The name “Paper watch” sounds confusing because the gadget isn’t made from paper per se, but that is the name of the smart wearable that is being developed by researchers at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia. The so -called “paper watch” can perform same functions of health-monitoring and fitness tracking performed by smartwatches like the Apple Watch, Samsung Gear and it can do that at a fraction of the price.
The cheap wearable device uses flexible sensors sourced from common household items like aluminum foil and sponge which works with silicon-based chip components to create a semi-recyclable fitness device. Because the materials used are cheap, household stuff, the “paper watch” itself comes cheap.
Presently, the paper watch fitness tracker packs an impressive array of capabilities. It is shown to be capable of measuring body temperature, sweat levels, heart rate, and blood pressure. The soft sensor components of the device could eventually be replaced whenever they wear out, while customers keep the rigid chip and battery parts of their wearable device.
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The prototype paper watch currently costs $25 USD which is quite cheap, when compared to high-end fitness trackers. But then, the more sturdy and sleek Mi Band 2 comes in even cheaper at around $19.99. The paper watch is still work in progress, though, and the inventors hope to bring down the price further as time progresses. Even though the device cannot show time presently, that is a feature they hope to include in the smart wearable. The inventors hope to spin off a company soon with the device expected later this year, but how well can this fare in an era where Chinese manufacturers are developing cheaper smart wearables with lots of functions is a question that needs to be answered. But the team hopes to target the elderly populace with its cheap product on start up.