’s micro USB for charging along with an accelerometer for tracking motion.
Kapture’s founding team includes Mike Sarow, an engineer with over a decade of product manufacturing experience at Procter & Gamble, as well as Matthew Dooley, a marketing guy who knows the right recipe for product placement. The team is seeking $150,000 to get the Kapture off the ground, and is offering backers the chance to get one for a $99 pledge, in either black or white. Different colorways start to become available at the $110 level.
Unlike Heard, Kapture seems quite married to the concept of a set, 60-second audio buffer, so this isn’t going to be a device spies use to make sure they capture every juicy tidbit, and the Kapture folks are positioning it more as a way to make sure those organic memorable moments don’t just fade away into the ether. And the hardware has an advantage over Heard in terms of recording quality and being always in an optimal position to capture conversations.
But there are other issues with the idea, including battery that lasts only a day, as well as building the habit of remembering to tap a wristband thing to record a minute of preceding audio – hardly behavior that comes naturally to anyone. I also can’t help but cringe at the caption on this photo:
The Kapture is an interesting twist on the concept of lifelogging, to be sure, and one that does so with a design that is admittedly not too hard on the eyes, but the truth is that people only have a limited number of wrists and there’s an increasing number of gadgets vying for those, including smartwatches from big-name brands like Samsung. The Kapture is unique in design and interesting in concept, but it’s also quite niche. Still, this might be the best way to exploit sound as a social commodity in the end.