Wearables are having a moment, but many are either unisex or geared towards men. Slowly but surely, more devices targetted at women (think Ringly) are beginning to emerge. The newest device from startup WayWearable is simply called WAY. The small, donut-shaped contraption is not exactly a wearable since you carry it with you. But it can be used with your smart phone to diagnose and monitor your skin condition before advising you on the products you need for beautiful, healthy skin.
WAY has advanced sensors that collect information about your skin and your surrounding environment. Its biometric sensors glow while measuring the exact amount of moisture below your skin surface. Meanwhile, other sensors measure age-accelerating UV light and relative humidity. WAY can tell you that humidity levels are low — a cue for more moisturiser — or even that the air is especially polluted around you. A step-up from the naggy best friend who always reminds you to wear sunscreen, the device will give you real, scientific data on your current skin condition as well as practical advice on how to care for it. More importantly, it will tell you how well your current regimen is working out for you.
Does this device have legs? CEO of WayWearable Jason Moon thinks so. The company recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund production of the first 1,000 units. Within 72 hours, the project's initial funding goal had been met, demonstrating a strong demand for this service. We speak to Moon to find out more about this fascinating new wearable.
What was the inspiration for this device and why do you think it will be successful?
Before founding WayWearable I ran a healthcare startup for three years, during which I witnessed the potential for female consumers in the connected device and service market. Skincare and fitness are big concerns for women around the world, but they require constant and accurate monitoring. While there are already many smartphone and tablet services for general consumers that can help you monitor your body, there are none for the skin. At first I thought about a wearable device, but beauty-conscious women are fashionable; they are not going to want to wear the same wearable device every day. On the other hand, they are happy to carry a cosmetic bag with a lot of different makeup items. So it made perfect sense for us to design WAY as something that you can carry in a cosmetic bag.
Why do you think it will be successful?
We are just a small startup but we are opening up a new market through WAY. A lot of big players in the cosmetic industry are paying attention to our service, wondering if it will be a threat to them or a win-win situation for all. Attracting attention is already a great success for us. There will be more devices and services dedicated to improving skincare for women, and it will depend on us to continue that drive and make it an even bigger success.
Do you think this will take off only in Korea or all over the world?
We think that skin concerns and solutions do not have any geographic boundaries. Women all over the world are concerned about their skin and are always looking for solutions to take care of it. K-beauty is hot these days. A lot of woman trust Korean cosmetic brands and are interested in Korean women's beauty tips and skincare routines. For us, it is a mission to introduce Korean skincare products based on skincare tips and data of Korean people.
Can WAY ever take the place of a dermatologist, or is it meant to be a companion device?
WAY cannot replace a dermatologist who can diagnose a wide range of skin diseases. However, WAY can help you monitor your skin condition daily, analyse how your environment is affecting your skin, and therefore provide you with a personalised solution based on that data. Dermatologists and skincare product manufacturers don't have access to such detailed personal data. Also, you spend a lot of time and money for a brief five minute check-up and advice from a dermatologist. So in that sense, WAY is more immediate and personal compared to going to a skin clinic. We also have a professional dermatologist on our team, as a co-founder, who's helping us with the project.
What are your future plans for WAY?
First, we will be focusing on selling the device and promoting it. Our goal by the end of 2015 is to deliver our product to those who pre-ordered it on Indiegogo. We will do our best to achieve our goal of delivering all the products by November 2015. Our goal for 2016 is to accumulate more data on the environment and its effect on our skin by using our skincare service. Using that data, we will be developing products that consumers need, and recommending adequate skincare products according to each consumer's skin condition. Although we can't reveal the names at this point, we are having conversations with a number of Korean and global cosmetic firms.
To pre-order your WAY device, visit their Indiegogo site here.