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Hands-on with the futuristic Wove Band
Earlier this week we brought you the first details about Wove, a wearable that is billed as the world’s first truly flexible display product. Wove is the creation of California-based Polyera, a startup that is developing flexible electronics technologies, with a focus on flexible displays.
In our initial video, we looked at the underlying technology that makes Wove possible. Polyera’s breakthrough is a technology called Digital Fabric, which replaces the brittle silicon typically used to make thin film transistors (TFTs) with a novel, flexible material, making it possible to create durable flexible displays of OLED or e-ink type.
Wove is an e-ink product, featuring a 1040 x 200 display that wraps around a segmented bracelet. The larger end segments contain batteries, processor, and storage, as well as the charging port and the simple clasp mechanism. It’s not exactly the most beautiful design we’ve seen in a wearable, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s not really the point of Wove, at least not in its current, pre-alpha stage.
So what is the point of Wove? Polyera is trying to attract the attention of developers and designers, in order to create an ecosystem of “compositions” (or apps, as everyone else would call them) that can run on that eye-catching e-ink display. Basically, the company has the canvas and tools ready, and it’s hoping that developers will pick them up and create something special.
Wove runs on a modified version of Android called Wove OS, but we were only allowed to see a demo mode, which gave us a glimpse at the kind of functionality that may one day come to the device. Demos included a map navigation app, a recipe app, an app for media playback, as well as a look at the basic user interface of the device.
Polyera says it wants the experience of putting Wove on for the first time to be very personal, so they asked us not to take footage of the Wove being worn. Overall, it’s clear that, for now, Wove is an experiment, a pilot device designed to open the way for future products that are more refined and more compelling. But the concept holds great promise. Once you extract yourself from the conventions of “normal” displays, all kind of possibilities open up. Wearables are just the beginning. Polyera imagines a world where “devices are no longer hard, heavy, and cold, but soft, ambient, and organic.” That’s a bold vision to be sure, but there’s no denying that the devices of the future will be very different from our rectangular slabs of glass and metal.
Polyera plans to send out Wove prototypes to qualified developers by December, with a projected consumer release in 2016. For more details on the Wove, be sure to head over to their official site.