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Category Limb-mounted
Developer Somatic Labs
Announced December 2015
Released Developers: (unknown)
Consumers: June 2017
Price 199 USD (February 2017)
Operating system none (can connect to smartphone)

Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer

Weight 35 g

smartphone, button [1]

Data available Limited
Risk factor Low
Not Standalone

Moment as a limb-mounted device which belongs to Body-worn Wearables category. The device is developed by Somatic Labs. The project is launching crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in September 2016.[2] It interacts with its user via tactile stimulation. In order to stimulate the skin of its users, Moment contains four haptic actuators. The tactile stimulation informs its users about calls or messages, they received without any need of looking at the screen. In the similar way, it mediates them information about time period. In addition, Moment could serve as a tactile navigation or metronome.[3]

Although, Moment could seem to be a smartwatch, the developers do not want to produce another smart device, but they intend to augmented possibility of smart devices, which Moment's user actually use.[1] Therefore, Moment does not contain any screen.[4]

Main Characteristics

Moment is fully an enclosed device but it is not standalone. The device has to be linked with a smartphone or a tablet. It is shipped with apps for Android and iOS. Moment consists of 22mm silicone strap, which could be removed, and the device. The device contains 4 brushless linear resonant actuators, one in each corner. Linear resonant actuators are more suitable for Moment than widely used eccentric rotating mass, since it could create tactile illusions.[5] A rechargeable lithium-ion battery is included. Micro-USB port for charging is placed on a one side of the device.[6] There are the button on the side of the wristband, which allows a repetition of any notification.[1] Moment communicates with other devices via Bluetooth. It is enabled by NRF51 chip from Nordic Semiconductor.[7]

Moment is worn on user's whrist. It informs its user about every event via unique vibration which was set by user previously. The developers claim that the mind is able to create an intuition for the different vibrations over time.[8] In order to provide various types of vibrations developers use several tactile illusions.[9]


the Moment Prototype

Moment's main purpose is to improve users' sense of time and direction and provide them information about calls and messages via tactile stimulation.

Company & People

Linear Resonant Actuator
4 brushless linear resonant actuators

Moment is developed by Somatic Labs. It consists of alumnis of Arizona State University and it is placed in office at Phoenix Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation.

  • Shantanu Bala - co-founder of Somatic Labs, who started the development of Moment
  • Ajay Karpur - co-founder of Somatic Labs, specialised at electrophysiology, computational neuroscience, software development and haptic wearable design
  • Jake Rockland - co-founder of Somatic Labs, specialised at firmware development, full stack web development, and iOS development

Important Dates

  • May 2009 - Shantanu Bala started his research in haptic technologies
  • December 2015 - the first prototype of Moment was introduced
  • February 2016 - Ajay Karpur and Jake Rockland joined the team
  • September 2016 - an announced beginning of pre-order
  • January 2017 - an announced start of shipping[6]


One of the purposes of the developers is to enhance users' intuitions via using tactile simulations. Shantanu Bala explains this in respond to question about Moment's ability to measure time: "Moment, our first product, allows you to customize the duration of time it takes for a sensation to travel in a circle around your wrist. In other words, it does more than tell you the time – it gives you an intuitive understanding of how much time has passed depending on your activity (playing music, running, or working).[10]

The developers also argue that technologies used in Moment could deepen the experience in Virtual Reality. Jake Rockland claims: "Moment allows precise haptic feedback that can be used by game developers to create more immersive virtual reality experiences and make existing non-VR games more immersive as well. By releasing Moment with an open SDK, we hope to create a resource for developers to integrate rich haptic textures into the way we interact with technology on a day-to-day basis."[11]

Shantanu Bala focused on assistive and rehabilitative devices using haptic technologies before he developed Moment.[6] We have not found, however, any hint of a possible therapeutic use of Moment yet.

Ethical & Health Issues

We found no health risks related to Moment directly, but those applicable to Body-worn Wearables in general might be also applied to Moment.

We found no ethical issues related to Moment directly, but those applicable to Body-worn Wearables in general might be applied to Moment as well.

