Internet-Connected Jewelry Maker WiseWear Joins XPRIZE Competition

San Antonio—WiseWear, a San Antonio tech company that makes an Internet-connected jewelry line, is one of 38 groups in the U.S. competing during the next year for a women’s safety-focused XPRIZE worth $1 million.

WiseWear is seeking to design a system that costs less than $40 and can help women respond to potential threats. The Anu & Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE will be handed out in June 2018. “The solution should autonomously and inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert and transmit information to a network of community responders, all within 90 seconds,” XPRIZE wrote in a press release in May announcing the competitors.

That may fit well within WiseWear’s capabilities. The company, founded in 2013, sells high-end wearable bracelets that can send out emergency text messages and calls if the user taps part of the jewelry. The devices also offer tools typically found on wearables, such as the ability to monitor users’ daily steps and the calories they burn, as well as calendar reminders. The jewelry was designed by documentary subject Iris Apfel.

A total of 85 teams from around the world will be competing for the prize. In October, XPRIZE plans to announce 25 finalists.

WiseWear CEO Jerry Wilmink says the product his company plans to submit to XPRIZE is “a low cost, always-connected, low-battery consumption device,” according to a news release. The device will be “significantly different” from the company’s jewelry line, Wilmink says, but he isn’t yet providing more details. Other U.S. competitors for the prize include emergency response app makers Ninja Bodyguard in Houston and Warnable in New York, as well as Nimb, a Los Altos, CA-based maker of a smart ring with a panic button.

WiseWear is working on other new products, such as smart apparel and other more “rugged” devices that could be used for military applications, Wilmink told Xconomy last month. The company also is planning to launch a new product, possibly this year, that is focused on safety and security for the entire family, Wilmink said.

XPRIZE is a nonprofit that holds various technology-driven competitions, offering prizes ranging from the $1 million women’s safety prize to the $30 million Google Lunar competition.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at [email protected] Follow @xconholley

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