As mobile devices play increasingly important roles in people's careers, personal connections, and recreation, remaining connected while still present in the moment becomes more challenging every day. Peripherii founders Priti Moudgill and Sonal Budhiraja address this challenge by taking users' eyes off the screen with hearable technology. Peripherii devices are "smart earrings that can bring Siri/Google to your ear so you can take calls, dictate a text, call Uber, and more." - https://peripherii.com/
Clever Tech Digest sat down with Moudgill and Budhiraja to discuss the Internet of Things, and how beautiful design can make wearable technology not only more desirable, but easier to use. Read on to learn about Peripherii earrings, hearable devices that pair with your smart phone!
Peripherii facilitates better human living by integrating technology into fashion. What led you to fashion design, smart jewelry engineering, and the internet of things?
We both love gadgets as much as we love jewelry, and given that we are engineers, combining the two wasn’t as intimidating as it could have been. As busy moms, we felt that existing wearables were not fully addressing our needs, specifically there were no good options for hands-free, eyes-free access to our smartphones without having to resort to earbuds/earphones which are impractical in most situations anyway. It seemed a natural progression to think of a voice-based solution that didn’t make us look like “Borgs.”
The digital age brought 24/7 accessibility to entertainment, information, commerce, and each other. Additionally, it created a culture of individuals glued to their screens, and many struggle to be present in the moment because of that. How do you think hearables can empower users to be simultaneously more present and more connected?
As a medium of communication, speech is ideal because it is less distracting (does not require singular focus like screens do), and thus reduces the cognitive load. Users can make more direct asks with voice vs. clicking through menus, and that reduces the mechanical load. The thing about smart earrings is that they are at your ear when you need them. That takes the fear of FOMO out of the equation. You know the earring will keep you fully in the loop and not just buzz you. In terms of being more present: the earring has your ear, so users can interface with their device eye-free, and fully engage with their surroundings without a screen getting in the way.
Many women change their earrings from day to day to suit different outfits and occasions. How have you designed Peripherii to accommodate for the diversity of style within one woman's closet?
We designed our tech module, currently patent pending, to be interchangeable between earrings. That makes it easy for women to pick the right look based on their personal preferences. We plan to not only offer our own branded collection but also partner with jewelry designers for limited edition pieces.
What are the greatest challenges of combining engineering and computing elements with jewelry? How have you overcome them?
Given that jewelry and technology are opposites, one being all about beauty and frivolity and the other about utility and necessity, we not only had an engineering challenge on our hands but a perceptual one as well. The former took many iterations as we tried to come up with the right combination of weight and form factor. In order to prevent the earrings from looking like Frankenstein’s monster, we made the tech covert by setting the module behind a jewelry facade.
Who inspires you most in the wearable tech industry? Please share some of your design heroes with our readers
The industry is young and fairly fragmented. The one wearable tech company that we definitely want to mention is Fitbit because there is no denying that they made wearables a household name. Their trackers were the first that many of us adopted, and they might be the reason why Peripherii is a wearable-tech company! One specific person we are in awe of is Limor Fried (aka Lady Ada), who founded Adafruit Industries. Her products represent the go to DIY electronic kits for hobbyists, tinkerers and prototype builders alike, and her many accolades reflect her prolific contributions.
What question do you wish I had asked you?
“Where do you see wearables tech headed in the near future?”
Short answer: we see an interplay of hearables, AI-based smart assistants and neuro-wearables making our lives simpler and more zen at the same time.