May 14, 2005 With miniaturisation one of the key themes of convergence, everything seems to be getting smaller regardless of whether it’s a good idea. As anyone over the age of 40 will attest, one of the first signs of mortality is the decline of eyesight, so the ever-shrinking dials, screens and type point sizes produce massive user-interface problems for the over forties and the most voracious consumer segment in history, the baby Boomers. It was this trend that was recognised by a baby boomer and addressed with the invention of the iBEAM watch – a simple watch with a pop-up magnifying lens and built-in LED flashlight can help the tens of millions of people suffering from shrinking type syndrome.
Now reading a menu or finding your way through a dark theatre becomes so much easier with the push of a button-right on your wrist. Oh, and it also tells time.
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With the iBEAM watch, necessity is the father of invention. Chris McKay, the inventor and a Baby Boomer, explains that he was fighting the signs of aging ... like having to borrow his wife's reading glasses. He looked at his peers and noticed he was not alone.
"Frankly, I didn't want to have someone else have to read the menu to me ... and I looked ridiculous in my wife's reading glasses," says McKay. "So it occurred to me to add reading features to something that I'm never without -- my wristwatch. And that's the beauty of it, it never leaves my wrist."
The iBEAM watch with a magnifying lens that makes type up to five times larger, provides real solutions for our aging population. Among them is John Magusa from Spring Lake, Michigan who told iBEAM, "I have 10 watches and since I received the iBEAM, it's the only watch I wear."
Small isn't always a bad thing, though. A tiny micro-chip imbedded in the watchcase allows for "hands-free" operation of the flashlight. Users don't have to hold the button in; the light stays on automatically. A battery-saving device shuts off the light automatically after 30 seconds. Another small device activates the pop-up magnifying lens with the touch of a button. And did we mention, it also tells time.
For a demo on how the watch works, visit the company web site.View gallery - 4 images