About this project
BLOCKS is the world’s first modular smartwatch. Compared to our phones, smartwatches are small and have limited space inside. This means that other smartwatch companies are having to compromise on which features they to put into a tiny little device that fits around your wrist. We wanted to give that power back to you, the user, to choose what features are important just for you.
BLOCKS breaks away from compromise with a unique design. Start simply with the watchface, also known as the Core, which is a fully functioning smartwatch on its own, then add Modules into the strap to enhance functionality of your watch. You can choose ANY Modules you want and connect them together to build a smartwatch unique to you.
It's tailored to the person that matters the most - You
It’s time that our smartwatches reflect our individuality. BLOCKS gives you the power to build a smartwatch that suits your lifestyle, with features that are customized to your needs. We’re over one-size-fits-all. Just choose the modules you want and connect them together in seconds.
Modules are hot swappable and easily replaceable. Swap in and out any Module in seconds. You don't need to restart the watch when you connect a Module, and it will work straight away.
Easily swap in a battery Module if you notice that your smartwatch is running low on power, or connect a heart rate Module before heading to the gym.
It's future proofWhy buy a whole new smartwatch when you can simply add a new feature? As technology evolves, so will BLOCKS. New Modules will be released continually, ensuring that you can have the latest technology as soon as it becomes available. The future is modular.
It has infinite possibilities
During the past two years, we have been approached by a large number of technology companies from around the world. Together with our partners, we developed the Core technology of BLOCKS and our first Modules. We are working with our partners to develop even more modules.
Easily customize the appearance of your watch with removable covers to suit your taste and any occasion. Select designers or individuals would be able to build even more customizable covers for the smartwatch. 3D printed precious materials, stones such as ruby or sapphire or carved from wood, would all be possible with the open design.
The final product will have a full round screen.
Here is a video of the engineering prototype we have developed together with our manufacturer, Compal Electronics. They are amongst the top 5 manufacturers for consumer electronics in the world and have already initiated the manufacturing process to produce BLOCKS.
What makes BLOCKS special?
Our Modules make BLOCKS unique. They provide an ever-growing selection of features for you to choose from. By utilising the space around the wrist, users can build a smartwatch that suits their lifestyle by connecting Modules together to their Core. The possibilities are limitless.
Phase One: Available on Kickstarter
The Modules listed below are the first of many, and were selected based on popular choice. As new technology becomes available, we’ll be developing new Modules for you. You don't need to choose the Modules you want immediately when you back us; after the campaign, we will get in touch to ask what combination of Modules you'd like.
Phase Two: Planned Modules
BLOCKS is all about choice. We want to be able to provide you with as many Modules as possible so that you always have access to the latest technologies. Here are some Modules that we have already planned designing, or will be working with partners to make possible.
These will be announced after we ship to our Kickstarter backers, and can be ordered online to add to your Module selection.
Phase Three: Future Modules
We have demonstrated what is currently possible with BLOCKS.. But as more companies and individuals harness the potential of our open platform in the future, you will have so many more Modules to choose from. Here are just a few that will be possible.
The Core, or watchface, is fully functional on its own and has all the features you would expect from a smartwatch, such as phone notifications, activity tracking and voice control, and comes with a full round colour touch screen. In the future, we can have Cores with different types of display technologies and shapes, such as e-ink and rectangular screens.
The features of the BLOCKS Core include the following:
We’ve designed the user experience to be as intuitive and simple as possible. Notifications, activity tracking, and the additional features of all your Modules are available at the flick of a finger. These are preliminary designs are subject to change.
Mobile Compatibility & App
BLOCKS will be compatible with both iPhones and Android smartphones. It works with iOS 8 and above, on iPhone 4s and above. It also works with all Android 4.0+ phones including those from LG, Motorola, Sony, Samsung, HTC, Xiaomi and more.
BLOCKS' operating system is based on the latest version of Android and is running on a powerful and efficient Qualcomm processor. With the help of Qualcomm and our other software partners, we have optimized our Android OS for power consumption.
We are using Android, which like BLOCKS, is an open-platform. With Android it is easy to develop apps and to implement our modular framework. A lot of developers already have apps on androids, and they only need to optimize their apps to work on the watch.
