Ever wished there were an easy way to figure out if there were accessible WiFi nearby? Sure you can break out your phone and scroll through all of the available wireless networks but chances are that’s time consuming and probably makes you look silly. Designer Richard Etter has another solution in mind with the AwareCuffs, a set of sleeves that alert you when you are near a hotspot. Would they have looked better as bracelets, yes! But thye’re still pretty cool.
The AwareCuffs were designed by Richard Etter as a follow up to his AwareShirt, a button down that actually lights up when near a phone that is being used. The AwareCuffs have a similar function but instead of lighting up when GSM bandwidth is being used, light up when there is a WiFi hotspot nearby. Essentially, they work the same as a WiFi detector, but are a little less conspicuous. I only say ‘a little’ because chances are that wearing half sleeves is going to attract some attention unless Etter decides to make them into a full shirt or just a bracelet. The cuffs use small LED lights woven into the fabric to create a light pattern that indicates the WiFi networks availability and strength. Users looking for WiFi can then take a break at a network with a strong enough signal to use their phone, tablet, or computer.
How They Work
The Aware Cuffs feature a pocket on the left side that holds most of the technology that makes WiFi detection possible. The cuffs themselves include a simple cotton fabric woven with LED fiber optics that are attached to the pocket. They can be washed after the electronics have been taken out. The pocket on the left side includes a simple WiFi detector that can be snapped in using buttons, and taken off at any time. When connected, it lights up the glass buttons and LED on the shirt when it is near WiFi.
Would You Wear Them?
While the Aware Cuffs are a cute idea, most of us wouldn’t even think of wearing them. For the most part, finding WiFi isn’t that big of a deal as most of us use 3G when mobile, and most of us donâ€™t’ really bring our laptops unless we know where internet is. Wearing the cuffs as fashion is also stretching, unless you happen to have a time machine to take you back to being a punk in the early 1990s, half sleeve cuffs just really aren’t that popular. Currently the only real way to pull the cuffs off is by wearing them with a near matching long sleeve shirt and then putting the cuffs over them, or by wearing a blazer or sweater over them so that only the cuffs stick out.
On the other hand, if the Aware Cuffs were redesigned into a simple bracelet then it might actually take off. Turning the technology inside of the cuff into a bangle type bracelet suitable for men and women would make it a lot more wearable, and for both sexes.