Smartwatches

Solar energy and your body heat is all the PowerWatch 2 smartwatch needs to run

The PowerWatch 2 adds a solar cell and a color display to the original PowerWatch design
The PowerWatch 2 adds a solar cell and a color display to the original PowerWatch design
View 5 Images
The PowerWatch 2 adds a solar cell and a color display to the original PowerWatch design
1/5
The PowerWatch 2 adds a solar cell and a color display to the original PowerWatch design
On-board GPS is also new with the PowerWatch 2 model
2/5
On-board GPS is also new with the PowerWatch 2 model
The PowerWatch 2 can save energy with a monochrome mode
3/5
The PowerWatch 2 can save energy with a monochrome mode
The PowerWatch 2 is being crowdfunded on Indiegogo 
4/5
The PowerWatch 2 is being crowdfunded on Indiegogo 
Also included in the suite of PowerWatch 2 features is a heart rate monitor
5/5
Also included in the suite of PowerWatch 2 features is a heart rate monitor

Back in 2016, Matrix brought us the PowerWatch, a smartwatch powered only by body heat. Since then the company has launched the PowerWatch X, and has now unveiled the PowerWatch 2 with a number of upgrades – including the additional of a solar panel.

That means you can either use your own energy or the sun's energy in place of the regular battery that other smartwatches rely on. If you don't want to have to have your smart wearable sat on the desk charging each night, this is one way around it.

Other improvements ushered in with the PowerWatch 2 include a color screen for the first time, and a GPS sensor for getting location fixes without the aid of a linked smartphone. A custom software OS is on board, designed by Matrix itself, which includes support for Google Fit, Apple HealthKit, and Strava, and can display alerts from an wirelessly connected Android or iOS smartphone.

Those third-party integrations are augmented by native apps covering most of the fitness tracking functions you're going to need (including heart rate monitoring), with everything syncing back to the official companion apps. The watch can monitor sleep patterns and will even tell you how much body heat you're generating.

The solar cell is placed underneath the 1.2-inch screen and works alongside the thermoelectric system in the watch to make new power-hungry features like a color display and GPS possible. It's good for a swim too, waterproof to 200 meters (656 ft).

Also included in the suite of PowerWatch 2 features is a heart rate monitor
Also included in the suite of PowerWatch 2 features is a heart rate monitor

"PowerWatch 2 is designed with improved thermoelectric generators and all-new solar-cell technology, constantly generating more than enough energy to operate the built-in intelligent heart rate monitor, wherever, whenever," explains Matrix.

When the watch isn't on your body it goes into a sleep mode that draws a very small amount of current, Matrix says. This standby mode can last for up to a year, apparently.

With a diameter of 47 mm (1.85 in) and a thickness of 16 mm (0.63 in), it's not the most svelte of smartwatches, and that custom OS might make third-party integrations tricky (with the likes of Spotify, for instance). Those are the only potential negatives in what looks a very comprehensive package though.

The good news for smartwatch fans is that there are now a wide range of devices on the market to suit most needs and budgets – from the cheaper, efficient Fitbit watches, to the ever-improving Apple Watch, to the high-end, high-performance Garmin models.

Matrix is currently crowdfunding the PowerWatch 2, but has already smashed through its target of US$100,000. The smartwatch is expected to eventually retail for $499 in June 2019, but early bird pledges start at $199 at the time of writing. As with any crowdfunded project though, there's no guarantee the device will make it to market.

Product page: Indiegogo

0 comments
There are no comments. Be the first!
Thanks for reading our articles. Please consider subscribing to New Atlas Plus.
By doing so you will be supporting independent journalism, plus you will get the benefits of a faster, ad-free experience.