Personal protection devices like panic alarms are nothing new, but it’s perhaps unsurprising that with the advent of wearable technology, there’s been a push to update the methods that these devices employ to give their users some piece of mind. Given that many wearables are intended to be carry with you wherever you go, several different manufacturers have elected to add in functionality to their products that allows them to act as a personal protection device in an emergency. However, a new product called the Cuff instead makes this sort of function its entire focus—and, while doing so, attempts to redefine the image that we have in our heads when we think of this sort of device.
The intention of the Cuff is very simple: it keeps you and the ones that you love connected, and safe. The way that it does this is centred around a component called the CuffLinc, a small slab that pairs with your smartphone via Bluetooth. Using this hardware, your Cuff can be linked to the Cuff devices of your loved ones. Once you and whoever you want to be connected with are set up, then a short squeeze of your Cuff will send notify everyone that you are linked to—their Cuff device will buzz and they’ll be sent your exact location on their smartphone.
Obviously, the uses for this are what you make of it. It could well just be an easy way for your to keep track of your close friends or family—for instance, a group trip to a theme park might be much less stressful if you had the capacity to find out exactly where any of your party where at any given time. However, the intended use for the Cuff is one that ideally you’d never have to use; if you ever find yourself in some kind of perilous situation, you’ll be able to inform the people who need to know and let them know exactly where you are, just by squeezing the device. As far as that goes, the design of the Cuff is foolproof, as it would have to be to accomplish what it sets out to. This is a device designed specifically to give people the reassurance that they are always in contact and connected at the drop of a hat, and it does exactly what is required of it to instil that feeling.
However, the Cuff goes one step further than simply providing an advanced new take on a personal protection device. It has to be said that most similar devices currently available have something of a spartan design aesthetic. This might not sound like much of a problem—after all, this is a device that has a very specific function and is really only required to do that one thing—but it becomes an issue when people are put off using it. Anything that manufacturers can do to make such a device appealing to its prospective audience is worth doing if it gets the product into the hands of its users and, as such, can begin doing its job.
This is even more of an important consideration for something like the Cuff, as it needs to be on your person so you can activate it immediately, rather than having it buried in a bag. The solution to this problem that its designers have come up with is to make the device into a fashionable accessory. The aforementioned CuffLinc component is housed in a variety of different casing and can be worn as a necklace, a bracelet or a keychain. The designs that have already been unveiled look great, shedding all of the aesthetics of a piece of technology and simply looking like jewellery. There are plenty of different styles to choose from, all of which have been created with the same high standards of aesthetic design as well as being robustly functional should you need to use the device in an emergency.
The Cuff is something of a unique product, and it’s easy to see how it could carve out its own niche in the wearables marketplace. The CuffLinc is all you need for it to function, so should you want to wear it as a necklace at the weekend but a keyring through the week, it’s a very easy process to swap it between the different accessories to change up the way you wear it. If the device takes off when it launches in the coming months, it’s not difficult to imagine many different option being offered in terms of how you wear it. It might even be the case that major fashion brands partner up with its creators to offer Cuff-compatible versions of their designs.
One thing that suggests that the future is particularly bright for the Cuff is the fact that it’s prominently featured on the new wearables storefront on Amazon, even ahead of its impending release. All eyes are sure to be on the new web store as the buzz about wearables continues to rise, and this is the sort of device that will undoubtedly spark an interest in people who might never have considered that wearables were for them. There’s something of an idea that wearables are ‘gadgets’ and perhaps aren’t the functional devices that they can be, but products like the Cuff are just the thing to prove the real-world capabilities that this new technology has to offer.
If you’re interested in pre-ordering a Cuff, then you can do so via the official Cuff web site. A range of different styles and accessories are available, with prices ranging from $49 USD to $150 USD. Normally, the CuffLinc component would cost $30 by itself, but at present it comes included with any purchase from the online store—perhaps a good way to build up your Cuff network if you’re looking to use the device alongside several others. The Cuff is a device with a singular focus which sets out to perform one task, and does so rather brilliantly. If you’re looking for something to perform the sort of function that the Cuff does, it’s difficult to imagine any other product doing so any better—and particularly not with the ample aesthetic appeal that the Cuff carries with it.