Some months ago we had a chat with Mihkel Tali, one of the co-founders of Driftband, the Estonian vision on fashion-ized NFC technology. We were well on our way on having the article pushed out, but then the launch got postponed (not to mention the website wasn’t responsive yet), and so began a long communication blackout. Fresh news kept on coming and required attention; Driftband slowly descended into the limbo of unfinished pieces.
Yesterday, however, Tali got back to us with good news: Driftband is about to launch, and the website is very much up and running.
Driftband is one of the latest attempts at combining fashion with NFC technology, which has been struggling with a stigma of mundanity. That is, sticking an NFC chip onto something like a payment card, mobile device, or into an ugly keychain might not be the most exciting way of enjoying the chips benefits, at least according to Driftband.
So, instead of daydreaming about an alternative, Driftband set out to put the sex back in tech, or in other words, take the NFC chips out shopping for fashion.
The Driftband wristband is an alternative for your typical metropolitan travel card, which are in heavy use in several bigger cities worldwide, such as Helsinki, London and in this case, Tallinn. Alternatively, the wristbands NFC chip could be used as an access card in schools or offices.
There is, of course, a bit of easing out some practical problems, not just esthetic reasoning behind driftband:
“We noticed how uncomfortable it is to search for a smart card from your pockets or from the bottom of your bag, while moving through secured doors, just to put it back there again in a second. The same problem appears in public transport, where to compete for your chance to sit, you need to validate your ride fast and comfortably. We also noticed how office access cards tend to be forgotten home or on work desks, and when dangling from the neck or waist, they may ruin a prestigious and well picked work outfit”, as mentioned in the Driftband homepage.
Driftband is the next step in giving us an idea on what direction casual NFC technology will be going towards to in the near future, and if its a matter of having the choice to personalize your NFC experience, why not at least make it sturdy and low-key so that wearing it won’t have to be a full blown fashion statement, but rather a twist in your style.
Since not fully launched (but maybe next week?), you'll find that the Driftband website does not have anything to sell just yet. However, Tali told us the wristband " will be between €15 and €20, depending on the model."