Flotation vests save thousands of people from drowning every year, but they aren't of any use if they aren't actually worn. Despite their utility, many people choose not to wear such vests for reasons of comfort, fashion, or space, so Kingii is marketing what is calls the world’s smallest inflatable as an alternative. The focus of an Indiegogo campaign, the wrist-worn device is aimed at swimmers, surfers, sailors, and others who like getting their feet wet.
Inflatable alternatives to life vests have been around for almost a century with devices incorporated into belts, braces, and even jackets. The Kingii is aimed at active watersport enthusiasts and consists of an inflatable nylon bladder folded up in a pouch and integrated into a wrist strap along with a bespoke CO2 cartridge. Pulling a lever inflates the bright orange bladder in about one second, providing emergency flotation.
In addition to the bladder, there's a whistle to signal for help and a button compass to help in navigating back to shore. After use, the bladder can be deflated, refolded, and repacked in its pouch. Attach a new CO2 cylinder, and its good to go.
The Kingii Indiegogo campaign runs through July 29 and is already well past its original US$65,000 goal, having raised $441,336. Premiums include an Early Bird special of a Kingii and two cartridges for $69 going to the first 300 backers up to a Big Impact Retailer Package of 20 Kingii and 40 cartridges for $1,399. Deliveries are slated for September 2015 if everything goes to plan.
The video below introduces the Kingii wrist floatation device.