Wearables are all the rage right now, from smart watches to fitness trackers and more. Miniaturization continues apace, and soon it might just be possible to do everything you once did on a PC or a laptop from a device small enough to wear comfortably on your wrist.
While technology might not be there quite yet, it has advanced enough that an incredible number of companies are getting into the wearable sector.
Fitbit and Jawbone have been joined by the likes of Apple, and even Microsoft has gotten into the act with the debut of the new Microsoft Band.
A Look at the Band
The Microsoft Band is not a wearable computer – it’s a personal fitness tracker designed to pair with Windows Phones (or to operate as a standalone device, and it can communicate with your Windows PC or laptop as well).
It’s also a basic watch, as well. You can access quite a bit of data from the small interface screen, including time and date, distance traveled, calories burned, heart rate, and even the temperature of your skin.
The Band also includes a UV sensor, and can show messages and notifications that would otherwise go to your smartphone (text messages, email notifications and the like).
While wearables are immensely popular, they do have a few flaws (not so much actual flaws, as drawbacks due to conventional technology). The biggest of those is that they’re electronic devices and, as such, require a battery to operate.
While many wearables suffer from very low battery life (particularly the new breed of hybrid wearables and fitness trackers, some of which last less than a day), the Microsoft Band is designed to last for 48 hours on a single charge, which only takes 1.5 hours.
The problem here is that the Band was supposed to be available with a charging dock, but the company didn’t manage to get the dock into production in time.
That means users have to plug their Band into a wall outlet, or a computer USB to charge up the battery, not necessarily the best scenario with a device that costs $199.
However, an enterprising designer has solved the issue, at least until Microsoft gets its act together and manages to deliver their stands.
Designer “hodginsa” created a charging station that fitsall Bands, giving users the ability to set their band on the stand and come back later, while keeping it out of the way and protected.
The stand was created to be more visually appealing than the current charging setup (which requires the Band to lie flat on a hard surface, with the wire jutting straight into the air).
The charging dock not only keeps the Band safe and organizes the cables, but allows users to turn the Band into an alarm clock as well.
The new user-created Band charging dock is available for $10-$15 depending on colors and finishes, and is 3D printed by the designer. You can purchase it from Shapeways here.