The Rufus Cuff 'Wrist Communicator': A Step Above the Smartwatch?

Although we're still far off from the year 3000, one new gadget is straight out of Futurama.

The Rufus Cuff claims to be a step above the smartwatch because it offers users a connected experience similar to one they would get on a smartphone.

Aesthetically, it may resemble recently released gadgets such as the Pebble Steel or Samsung's Galaxy Gear, but the device — which will include a 3-inch screen, and run on Android — aims to offer more functionality.

"Smartwatches are cool — a good start to where we should be going — but this is where we should be," Gabe Grifoni, CEO and co-founder of Rufus Labs, the accessory's parent company, told Mashable"We are a category beyond the smartwatch."

Grifoni said he was inspired to create the Rufus Cuff — named after his dog — during a four-hour drive home from CES 2013. He remembers loving the wearable technology he saw, but thinking that there was a better way to do it. Simply calling a device "smart" doesn't necessarily make it so for Grifoni, who said his longterm goal for the Rufus Cuff is to eventually have it replace our need for smartphones.

Although it won't be able to connect to a cellular network on its own, the Rufus Cuff will be able to send and receive calls or text messages when digitally tethered to a smartphone. Users will also be able to take advantage of its Wi-Fi capabilities. The gadget will be compatible with both Android and iOS devices, although use with the latter will be slightly more limited based on what Apple will allow.

The Rufus Cuff is being marketed as a full-on "wrist communicator." Grifoni said the device's large screen will give it an edge over competitors, and claimed it is easy to get used to, especially since the weight of the device is distributed over a larger surface area.

"I have the skinniest, nerdiest wrist in the world, and I built it for myself," he said.

The Rufus Cuff is raising funds via Indiegogo. As of press time, the crowdfunding campaign has reached just over $120,000 out of its $200,000 goal, with 13 days to go. If it can raise enough money, Rufus Labs plans to donate a portion of its profits to charity. A functional prototype is still in the works, and if all goes well, production is expected to begin in September.

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