Public & Media Impact and Presentation

As was mentioned in the section "Enhancement, Therapy and Treatment", the developers believe that their device could considerably augmented perception of their users. This achievement is, however, not fully appreciated by potential users. For instance the debater entitled TacticalBastard argues:

So basically this is a $130 watch that doesn't tell time and the only output is vibration? How do you expect to compete with things like the Pebble which is at the same price point, yet has lightyears more functionality. This seems like a low functioning device for $130 when tons of more functional devices exist for less money. I bought a fully functioning Android Wear watch for less than that amount. How exactly do these special "vibration motors" work? I'm not going to want to memorize what two left, one right, and two more left vibrations with a purple light means when I could just glance at a screen, how are these vibrations going to be better? I apologize if this seems attacking or rude, it is not my intention. It's just that I don't see any use for this, and even less use at the price point.[12]

The developers are aware of this issue. As Jake Rockland claimed for Arizona Daily Wildcat: "Right now, I think our biggest challenge as we position ourselves to scale for a full release [of Moment] is figuring out how to best convey the value that our product offers to our potential users."[13] Debaters are also often confused by the fact that Moment has no screen e.g. the debater entitled MoreCoffeePlease wrote: "I like the concept but what is the functionality of the screen? From what I have got from the website it seems like most of the input will be from your phone, so why make it look like a watch?"[14]

All three developers of Moment are quite young. On one hand, their schools are proud of their success[15][13] and Amir Khawaja points out that corporations like Google or Microsoft arose from small companies such as Somatic Labs.[16] On the other hand, some debaters are worried by this fact. For instance, the debater entitled Auwardamn argues: "I looked into your company (Somatic Labs) and of the three founders (Shantanu, Jake, and Ajay) at least one is still enrolled as an undergraduate at ASU, and the other two are either recently graduated or still in enrolled...I'm having a hard time seeing past the idea that this is an opportunistic dream among you three that will inevitably just lead to people giving you their hard earned money with nothing in return."[17]

Public Policy

We have not recorded any public policy that regards Moment.

Related Technologies, Projects, or Scientific Research

The development of Moment is based on Shantanu Bala previous research into haptic technologies[6] and research in haptic illusions.[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 BREWSTER, Signe. Wristband Can Trace Your GPS Directions on Your Skin. MIT Technology Review [online]. 2016, Aug 16. (Retrieved 24th August, 2016).
  2. VIGNESH, J. How Somatic Labs' is bringing a fresh offering to the wearable market. The Economic Times [online]. 2016, Jul 15. Available online at: (Retrieved 24th August, 2016).
  3. CHARARA, Sophie. This haptic wearable gives you tactile alerts, alarms and navigation. Wareable [online]. 2016, Apr 21. Available online at: (Retrieved 24th August, 2016).
  4. ROCKLAND, Jake. Why Moment Doesn’t Need an LCD Screen. Somantic Labs' Blog [online]. 2016, May 9. Available online at: (Retrieved 24th August, 2016).
  5. ROCKLAND, Jake. How do devices provide haptic feedback?. Somantic Labs' Blog [online]. 2016, Mar 7. Available online at: (Retrieved 24th August, 2016).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Somatic Labs. Press Kit: Somatic Labs Fact Sheeet. Moment [online]. Available online at: (Retrieved 24th August, 2016).
  7. BALA, Shantu. Tips for Getting Started with the NRF51 from Nordic Semiconductor. Somantic Labs' Blog [online]. 2016, Feb 27. Available online at: (Retrieved 24th August, 2016).
  8. Somatic labs. FAQ. Moment [online]. Available online at: (Retrieved 24th August, 2016).
  9. 9.0 9.1 KAPUR, Ajak. Tactile Illusions: Interesting Ways Our Brains Fail. 2016, Apr 11. Available online at: Somantic Labs' Blog [online]. (Retrieved 24th August, 2016).
  10. BALA, Shantanu. A Discussion under the blog post: Ajak Kapur. Tactile Illusions: Interesting Ways Our Brains Fail. 2016, Apr 27. Available online at: Somantic Labs' Blog [online]. (Retrieved 24th August, 2016).
  11. ROCKLAND, Jake. Virtual Textures with Oculus. Somantic Labs' Blog [online]. 2016, Jul 18. Available online at: (Retrieved 24th August, 2016).
  12. TACTICALBASTARD. A Comment. reddit [online], 2016, Apr. Available online at: (Retrieved 25th August, 2016).
  13. 13.0 13.1 PICKENS, Maddie: UA student works with team to develop wearable haptic technology. 'Arizona Daily Wildcat [online]. 2016, Apr 8. Available online at: (Retrieved 25th August, 2016).
  14. MORECOFFEPLEASE. A Comment. reddit [online], 2016, Apr. Available online at: (Retrieved 25th August, 2016).
  15. FUOCO-KARASINSKI, Christina. Mountain Pointe grad working on breakthrough communication device. East Valley Tribute [online], 2016, Aug 4. Available online at: (Retrieved 25th August, 2016).
  16. KHAWAJA, Amir. Fellow SunDevils innovating with wearables at Somatic Labs. The State Press [online]. 2016, Apr 20. Available online at: (Retrieved 25th August, 2016).
  17. AUWARDAMN. A Comment. reddit [online], 2016, Apr. Available online at: (Retrieved 24th August, 2016).