5:31pm PT by Carolyn Giardina
Will.i.am Launches Smartband "Marrying Fashion and Technology"
Will.i.am is "marrying fashion with technology," with the launch of his new wearable tech company, i.am+, and its first product, a smart wristband called i.am PULS.
Unveiled on Wednesday, the device combines the features of a smartphone and watch, including access to music, social media, maps (an Esri app), an enterprise app (from Salesforce) and a Siri-like speech recognition app from Nuance. It also offers an "emotional" sensor that "collects your vibe," by detecting when you are stressed, for instance, and if the user chooses, sharing that information with a family member. AT&T is the wireless partner for the battery-operated cuff.
"Right now fashion suffers when we think about wearable technology," Will.i.am told The Hollywood Reporter. To address this, he is focused on fashion and is already working with Song for the Mute, Resurrection and Ashton Michael.
Part of his goal is also to inspire the next generation. "I'm telling kids in inner cities that they should take an interest in STEM (an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math)," he said. "Music has changed my life, but [technology] is the path I'm going down now."
Will.i.am said he's looking to expand in wearable technology, citing jackets, backpacks and even shoe insoles as further examples.
He expects to reveal pricing of PULS as well as retail partners in the near future. Plans are for the gadget to be in stores for the holiday season.