ErgonomicsOur team has extensively studied wrist shapes and sizes to design BLOCKS Modules to be universally comfortable.
Based on your wrist size, you can fit a different amount of Modules. We have developed a special clasp that can adjust to different sizes and make sure your watch fits your wrist perfectly. Small wrists will be able to fit the Core, 3 Modules and the adjustable clasp, while the mean wrist size will be able to fit the Core, 4 Modules and the adjustable clasp. We will try to decrease the size of Modules for even better ergonomics and to allow you to have more Modules at one time.
Water ResistanceBLOCKS watches will be IP67 water resistant, which means they can withstand immersion up to 1 m for certain periods of time. This will keep you covered in case your watch gets wet in the rain or you accidentally drop it into a puddle. We are aiming for IP68 level, one of the highest levels of certifications, so that you will be able to go for a swim with your BLOCKS watch.
BLOCKS will be available in 3 colour options, which you will be able to select after launch, and will be made from a high quality polycarbonate. Casings in other materials and colours will be made available next year onwards. Polycarbonate is used extensively in many smartphones.
Starting at $195, BLOCKS is competitively priced with any other Android based smartwatch. You can add even more functionality to your BLOCKS watch and get 4 Modules at prices starting from $250.
Want more modules? Just select the reward tier you would like to purchase and add $30 ONLY for each additional module. For example - you select the $275 package which gives you the BLOCKS Core and 4 Modules. However if you would like 5 Modules instead of 4, add $30 so that your total pledged amount is $305 ($275 + $30).
You can order an unlimited number of Modules, and redeem your credit from Kickstarter to purchase Modules that are released in the future. Some future Modules may need more than 1 credit.
We have already partnered with major technology companies to develop our Modules and have over 1,500 individual developers signed up on our list.
As an open platform, BLOCKS will be releasing a special kind of module to allow anyone to prototype their own technology. BLOCKS developers would be able to build their own modules to add to their watch, and may even offer them for sale to the BLOCKS community via the BlockStore. We will work with individual developers to take their designs to production. Exciting!
We will be releasing a full Module Development Kit (MDK) in due course for all of you who are interested in building amazing projects for a wearable. We already had many people approach us with ideas and prototypes to build modules for healthcare, academic research and gaming. We cannot wait to see what you could develop with these developer modules!
We’ve been working with Compal Electronics in Taiwan for the past 8 months. Compal is the world’s fifth largest manufacturer of consumer electronics, and produce multiple smartphones, tablets and smartwatches. We have developed our prototypes together.
Behind the Scenes
Check out some of the members of our technical team talking about more details of our hardware, software and design.
Technical specifications of the Core
Update: Gorilla Glass is added to all BLOCKS Cores for no additional cost, since we reached the $1,000,000 stretch goal. This makes sure the screen is damage resistant.
Update: Gorgeous and energy efficient AMOLED screen is added as a stretch goal and all BLOCKS watches will come with this screen for no additional cost.
We have a large team, with various backgrounds coming from literally all over the globe. Together, we are building your dream smartwatch. The whole team is currently based in London, UK with a small presence in Silicon Valley.
Come meet the team!
We believe in being an open and transparent company. We are happy to meet and speak to our backers about our shared passion for modularity. We are based in London, so please feel free to drop us a message if you're around!
These are estimated timelines for the production and fulfilment. We estimate to ship the watches out of factory by end of May.
Since founding BLOCKS, we have had the privilege of participating in many different competitions, winning numerous Awards along the way.
We will be shipping to most countries in the world barring the following countries due to logistical issues: Argentina, Belarus, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Myanmar/Burma, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Please note: Backers may need to pay for customs and duty depending on where they live.
Terms and conditions:
Please visit the following link for our terms and conditions:
Together, we can change how technology should be!
We are a young and very passionate team, with ambitious goals of changing how the world looks at technology. We reached this goal, but we still need your help! Signal to the world that technology should be personal and upgradeable. Please share the campaign with your friends, family, and colleagues, so we can make BLOCKS the success we know it can be.
Something fun for you to watch!
And help us spread the word...
