Tylt, a company that has made its name on wireless charging products, is taking on a new challenge: a smart accessory for Pebble's Time smartwatch. It's called the Vu Pulse and is on Kickstarter as of today, aiming for a $100,000 goal. The Vu Pulse takes advantage of Pebble's engineering around its latest watch; instead of building heart rate sensors and other technology into the Pebble Time, Pebble kept it simple while allowing outside companies to add more functionality after the fact — if customers want it — through smart straps and other add-ons. They don't necessarily need to be a whole strap, as the Vu Pulse shows. Tylt seems to believe there are enough Pebble owners wanting to expand its fitness features and add the luxury of wireless charging to make the Vu Pulse successful.
The Vu Pulse attaches to and surrounds your Pebble Time, and if you pledge enough on Kickstarter (at least $50), you'll also get a watch band as a thank you. The heart rate sensor inside takes the usual optical approach as seen in the Apple Watch, Fitbit Charge HR, and so on. I've asked Tylt who's sourcing the actual technology here; Mio is often regarded as having the most accurate results with their optical heart rate sensors.
When in "passive mode," the Vu Pulse will monitor your heart rate every 30 seconds, which the company says helps save your Pebble's battery. Turn on the "active" setting when you start a workout, and it'll increase frequency to every 10 seconds. There's a companion app for your Android or iOS device, and Tylt says everything syncs with Google Fit and Apple Health. It all sounds feasible — and Tylt is a company that actually puts real, well-received products on the market. So this should be a nice test of whether Pebble's "smart strap" strategy can actually deliver something compelling. If all goes to plan, the Vu Pulse will ship to beta backers in June, with the final product tentatively slated to deliver in August.
Verge Reviews: Pebble Time
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