Scribble Pen beta program persists despite double-shutdown


If you’ve been following this blog, you already know all about the Scribble Pen project which has been ejected from two different crowd funding platforms for providing misleading information about their level of progress on their pen that can supposedly write in any color.

During their second funding attempt, the team opened a volunteer beta tester program.  The obvious question is how they could offer beta test units when they had no evidence of a working functional prototype in the first place, but that was far from the most confusing part of their campaign.

Now, months after shutting down and moving to “private investment“, the team has sprung back to life offering their beta testers access to test units for free! (with a $15 shipping fee).

Continue reading →

Scribble Pen shut down…again


Thanks for playing folks.  I think this is the final nail in the coffin of the Scribble Campaign.  It’s not very likely that they’ll find another crowdfunding platform that will accept them.

Continue reading →

Scribble Pen video more deceiving than originally thought


Minutes after the Scribble Pen campaign relaunched on CrowdTilt, the associated video went private and was then removed for over an hour before a replacement appeared without comment from the team.  We originally didn’t think much of it after the numerous missed deadlines and mysterious omissions from the project, but new information provided by a hawk-eyed backer reveals that the video has more to it than just crappy camera cuts.

Continue reading →

Unable to produce a better video, Scribble ditches Kickstarter entirely for Crowdtilt


After a bizarre decision to completely shut down their Kickstarter campaign rather than simply produce a better product video, the team behind the Scribble Pen went virtually radio silent for over a week despite repeatedly broken promises to relaunch their campaign.  They finally broke that silence today revealing some unsettling changes to their project.

Continue reading →

Ritot projection watch


Author’s note: Portions of the research for this project were provided by reader K.  Thank you for your help.

Every few weeks, we see another crowd funded campaign trying to revolutionize the way we look at our wrists to see the time.  While most of these products aim to add new features to a standard watch, Ritot claims that they can display the time in a whole new way.  Not content to look at the simple display of virtually every watch ever made, Ritot is trying to take it a step further with a watch that projects the time on the back of the hand.

Presumably, using the back of a hand provides a larger “screen” for displaying the time and other information, but anyone who’s tried to read a PowerPoint slide in a sunny conference room can think of at least a dozen problems with this solution.  Instead of providing demonstrations of their unique solution, all Ritot has managed to produce is misleading graphics and shady details about their level of progress.  This is one campaign where I wish I had a chance to dive in earlier, but with just three days left in the campaign, it’s better late than never.

Continue reading →

Color changing pen raises doubts, Kickstarter actually steps in


The long anticipated Scribble Pen finally launched this week to immense if very short-lived success.  The project became wildly popular back in June when they first announced their product to the tech media, but several delays prevented them from launching their fundraising campaign until Monday this week.

The team’s marketing efforts paid off though as the pen, which allows users to scan colors off objects and then reproduce them in ink, reached its $100,000 goal in just a few hours.

Unfortunately, this magical ink/pigment mixing pen raised a few concerns among backers (this author included), and the comments section of the project quickly became filled with requests for a better demonstration of the pen’s capabilities.  The project’s video contained just two short clips of the pen drawing which many believed didn’t demonstrate the main feature of the pen which is the ability to change colors quickly.  Concerns were largely over how long it took the pen to change color and how much ink was wasted in the process. Continue reading →

As predicted, Carbon wristwatch solar panel smaller than originally indicated


In a backers only update this week, the team at Carbon released drawings showing some more details on their proposed solar panel design.  As you may recall, the team’s solar powered wristwatch had a solar panel barely large enough, at its best, to charge a 650mAh battery in 8 hours.  We brought up concerns that creating a hole for the requisite watch movement to poke through the panel would require the panel to be split into a number of smaller panels as it’s impossible (or at least very hard) to drill a hole in a monocrystaline solar panel.  This would reduce the effective size of the panel due to the gaps between the sections drawing into question the original 8 hour charge time spec.

Continue reading →

SmartyRing ditches LEDs for e-paper display


Continue reading →

The Atlantic: Have you contributed to a health scam?


Ch00f and I recently had the pleasure of talking with Olga Khazan of the Atlantic on the subject of dubious crowd-funding campaigns. Her article, which specifically targets health products, is an outstanding review of the challenges we face more generally.

If you have a few minutes, I encourage you to give it a read.

One thing to rule them all?


If the “Internet of Things” is going to live up to the hype, hardware developers will need to fully embrace the metaphor and all it implies. Let’s be honest, most projects these days are a variation on a theme: take a few sensors, add a 2.4 GHz radio, think up a snappy name, and claim to be “the world’s first <really specific application>.” However, despite the underlying similarities, each has its own custom app and interface, making it impossible to design a common “browser” that allows users to navigate from device to device.

If this landscape sounds more like cable TV than the Internet, that’s because it is. Providers are competing to herd users into their particular walled-garden.

Some day, a central authority will define a common standard like what the Bluetooth SIG has done with their heart rate profile (among many other examples) and things will improve. In the meantime, hardware developers continue making grand promises that assume they succeed in the winner-take-all competition for users.

As a backer, this is a HUGE leap of faith – even if the product ships, we may receive only a shadow of its potential usefulness, like buying a media player to find out it only plays HD-DVDs. And unlike retail, crowdfunding has no refunds and no returns.

Continue reading →