If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch either through Kickstarter or Facebook. You could also email us at email@example.com and we promise we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Risks and challenges
The proprietary connectors for BLOCKS is something that's never been done before. The connectors need to be tested for durability, fatigue life, water proofing, stress tests, vibrations etc all the while being comfortable. The BLOCKS team have been working on the technology for 22 months and with our partner's support we have commissioned one of the largest ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers) to help us tackle this problem. They have significant experience in building wearable devices. We have been working with them for a year before even coming to Kickstarter to create something that is ready for mass production.
We want our entire community to know that the product details may change over the course of the manufacturing process. We want to ensure that we deliver the highest quality BLOCKS watch possible. We will keep you updated on any and all changes.
We have stated that shipment will commence in the end of May 2016 accounting for as many worst case scenarios as possible. However, it is impossible to account for every scenario due to practicality.
After the campaign, we will send you a form asking you to choose the modules and colour you like.
The main BLOCKS Core will have a 400 mAh battery which is double the size of Apple watch (205 mAh) and more than most other smartwatches on the market today.
Yes! Add $30 to your pledge for each additional Module and you can buy as many Modules as you like. You can even use the payment as credit for Modules that will be released in the future after the Kickstarter campaign.
We are working hard on making this possible but we can not guarantee it. If the campaign exceeds a certain threshold and we have the funds for it, we will make it available in the first iteration itself.
You Spoke, we listened!
We have reduced our shipping prices not just to the UK/EU but WORLDWIDE! It is now $11 to ship to the US and $15 to ship anywhere in the world!
Our manufacturing is in China and Taiwan and we will be shipping our devices from there. We want the shipping process to be as seamless as possible for our backers
Yes! Kickstarter does not have Paypal configured as a payment provider but our website does. Have a look at our Kickstarter campaign and when your ready to pledge, just visit the page below. You will still have the same rights as all our other Kickstarter backers and we will send you a personal confirmation after the campaign.
The BLOCKS watch will come with a cable that can be connected by a proprietary connector to the Core of the watch. Additionally, we will likely provide a secondary cable that can be used to charge your extra battery modules individually.
BLOCKS will have a variety of apps on launch. These will cover all the basics such as notifications, activity tracking, calendar, smartphone camera control, call from phone, voice search, voice memos, maps, payments, alarm timer and environment tracking. And these are only the apps that are already confirmed.
We will also be working with third party software developers so that they can optimize their Android apps to work on your BLOCKS watch.
The Core has a 45 mm diameter and is approximately 11 mm thick.
The Modules are 30 mm wide and 6 mm thick.
We are iterating on the final production unit with our manufacturers, which will enable us to make it more sleek.
Wearables are highly constrained by space for electronics. Companies are having to compromise on the features that are packed into wearables that fits around the wrist. Unlike smartphones, wearables can offer a much larger array of features to choose from and a device that is about ¼ of the size.
In addition to a handful of features that currently preside in smartwatches, such as Bluetooth/WiFi to allow notifications, accelerometer for activity tracking, heart rate monitor and microphone, many other possible features are rarely present. There are only a few examples of watches that have one of the following: GPS, Long Battery life, Galvanic Skin Response (stress level) and Body Temperature (for athletes) or a camera. This however is only the beginning of what is possible with wearables. More specialized devices can hold extra storage for music, gesture control sensors, heart beat monitoring sensors (for authentication or medical monitoring), RFID cards for access or even a variety of gas sensors to be used by workers in industry.
BLOCKS performed a thorough survey of human wrist types - both in geometry and size. The watch can accommodate the majority of wrist sizes. The majority of wrists are 140mm-200mm in circumferences. BLOCKS has an ergonomic shape which is comfortable to wear in any configuration with a highly adjustable clasp.
Small wrist would comfortably fit 4 additional modules in addition to the Core of the watch and individuals with larger wrists could fit up to 5 modules.
Blocks runs on the modified version of latest Android operating system. It works with iOS 8 and above, on iPhone 4s and above. It also works with all Android 4.0+ phones including those from LG, Motorola, Sony, Samsung, HTC, Xiaomi and more.
BLOCKS will support both iOS and Android devices.
