by Steve Annear | November 26, 2014 12:46 pm
An interactive winter glove that transmits information from people’s smartphones to their headphones and other devices, allowing users to change music, have texts read to them, and access a GoPro camera at the tap of a finger, is just $8,000 shy of being funded on Kickstarter, offering what the inventors believe will be a life-changing experience for those on-the-go.
“This is such an exciting moment, because we are on the edge, and a teeny little push [will get us there],” said Ben Harris, co-creator of the “GoGlove,” which relies on a wearable wireless Bluetooth remote stuffed inside of a winter glove to control people’s smartphones, so they don’t have to dig into their pockets for access.
Created by Harris and his cousin, Eric Ely, the GoGlove has come a long way since the glove’s inception. Their current fundraising efforts mark the second time that the GoGlove has appeared on Kickstarter in recent months. Back in July, Ely and Harris reached the halfway mark of their fundraising goal, bringing in $23,000, but ultimately fell flat and couldn’t get the product out to market.
But they didn’t give up on it. The duo is now on their fourth version of the glove, and recently made some drastic changes to vastly improve the user experience.
Harris said after they failed to bring in enough money to launch the project during the summer—they were hindered by the fact that not many people want to think about winter activities when the weather’s warm—they reassessed their prototype, forged some additional relationships with manufacturers, brushed up their business plan, and created a smartphone app to work in conjunction with the wearable technology.
“Before we had an off-the-shelf, purchased glove with hand-sewn materials on the inside. Everything was made by hand, and in concept it looked great, but it didn’t seem like a finished product,” he said. “We took a step back, then took our own money, finalized the new design with manufacturers, and built 20 of the new gloves. We now have a final product, and can show it to people. We are making tweaks, but are almost ready to go.”
Harris said amongst the upgrades they brought to the outerwear is the ability to turn a GoPro camera off and on. This functionality is useful for snowboarders, cyclists, and others trying to document trips and capture footage without fumbling with the camera prior to exercising. Because the GoGlove tells the user, through their headphones, that the GoPro is on, they can avoid the common problem of going to access footage only to find they never hit the record button.
“It’s little things like that,” said Harris. “It’s a much more robust design than before.”
The GoGlove, which relies on a magnet in the thumb and sensors placed in the fingertips to control a smartphone remotely, also features a customizable app that works with any music-streaming app to play songs. The app also allows people to have text messages sent to them read aloud, and gives the user control of the volume of their device. “Now that we have an app we can do a ton with it,” said Harris. “We decided it’s an important function to have, so you can customize what finger does what.”
For those who think the investment will restrict them to enjoying the glove only during New England’s winter season, Harris said the remote inside of the glove can be easily removed from the zipper pouch and used on its own. With five buttons on the top, which are activated when detached from the glove, it can be clipped onto a shirt or used as a keychain so that runners, cyclists, or people going for a walk or working out at the gym can still control their smartphones remotely.
“This glove is for anyone who is out and about,” he said.
Harris and Ely, who have been testing out the glove on the mountains while snowboarding, said if they surpass their Kickstarter goal they plan on shipping out the first of the gloves by next Summer. From there, they will look to secure money from investors in Boston by approaching venture capital firms and others who back startups. They will also release a publicly available API for the GoGlove, so developers can utilize the functions and integrate it into their own apps.
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