CommBadge Brings Star Trek Communicators to Life on Android or iOS

CommBadgeIf 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?

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • Yoofaloof

    They look great, but they are a little on the large size don’t you think? Pity they couldn’t be the size of a pin badge.

    • http://twitter.com/CommBadge CommBadge

      It’s smaller than you think! But, since our patent covers clothing, jewelry, etc., we are planning to bring those to life after our initial indiegogo fulfillments.

  • http://sybersquad.com Christopher Knopick

    Interesting idea. I really don’t want other people listening to my conversations though. I’d be surprised if the audio is “actually” delivered in a way that makes it hard to hear for others…other than volume which I have to have turned up as my hearing is horrible, I would think it would have to some novel directional tech which kind of eliminates you being able to just clip it on. We’ll have to see and make a judgement later.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bert.visscher.980 Bert Visscher

      I guess it’s a headset for you then.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bert.visscher.980 Bert Visscher

      I guess it’s a headset for you then.

    • http://twitter.com/CommBadge CommBadge

      You’d be surprised! It’s a jaw-dropping experience when you first use it!

  • http://twitter.com/#!/gpowerf G.Power

    It actually looks fairly useful, it’s just a shame it is so big and ugly still. If it could somehow blend into clothing better I bet it would really catch on.

    • http://twitter.com/CommBadge CommBadge

      It’s smaller than you think! But, since our patent covers clothing, jewelry, etc., we are planning to bring those to life after our initial indiegogo fulfillments.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/gpowerf G.Power

        Perhaps I’ll reserve judgement till I see it in person then. I’m keen to see how it develops as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=543511426 Jonathan Cohen

    What do you think the likelihood of them actually getting to production and shipping is? Now that I know that crowdsourcing sites are not ‘stores’ or ‘promises’, I’m a lot more reluctant to invest my money in something that may never happen…

    • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Ryan Matthew Pierson

      The company got a patent on the idea, so I’d say it’s pretty serious about shipping. Even if this particular project doesn’t become all it can be, the idea itself is worth enough to give the developers a vested interest in making it happen.

      • http://twitter.com/CommBadge CommBadge

        Great call Ryan, we are very committed. We’ve built a great team to bring this into reality. We also have a trademark on “CommBadge”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bert.visscher.980 Bert Visscher

    I don’t make all that many phone calls – mobile or otherwise – but if I did, I could see myself getting a CommBadge.

    • http://twitter.com/CommBadge CommBadge

      You can also access your phone’s voice control features, i.e.. Siri and Google Now!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bert.visscher.980 Bert Visscher

    I don’t make all that many phone calls – mobile or otherwise – but if I did, I could see myself getting a CommBadge.

  • Nandor690

    Big and ugly. Great idea tho. I can definitely see android users using this now but iPhone users will wait till its smaller and gorgeous.
    Keeping my eye on this

  • HellcatM

    Make them a little smaller (or give the ability to put face plates on them to give different style) and make them work with Windows Phone and I’d be interested.

  • Katt Möw

    This should be available in the Star Trek TNG style, don’t you think? You’ve got the name that pays the homage, now license the design! I want one, but I’m waiting. I work at Best Buy, trust me when I say these will work as a sales approach. ALSO, make some app that’s better Than Google for the voice command. Call it the NCC-1701 App. I would eat that up. With dollars. Try other designs as well for the CommBadge. Not everyone who would like these is a Trekkie like me. I’m waiting, and excited for your Beta.