Matrix PowerWatch 2 combines body heat and solar energy to power a color display

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Smartwatches these days tend to fall into two categories, either promising to do it all and thus rival Apple’s industry-leading devices... at a comparable price or skimping on certain key features to cut retail costs.

The Matrix PowerWatch approached the somewhat oversaturated market in a radically different way a couple of years back, aiming to solve one big issue without trying to do it all.
A heavily upgraded sequel can now be endorsed on Indiegogo as part of a “flexible” crowdfunding campaign that has already managed to raise a cool $310,000 at the time of this writing.

Like the original model, this bad boy is powered by a user’s body heat, thus requiring no charging cables, docks, or even the replaceable battery of a conventional timepiece. In addition to improved thermoelectric generators, the Matrix PowerWatch 2 also comes with all-new solar-cell technology.

That means your body and the sun keep this thing juiced up and ready to take on the outdoors. If that doesn’t impress you much, it’s worth pointing out just how much better the PowerWatch 2 is at “standard” smartwatch tasks compared to its somewhat rudimentary forerunner.

Both built-in GPS tracking and a heart rate monitor are added to the previously modest list of features, along with the ability to show (certain) notifications from a compatible iPhone or Android handset.

Perhaps most impressively, your body heat and ambient light are stored and used to keep “full-color” lights on. That’s right, the black and white screen on the first-gen PowerWatch is replaced with a far hungrier and prettier color LCD panel. Specifically, the world’s first “full-color LCD display powered by thermoelectric and solar energy.”

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And now for the bad news. While the world of crowdfunding is inherently hazardous, this campaign is particularly risky to support, as the company behind it highlights the final product hasn’t been built yet. 

The project is still in the first phase of the Engineering Validation Testing process, which means a working demo has been put together. If everything goes according to plan, a commercial release will happen this June, but it’s probably best to take that ETA with a proverbial pinch of salt. Then again, early birds get a massive 60 percent discount off the $499 retail price of the Matrix PowerWatch 2. Yup, if you hurry, you can pay just $199 for the chance to own this incredibly groundbreaking wearable device. Tempting!

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