Wearable Tech World Feature Article
October 09, 2013

Tikker - How About It? A Watch that Counts Down Your Lifetime

Almost exactly two years ago, in October 2011 a movie called “In Time,” starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, was released. As movies go this was in our opinion a really well done affair - on Netflix we're usually quite stingy with ratings, but we gave “In Time” four stars and were thinking 4.5 would be about right if we were able to give half stars.

In the movie it is the year 2169 and humanity has been genetically altered (we've cribbed and altered this brief description from Wikipedia, by the way) to be born with a digital clock, bearing 1 year of time, on their forearm. At the age of 25, a person stops aging, but their clock begins counting down; when it reaches zero, that person "times out" and dies. This human clock from the movie is shown below.

Time has, as you might guess, also been turned into the universal currency. People can give time from their clocks for products or services, as well as transfer time to others. Work, of course, is paid in time. "Time police" who guard against time thefts and monitor the global distribution of time, receive a daily "per diem" of time. The country, inevitably, is divided into time zones based on the wealth of its population as measured in how much time people have.

One particularly wealthy soul has at least one million years in the bank. That would make this person almost but not entirely immortal. The film focuses on two time zones: Dayton is poor and has a populace that has become indifferent to the timed-out bodies on its streets. New Greenwich is the wealthiest zone, where inhabitants enjoy the benefits of their immortality and wealth, but are constantly surrounded by bodyguards and spend their time worrying about accidental death. We'll leave it at that and will say that the movie is highly recommended.

OK, so let's keep that “In Time” background in mind as we now turn our attention to Tikker - a novel idea for a new watch concept with a rather peculiar angle to it - it asks whoever might wear one a number of questions about one's life, then runs through an algorithm that determines a total given life span, subtracts the current age and returns what the watch thinks wearers have left remaining to them in total time. And it then begins to count down from there.


Here is a view of Tikker as shown on its website page.

The guy who came up with the idea - maybe we should think of it as a bit of kitsch, also set up a Tikker Kickstarter page looking to raise $25,000 to fund launching it. To date 795 backers have pledged $34,692 with 23 days yet to go before the funding round closes.

It's Not About How Much Time You Have Left

The folks at Tikker have a saying: "While death is nonnegotiable, life isn't. The good news is that life is what you make of it – and it can be beautiful!" So, really, Tikker isn't about ensuring you know just how much time you have left to you, it's all about ensuring that you use your time wisely and make sure you focus on enjoying your life and every moment that remains in it. We suppose that is one way of looking at it.

We can think of a very few folks who might appreciate the good humor in that perspective. On the other hand we can think of huge numbers of people we would never give a Tikker to! For many different reasons.

The folks at Tikker list the watch for $59 on the website. But it isn't too late to invest $39 on Kickstarter and get a Tikker for that price.

We'd Guess Phenomenal Gross Margins

It doesn't take much to guess that the total cost of an enormously simple LED watch that does nothing more than count down time and display it along the current time will cost pennies to make. Perhaps $1.99 at Wal-Mart is a likely future - though Wal-Mart shoppers are probably not good candidates for it. Better yet, we can probably download a free app and run it on our smartphone or smartwatch. Pebble developers could certainly provide an app as well. Maybe for $.99!

One would think that perhaps the Tikker folks would have thought to put some sort of biometric sensors in there at least that would help add years to one's life by determining a user was properly exercising and making solid deposits to their health bank. Or perhaps a little bump transfer capability so you can share time with others as they are able to do in the movie.

Our sense of it is that for $59 we want a heck of lot more than a watch with the same LED display you can still find on a 1980s Casio at Goodwill.

Still, if you are so inclined, you have 23 days to land one at the Kickstarter Tikker page for $39. Or pre-order at the Tikker website for $59.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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