Smarty Ring runs second fundraiser. Allows backers to pay more for confusing upgrade.

By

smartypage

Strangely, the Smarty Ring that we covered a few weeks ago showed up again on Indiegogo last week with an entirely new funding page.  We’ve seen copycat projects before, but this time the copycat page is actually from the original founders.

Campaign 2.0

Apparently not content with the $299,349 they raised on their recent Indiegogo campaign, the team behind Smarty Ring decided to launch a second ten day campaign to pick up any stragglers  ”who all are missed [their] previous campaigns (sic)”.  We’ve seen several projects run more than one campaign, but this has historically been only as a response to an original campaign failing to reach its goal in time.  The second go-round often includes more polished marketing or a better product.  This is the first time we’ve seen a team who far surpassed their self-imposed funding goal run a second campaign.  I’m surprised Indiegogo allowed them to do this as it seems to undermine whatever purpose a fundraising time limit serves.

Looking closer, it gets even more bizarre. This new campaign is an exact copy of the original with the exception of the small note mentioned above and a few new perks including the vague $60 “V2.0 upgrade”.

upgraydd

This upgrade is offered to those who backed the original campaign for $175 and offers them the ability to get a new version of the ring for a total of $235 as opposed to the $275 they’re currently asking. The only explanation given for what exactly V2.0 means is the phrase “with scrolling display”.  The original ring certainly showed an LED Matrix display on several of its mockups including those pictured in the campaign video as well as the circuit board layout.bighand

Can this display not scroll for some reason? Obviously curious about why they have been asked to spend an additional $60 on a project that they have already backed, many backers had some questions for the Smarty Ring team which they laid out in the comments section of the original campaign:

costanzi

ostryzak

quinn

The team’s responses haven’t been stellar:

@costanzi

Alexander

So it would appear that while the original version of the ring does have a LED matrix display, only the new version will support callerID. So is this a firmware upgrade?

firmware

This is a little strange considering the PCB they’re showing for the V2.0 ring apparently matches the layout from the original ring. What’s the deal with the display on the first ring? We aren’t the only ones with that question:

kean

@kean

Would have been nice to have doubts cleared before shelling out an additional $60.

This is not surprising news for a company that has offered so little detail throughout the last few months. Despite the vaguery of their product description, they maintain that they will ship this new V2.0 ring along with the V1.0 rings to those who didn’t upgrade by their original April 2014 deadline.  So…less than two months.

Hardware Updates

The team has offered a few real-world updates including some images and even a video.  From the images, we can see that they have printed their PCB and it matches up more or less exactly with the original layout:

smartyband

Furthermore, looking at the size of the LED display drivers, the size of the circuit hasn’t changed significantly from our original estimations of 56×7.5mm:

sizing

They’ve also posted some pictures of ring enclosures which seem to match up with their original size specifications of 13mm long and 4mm thick:

rings

As predicted in our original post, at least one backer was misled by their grossly inaccurate computer models:

toothick

These rings look very rough as they don’t have any of the glass display covers or icon overlays shown in their models.  It’s certainly a first step to delivering a product, but they have a long way to go.  Doubly so when you consider that they haven’t even soldered components to their PCB to see if it works.

Finally, they provided a video demonstrating the included wireless ring/phone charger:

While it doesn’t demonstrate anything particularly novel, it is interesting to see that the phone is using a Chinese service provider indicating that the team has at least made it to China to begin manufacturing.

Coming soon

The Smarty Ring team has really taken gross liberties with the trust of their backers.  While a lack of product definition early on can give backers the feeling that they’re getting in on the ground floor of something big, pricing and feature changes this close to shipment date draw major concerns from even the most optimistic backer.

Curiously, one thing the team has not done is changed their shipment date which is usually the first thing to go.  They’ve actually doubled down on that guarantee considering that the second batch of rings to be delivered to those just joining in the second campaign will apparently be shipped only a month later in May.

We won’t hold our breath.

Tags:

{ 12 comments to read ... please submit one more! }

  1. Those responses are too cagey to justify throwing $60 their way.

    And it looks like the rendering and the physical mockups don’t match each other. The proportions in the new photos are nothing like either of those, in my opinion.

