I view a lot of crowd funded projects, and have backed a couple of watch projects myself, but every once in awhile a project just blows up on a crowd funding site, and that is what has happened to the Ritot Projection watch on Indiegog0. With the project slated to end funding on August 21, the watch project has already garnered over $750,000 in pledges against a goal of $50,000. And it is a very cool concept. I just wonder if it will ever make it past the point of being a concept.
The basic premise behind the watch is very interesting. Mate a pico projector to a smart watch to move the screen from the device itself to the back of your hand and wrist. The size of the display no longer is a driving force behind the watch, either for the form and shape of the watch to accommodate a display, or in the limitations on what you can display due to the size of the screen. So the Ritot is designed to project the time onto the back of your hand or wrist as a watch, and also to display all sorts of information when paired to your smartphone. Of course, in order to really assess how this is going to work, ideally you would want a lot of details, and this is where the project falls short.
Backing any project on a crowd funded site is a risk. I have two nice watches I purchased from Kickstarter projects, along with a host of other interesting things I have bought off the site. Some are great, some are disappointments against my expectations. I also have one vaporware project where I have (to date) nothing for my pledge, but it was not much money. This project promises a lot of performance for the very low price, $120 for one down to a bulk price of $68 for 50 watches. A Pebble is $150, and that is a real product which does not rely on new technology. This alone is something that makes me very leery of this project.
Another red flag is that there is no working prototype. To the project’s credit, they admit as much, but this is a perfect way to promise a lot and deliver nothing. They can keep working on the project and string everyone along with “updates,” and there will be a lot of updates, because design and engineering is not complete on the watch either (again, admitted to, but very troubling). All the images look to be renderings or Photoshopped stock images, another huge warning sign. Look at the three images of the watch in use I have posted here (from the project page).
There is no way the projection will be that clean and that bright on all of these hands in all all of these conditions. Lastly, the project has a US contact address, but the project is originated in the Ukraine, so if it does disappear into the night, you may have very little or no recourse. If you want to take a flyer (or you already did) on something that may be an awesome new product, or a puff of smoke that nothing ever materializes out of, I am not here to argue either way. As for me, I am steering clear of this project, as cool as it seems to be.
If anyone has another take on this project, or insight, I would love to hear back in the discussion below. I did email the creators of the project and have not received a reply, so there may be an update if I get additional information. ritot.com
- Brand & Model: Ritot Projection Watch
- Price: $120 for 1, less in bulk
- Who we think it might be for: Someone willing to take a flier on the next big thing.
- Would I buy or recommend it just on the photos?: No, I do not think this project will deliver an actual product.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Show me a working prototype.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: It looks like it will hit around $1,000,000 in funding, something even the potato salad guy is going to have to admire.