This smart watch is inspired by buzzing insects

Watches that do more than tell time have been an obsession of gadget makers since the early comic book days.

We all saw James Bond sport watches complete with secret tape recorders and anti-villain weaponry. Our vision of the “future” has always included time pieces that could double as communicators or health monitors.

Now, those futuristic dreams are becoming reality. KeiKei is a smart watch with a remarkably clean interface, no smattering of tiny buttons or confusing aeronautical gauges.

Instead, KeiKei sports a minimalist face made up of a grid of LEDs. Each diode acts like a flickering firefly, dancing across the watch face. But this smart watch doesn’t just substitute lights for clock hands. Depending on how and where they swarm, the dots can alert the wearer to phone calls, predict rain, or visualize MP3s, reports FastCo. Design.

Designed by Takemura Ori of Qixen-P Design, the watch won’t be replacing your smartphone or MP3 player anytime soon. But its planned functionality could augment those devices in an elegant fashion, and make it possible for you to keep them in your pocket instead of your hand.

KeiKei uses both visual movements and sound to let you know if you’re phone is ringing, or to depict the music that’s playing through your headphones.

KeiKei also has a number of customizable touch gestures. General ones includes swiping and chasing away the “fireflies” to mute the device connected to the watch, and double tapping to bring the sound back.

Takemura tells FastCo. Design that he sought qualities of “playfulness and interactivity” in the design.

“We should always remember that as living creatures we feel more comforted with the language that is close to nature, not ones and zeros,” he explains.Takemura says he chose to have the LEDs mimic the movements of fireflies because they are both beautiful and “sometimes chaotic.”

You can take the KeiKei’s functionality for a test drive here.

* Beth Buczynski, EarthTechling