The Watch List is an ongoing series that focuses on CE start-ups reaching out to consumers via crowdfunding and other non-traditional methods.
Linkitz is taking an age-old toy (friendship bracelets) and coupling it with the prevalent push toward coding.
The start-up, founded by Lyssa Neel and Drew Macrae, developed the snap-in bracelet kit with the primary intention of engaging girls in technology. The modular devices feature various “links” that can be attached to a “core” for different functionality. Already developed are speaker, microphone and LED links, as well as one with an accelerometer (the Move link) and a Friend link that can communicate with other Friend links.
Combining the links together provides different functionality. For example, attaching the Move, LED and speaker links to the Wand core creates a Magic Wand, while the Friend links use a proprietary technology to communicate with other Friend links. To become “Linkitz friends,” a girl connects the Friend link to the second girl's core, and it will subsequently recognize and permit wireless communication.
Other types of links, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, are planned, and Linkitz is also developing an accompanying picture-based programming app that employs Google’s Blocky language. The app will extend functionality with the ability to change and customize link tasks, as well as download games and themes.
The start-up is employing Kickstarter as its primary means of funding, launching a campaign May 5. As of this writing, it has received $19,832 toward its $95,000 goal. Early adopters can receive a starter set with one core, one Move link, two LED links, a USB cable and a wristband for $50. Future expansion packs will start at $9.99, Neel told TWICE.
Shipping is expected to begin in December, and Neel said they anticipate selling new links in early 2016. The company is currently about halfway through the manufacturing process for the starter set of links.