If you’re like me, then you grew up on Star Trek: The Next Generation and love the idea of being able to communicate with someone by tapping a badge rather than bringing a phone to your ear. Mobile phones we know today more closely resemble the communicators from the original series, but haven’t we evolved a bit since then? What if we could recreate the communicator badge envisioned in the ’80s and featured in series like The Next Generation, Voyager, and Deep Space Nine?
Enter CommBadge, an Indiegogo project that promises to bring science fiction to reality for users of both iOS and Android. This simple little badge doesn’t look so much like a science fiction geek’s pin, but a standard clip-on badge holder used by corporations the world over to hold RFID identification badges employees are typically required to wear anyway. By tapping CommBadge, you gain access to features like Siri so you can communicate with either “the computer” or make a hands-free call to someone without having to take your phone out of your pocket.
I like the CommBadge concept because unlike bluetooth earpieces which make you look a bit more like a Borg and cause people to give you strange looks as you appear to be talking to yourself in the subway, CommBadge is more of a speakerphone which makes it easy to take and receive non-personal calls while you’re doing other things.
Imagine cleaning around the house or going out for a jog and being able to carry on a conversation without breathing into someone’s ear when you get your pace up. CommBadge clips on to your shirt or jacket so you should be able to be heard clearly regardless of what you’re doing.
Here are some of the features outlined in the CommBadge Indiegogo Project.
- Place and answer calls
- Send and receive text messages (“text-to-speech” through CommBadge)
- Use your phone’s native voice commands, such as Siri, S-Voice, or Google Now, to set calendar events and reminders, get sports news, and search for information
- Receive an alert from the Wireless Tether feature that you left your smartphone behind
- Be notified of incoming calls, texts, calendar and social media events with customizable vibration, sound, and LED’s
According to the creators, CommBadge is designed in a way that delivers clear audio to the user, but anyone sitting more than a foot away from them would have a hard time understanding (or even hearing) the conversation at all. I haven’t seen this work for myself so I can’t say whether or not this claim is backed by real-world testing, but it is quite an important detail about the design. Speakerphone conversation certainly don’t lend anything in terms of privacy for all their convenience.
In order to fund further development and the first round of fabrication, the CommBadge project has been started with a flexible funding goal of $100,000. This is a pretty lofty goal, though once the right amount of Star Trek fans catch wind of it, I’m pretty sure it’ll be met.
The deal Indiegogo backers will get is a CommBadge for their very own at a funding rate of $75-80. An integrated ID holder (for use as a corporate clip-on lanyard) is offered for the five dollar difference.
What do you think? Would you fund in CommBadge?