  2. I recently found this site, looking great. Since you review lots of products, have you found a correlation between possible scams and Indiegogo? Or more specifically, scams and “flexible funding” Indiegogo campaigns. Indiegogo’s model really seems to encourage (or at the very least, very easily turn a blind eye to) clear scams. See all the free energy campaigns there for example:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=free+energy+site:indiegogo.com

    • I can’t believe people actually donate to these things. It is also shocking that Indiegogo don’t screen these ‘campaigns’ at all.

    • We tend to shy away from the really bonkers projects. If you look at the comments section of those projects, you’ll find a bunch of crystal-healing kooks and conspiracy theory nut jobs. There’s nothing we can do for people like that.

      • Hi Choof. Excellent work, as ever.

        Have you seen this? http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/healbe-gobe-the-only-way-to-automatically-measure-calorie-intake

        It seems a much bigger fraud than the Smarty Ring; both the size of the funding and the impossibility of the device. What intrigues me is the number of people who cannot discern science fiction from science fact, but can and will stump up vast sums of money for these projects.

        James ;-)

        • That one’s definitely on our list. Interestingly, we found a patent (US6996428) filed by their technology partner that describes a process that may be able to do what they’re talking about. Of course, you can patent a process that doesn’t work, but this one has been referenced by several other patents from real medical companies. Still withholding judgement right now, but I’ll be writing it up soon.

          • I had in mind something like that, actually. Not for you to review those kooky products I mentioned above, but if you had found any correlation between scams and “flexible funding” campaigns. To me it seems that the most unbelievable ones are always flexible funding, but that could just be confirmation bias.

          • Thanks for the patent number. It seems to be just an improved design for a compact impedance based rheography electrode. It’s nothing exciting really. My feeling is that they’re going to deliver a device; but one that doesn’t work as advertised. It’s easy enough to put a pressure sensor, impedance sensor, accelerometer, micro controller and BTLE radio into a small device, and use the input from the sensors to to generate some meaningless output. There’s no known method – at any price – of measuring blood glucose non-invasively. If there was, it would end up in medical devices first. In addition, measuring blood glucose misses intake from complex carbs, fats and protein. The bulk of those who pledged clearly don’t know that it can’t work in the first place, and I think it’s likely that these same people sure as hell aren’t going to know if the device is working accurately when they use it.

            I’ll look forward to your more in-depth write-up. :-)

            James.

  3. Hi choof,

    Just want to say thanks. Your posts are very interesting and I have already learned a lot by just reading them. At the moment I tend to stick to ‘easy’ projects (eg. injection molding without electronics).

  4. Thanks for bringing smarty ring to light,
    If you didn’t know already, You were mentioned on CNET couple of days ago for your good work,
    http://www.cnet.com.au/indiegogos-response-to-fraud-remove-anti-fraud-guarantee-339347000.htm

    Smarty Ring is a scam and a I have been trying to tell some of the donors that with no success. I grew up in the same town where this technology is supposedly coming from, I can tell you that there is no way that this kind of technology exists there, I’m not trying to undermine my native place but it just doesn’t exist and I can say this because I can relate to this.
    It looks like a bunch of technology savy people got together to come up with this scam, I’m amazed at the way how a lot of “reputable” tech websites/blog picked this story up for reporting. I’m evern more amazed at the way the donors of the project have given so much slack and also going along with the assumption that this is genuine.
    What I still don’t understand is why Smarty ring team from time to time updates people on Indiegogo saying the product is on the way, It looks like they are buying time for whatever reason, may be for the funds to settle.
    I feel bad saying this but I would take any project that is too good to be true from India with a big grain of salt.
    I also see there are a lot of “charity related” campaigns posted where the donations start from a dollar, given that there are some good people trying to make a difference there, there are also lot of people try to use charity to scam. People here wouldn’t think very much to give a dollar out when they see a picture of person in a shack but that dollar is a lot of money back home. I would hate to see even a cent going to a low life..

    Thanks for your post again, hopefully this will reach the right audience.

  5. The latest updates on the SmartyRing project are hilarious!
    No wonder they didn’t want to discuss technical details until release – they don’t have a clue…

  6. They just started a 3rd campaign without providing anything on the first two !! I can’t believe Indiegogo would allow these scam artists to cheat a 3rd group of people. They don’t give updates, answer questions and let all delivery dates pass without doing anything. They raked in $400,000 and now they are trying to steal more.

{ 0 Pingbacks/Trackbacks }

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>