The Livestrong charity began selling yellow silicone bands to raise money and help fight cancer in 2004. The silicone wristbands were sold for a dollar with the goal of raising $25.1 million for cancer research. The bands became trendy because they were cheap, bright and supported a good cause. Other charitable organizations began mimicking Livingstone bracelets and silicone wristbands of multiple colors made their way into our everyday lives. Silicone wristbands became a bonafide fashion trend. As with most trends, silicone wristbands eventually began falling out of the mainstream public consciousness, but the clever use of technology is bringing the bands back stronger than ever.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips and Quick Response (QR) codes have transformed silicone bands to from a mere fashion statement to a functional pieces of wearable technology. Wrist-band.com, the largest online seller of silicone wristbands in North America, sells silicone bands with these features to make events such as large concerts and award shows run more smoothly. RFID chips use electromagnetic fields to transfer data and identify and track tags attached to objects. This allows event coordinators to authenticate a guest’s band and provide them access to restricted areas of venues. The small RFID chips are approximately the size of a grain of rice. They do not interfere with a guest’s experience and make provide security with a fool-proof method to authenticate access and accommodate large crowds. The MTV Network purchased 100,000 RFID wrist band and used them to provide access to VIP areas and backstage during the 2012 MTV Music Video Awards. The bands were also used during the 2012 Bollywood Concert, where they allowed organizers to count the exact attendance at the event.
QR codes have also made their appearance on these silicone bands. These codes have made their way from industrial use to consumer advertising, where they provide companies with a new way to interact with consumers. Smart phones are typically used to scan the codes, display the code and convert it into something useful such as a website link. In 2013, Coca-Cola printed QR codes on 50,000 silicone bracelets to promote an event it was hosting in Houston, Texas.
Azim Makanojiya, co-founder of Wrist-band.com, was a sophomore in college when he was inspired to create his silicone wristband business. He saw potential in these silicone bands because they are weatherproof and waterproof which made them ideal for concerts. By reinventing silicone wristbands and integrating technologies such as RFID chips and QR codes into its, Wrist-band.com has positioned its as North America’s leading manufacturer of silicone wristbands with sales of nearly 250,000 wristbands per day. The company has also kept true to wristbands’ roots in issue advocacy by regularly donating its bands to charity. Wrist-band.com donates wristbands to charitable events such as March for Dimes and school districts as a part of anti-bullying initiatives. Innovators like Wrist-band.com prove that with a little ingenuity, an old idea can be made fresh and exciting with the smart application of technology.