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aria

Aria Clip-on adds gesture control to Pebble Time and Android Wear watches

Aria is a small gadget that clips underneath a smart watch band. It lets you control the device with finger gestures.

aria demo

It is an accessory for an accessory, which sounds kind of ridiculous. But it’s not like you have a lot of choices when it comes to adding gesture control to your gadget anyway. The “remote control” clip-on can access any feature you would usually find through the touch screen or the watch dial. This completely frees up your other hand for tasks like eating, drinking or talking on the phone. Possible gestures include tapping, flicking your fingers, and closing and opening your hand – you can configure it through its companion app.

In the next few weeks, the team behind Aria is putting up two versions of its band on Kickstarter. The cheaper unit will be built specifically for the Pebble Time. For $69, it will connect directly to the watch. This will allow it to cut out the need for an independent battery or constant Bluetooth communication when in use.

The other option will be aimed at developers, coming in at a more premium $169 price point. It will be a standalone unit with its own battery, and will slot on to any watch band. Deus Ex Technology (the startup behind Aria) founder Alfredo Belfiori says the draw for this model will be the SDK. It will let owners use the module with most Android Wear watches, as well as integrate gesture controls into apps.

While it is unlikely that Aria will directly control the Apple Watch any time soon, the SDK is also compatible with iOS applications. So you could wear the band on your Apple Watch and use gestures to do things like change palettes in a drawing app. Or use it on your iPhone, or take a photo with a connected GoPro.