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Technology Meets Philosophy with 'Death Watch'

Wed, 10/16/2013 - 12:54pm
Melissa Fassbender, Associate Editor

Smart watches keep you connected to your email, but this death watch counts down your remaining years to the second that you will die. Currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, the Tikker, despite its morbid cognomen, hopes to inspire users to make every second count.

View: Kickstarter of the Week: New Watch Tells You When You'll Die

Founded by Fredrik Colting, the idea for the watch was born after his father’s death. “We went to the hospital and we could see him in the little room just lying there. Afterwards, when I got home, it dawned upon me that after death, nothing really matters anymore,” he says.

The idea slowly transformed into sketches, models, and concept prototypes as Colting recruited designers and engineers to help him take his idea to the next step. The team has been working on Tikker for more than two years, developing relationships with manufacturers and component suppliers from around the world.

Colting explains “We've personally visited and established contact with the select few that meet our strict standards of quality, price, and ethical production.”

Experimenting with different designs and materials, the team had to overcome both software and hardware problems, but what proved to be the most difficult aspect was developing a three-row digital watch display that counts down your life.

The countdown is calculated after the user answers a series of lifestyle questions provided in a pamphlet with each watch. The pamphlet also includes information about time, answering questions like, “What is time? When did it start? When does it end?” 

“It’s not terribly sophisticated in that sense,” says Colting, but he hopes that it will inspire people to make better decisions. “All of the technological things are just a reminder, but you have to change the way you think,” he adds. The watch will then let you change the settings and give yourself some more time as you alter your behavior.

In the future, Colting would like to see a wearable device with more options. “Maybe you can have a quit smoking program where the watch gives you a pep talk during the day,” he says. “Everybody needs pep talk.”

It’s technology meets philosophy and Colting has even been contacted by a Buddhist organization that supports the Tikker message. “It can be a spiritual device in that sense,” Colting says, stressing that death is a valuable part of living life.

Kickstarter contributions will help fund tooling and mechanical costs, the large component order, and the cost of assembly and testing.

People have been really excited about the product, others think it is a terrible idea, but for everyone, “it’s something to shake us up.”

The watch has already raised over $64,000, exceeding its original goal of $25,000 with 18 days left to go.

“Although your life's countdown began the day you were born, Tikker is now there to remind you to make the most of it.”

To support Tikker, visit www.kickstarter.com.

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