This Is The Onyx, A Real-Time Wearable Communicator Inspired By ‘Star Trek’

OnBeep, a year-old startup based in San Francisco, raised $6.25 million earlier this year to build a dedicated piece of hardware that would allow groups of people to talk to one another with the press of a button, without needing to look at a watch or smartphone display.

The company finally unveiled its first hardware product on Wednesday. It’s called Onyx.

Jesse Robbins, cofounder and CEO of OnBeep, dropped by Business Insider’s offices in New York City last week to give us the first-ever demo of the Onyx, which he says was inspired by the real-time communicators used in “Star Trek,” as well as his own experiences as a volunteer firefighter. Greg Albrecht, OnBeep’s CTO, also has experience as an EMT and emergency manager.

“Every great moment in humanity has depended on people working together in real-time, letting them focus on the problems they’re trying to achieve, and not having to futz with something that takes them out of that moment,” Robbins told us.

That’s where the Onyx comes in.

Onyx (4)

The device is a small, black, lightweight circular piece of durable plastic with an LED ring around the center button, which is the main interface of the device. You push the button, wait for the beep, and start talking.

In a group, Onyx can support up to 15 people with their own Onyx devices — but you can create as many groups as you want. You manage your groups directly through OnBeep’s companion app, which is free for iOS and Android devices, and connects to your phone via Bluetooth. OnBeep ensured Onyx was not limited to Bluetooth 4.0, as to not exclude any older devices.

onyx app

As a wearable device, you can clip the Onyx onto clothing, straps or bags, but it’s also small enough to simply throw in your pocket.

“The clip is where we spent most of the time on this product, in terms of getting that right,” Robbins told us. “Most wearable radio systems is they’re really not designed for women. They accentuate masculine design desires. So Sylvia Wu, who designed this clip wanted to make it so it wouldn’t pull a shirt or a blouse down if it’s attached, and it couldn’t mar a fabric — the design target was one of her purses. What we built was something that — For more information read the original article here.      

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