Wearable tech device seeks start-up funds

Elppy deviceA high-tech smart ring developed by three entrepreneurs from Flinders University is throwing its commercial launch into the crowdfunding space.

The Elppy wearable device, which allows users to control their phone, laptop or tablet for up to two years without recharging, is hoping to go directly to new customers to raise the first $65,000 for the first production run.

The three Faculty of Science and Engineering inventors and founding directors are Elppy chief executive, electronic engineer Aaron Mohtar, who is part-time research associate with the Medical Device Partnership Program at Flinders at Tonsley, another part-time Tonsley staff member and Flinders biotechnology and molecular biology graduate Belinda Wade, and Flinders mechanical engineering graduate Greg Evans.

Between them, they saw the potential in hopping aboard one of the ‘next big things’ in technology, the global wearable tech trend.

The global wearable technology market, currently dominated by smart watches, is booming and is forecast to grow from $1.5 billion a year in 2014 to $5.8 billion in 2018.

The campaign on crowdfunding website Indiegogo gives backers the opportunity to pre-order a ring for a discounted price about USD$30.

“Our ring is a one use product and works for up to two years with about one to two hours active use each day,” Dr Mohtar says.

“The battery is a normal coin cell battery, but because we are using Bluetooth Low Energy and some smart power saving designs, we can get more out of the battery.

“The majority of rings cost more than USD$150, and then there are smart watches that are much more than that.”

The rings have a small polycarbonate touchpad and a small band made of a durable elastomer that can be adjusted for size.

It connects to Bluetooth-enabled smart devices and allows the user control through simple swiping gestures over its touchpad.

Elppy allows users to manage their music, swipe through pages on Kindle or take a hands free selfie without a timer. It can also scroll through power point presentations, eliminating the need for a remote clicker.

Based at Tonsley, the project got underway from its early startup called Swyper with ongoing input and support from Flinders New Venture Institute, the 2014 Enterprise Workshop program and Innovyz Commercialisation program.

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