Over the past two years, one of our main priorities has been to make sure there will be a great app ecosystem to go with our modular technology. Hence our strategy has been always towards that.
Let's start with resolving some main concerns and questions.
First question you had was about the Module connection compatibility with iOS.
This is not a problem at all, since all the processing and gathering of data from the Modules and controlling them are done natively on the powerful Qualcomm processor within the Core. There is no intervention of the phone companion app, whether it is iOS or Android, it is irrelevant here and there is no problem.
Second, you had a question about iOS compatibility and how advanced this integration will be. We are sure you all know that iOS has some restrictions for interacting with the notifications for 3rd parties and Apple doesn't allow developers to access and respond to some notifications. These restrictions are the same for any non-Apple watch device, and even applies to Google's Android Wear, Pebble, or any other companion device. We will have the maximum possible integration that Apple would allow us (and any other non-Apple company!).
Hopefully, an increasing number of requests from third party companion devices and demand from iPhone users, will force them to give more permissions and integration options in the next iOS versions to Android Wear and BLOCKS.
Thirdly, the concern was the number of apps. Based on our extensive surveys, smartwatch users actually don't use that many apps on the watch and only use a number of high quality apps which help them do a specific task. These tasks are normally related to the relevant hardware sensor, e.g. heart rate measurement or fitness app which directly uses the data from the accelerometer and heart rate sensor.
Moreover, smartwatch users are always restricted by the lack of sensors, functionality and the slow and lagged loading of content from the phone to the watch. BLOCKS solves this issue by having native apps (natively on the main processor on the Core) so they will be very fast and responsive and also by having the main sensors on the watch as Modules rather than having them on the phone. E.g. for the GPS Module, since you can have it on BLOCKS as a Module, it will be much faster to gather data and much more reliable compared to having it on the phone.
Needless to mention, this enables you to use your BLOCKS even if you don't have your phone around.
As some of you have mentioned, BLOCKS is a great project on the hardware side and has numerous renowned hardware partners but may lack on the number of apps. The good thing is that these hardware partners are responsible for developing their respective apps as well for their Modules. E.g. payments app for the contactless Module, Navigation app for the GPS Module, etc. Over the past two years, we have had deep discussions with Google Android team numerous times and now we are working with Cronologics, a company which is founded by a number of ex-Google Android folks who were tired of the restrictions of Android Wear and wanted to build a better ecosystem for Android Smartwatches.
We strategically decided to use the optimized full Android OS, in order to make it easy for app developers. There has been even discussions with Google about the possibility of having Google Mobile Services and even moving to Android Wear if Android Wear reaches a point where it can support all the requirements we have for Modularity and hot swappable connections in the future.
Developing for the optimized Android on BLOCKS is much easier than developing for other platforms since it just needs the re-design of user interface from phone screen to our screen. Of course, we will not be able to convince all app developers on play store to develop for BLOCKS (nor a smartwatch needs every type of app), but our choice of operating system and easy MDK would make it easier to develop the ecosystem.
At the end of the day, the richness of an ecosystem is all about the partners and support and the capability of the project. BLOCKS is a very big project and since it is an open-platform relies on partners which will develop both the Modules and the respective apps for it. This is why we have seen this huge support and a big community over the past two years and the fact that as a small start-up we have been approached and are working with big names in this industry. Other than the current 1,500 registered developers, you wouldn't believe the wealth of emails we receive from large companies and software developers to be able to develop apps, even during this campaign.
We hope that you can keep on supporting us and understand that this kickstarter is the big start for us. If we can gather a large group of users at this point, this would make it much easier for us to later approach larger app developers and bring them on BLOCKS.
We considered offering 'dummy' Modules so that backers could select 1-2 functional Modules and the rest dummy Modules to save on costs. However, dummy Modules are not very price efficient as they still require circuity, power management, the microprocessor and connectors making them similar in price to the Extra battery Module. This is why we suggest backers to get extra battery Modules instead as they will be universally usable when your battery is low
Our idea is that the watchface will be something unique to you. This could be something simple, like your name or could be more personalized to show only the 'complications' you want (for eg, stopwatch, date, time, chronometer) or a photo of you. Depending on what most backers want, we will devise a solution that is best for everyone.
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