A struggling inventor who originally made childrens technology products has turned his fortunes around after striking a deal with rock band Coldplay. Jason Regler is celebrating an order for two million wristbands that glow in time with music.
Regler originally built up his business in the mid 2000s but suffered a major setback when a major client failed to pay for a year’s worth of work. It was while dealing with this that he watched Coldplay perform at the 2005 Glastonbury Festival and the idea for glowing wristbands in time struck him as the band sang the line “lights will guide you home.”
A few years later Regler won tickets to a charity performance by the band that included a meet and greet session. He and his young son missed the gig thanks to heavy snow, but were later invited to meet the band during a rehearsal. While arranging the date he mentioned the idea to the band’s manager Phil Harvey and some time later Harvey got back in touch and said the band were interested in placing an order for a one-off show in Madrid.
The wristbands, marketed as Xylobands, proved such a success that the band then placed a full order so that every audience member could wear one across an ongoing world tour. The Xylobands will receive further TV exposure when Coldplay use them during a performance at the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games.
The glowing effect is actually a series of flashing LEDs. The Xylobands don’t directly respond to the audio “in the air” but rather house a radio frequency receiver hooked up to a central computer that’s been pre-programmed. The RF technique means the wristbands are currently limited to a 300 meter radius which is fine for indoor gig venues, but means they wouldn’t be ideal for major outdoor festivals without relay transmitters.
Regler is now looking at improvements such as using a rechargable battery (at the moment the wristbands are only designed for one-off use) or allowing people to use them at home and program them themselves, though he has some concerns about people then disrupting live events. He’s also looking at ways to divide the audience into sections to create more intricate visual effects across the arena.