Decoding Design

A high-performance sports watch, equipped with panic button

A high-performance sports watch, equipped with panic button

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Introducing Bia, a multi-sport watch with SOS safety alert system. This Kickstarter campaign has the attention of solo-exercisers everywhere.

Women's work out technology has long followed the strategy of "Shrink it and pink it" (AKA, give us the same tech as men, but make it smaller and make it pink.0 That often spurs stale technology and lack of true innovation and ideas. This, however, is not the case for Bia, a multi-sport watch with SOS safety alert system.

This Kickstarter project is by product designer Cheryl Kellond in San Fransisco, California. The stated goal of 400,000 dollars and so far her 1,650 backers have raised most of it.The campaign is 12 hours from Kellond's goal of having Bia be the first of its kind pushed to market.

The GPS watch has several unique features, such as a safety alert system, designed for the solo workout enthusiast. It also has a quick-connect GPS, which allows for automatic connection to satellites, and it is water resistant for swimming. The watch shares data with your online workout log, so there's no syncing involved. And it's got 17 hours of battery.

It is small--the size of an old pack of gum-- and lightweight, actually dwarfed by a Garmin GPS watch. With a large one touchscreen display and interchangeable neoprene wristband the Bia is designed for comfort and ease of use (no hitting the wrist bone and just a few buttons!), with a clean and simple aesthetic.

Bia's Kickstarter campaign is important for a few reasons. It's for a female-founded hardware company, who make a high performance GPS sports watch, and will be the only such watch on the market with a location-based panic button. I'm really excited about the alert system, a great addition to the standard sport watch. It's been so hot where I live lately that I went on a more than one run after dark this week, which is the only time when it was cool enough to exercise comfortably, and I really could have used the peace of mind that sort of genius technology would give me.

The campaign has raised more than half of the money from the female running community by itself, which speaks to the importance of the product (and that's just one of many networks that they've tapped into). What's better is that this watch really isn't just for women, the minimalist design doesn't fall into gender-specific stereotypes and neither do the available colors. Sure, it does come in pink, and it is smaller than a normal GPS watch, but don't you want something less clunky while you work out? I do, and so do almost 2,000 others.

The auction ends on On July 14, at 2:59 AM EDT. To contribute click here.

Images: Bia

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Beth Carter

Contributing Editor

Beth Carter is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has worked for Catalyst magazine, the New York Times Syndicate, BBC Travel and Wired. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure