Are wearables simply a passing fad? Or are they still gaining steam? It may be the latter if companies keep innovating and reaching for new ways to put tech on our bodies. With Google Glass hitting a wall, likely for being too expensive and awkward looking, it seems like the wrist is where the wearables war will be won.
On October 30, 2014, a French company called Cicret published a video on YouTube that immediately went viral, garnering 6.2 million views and counting. What was the fuss about?
Apparently a wearable called the "Cicret Bracelet," an orange, waterproof wearable able to project the image of a smartphone's UI on a wrist, transferring the same response of a touch screen, turning the experience into "touch skin."
But how much of the video is real? Take a look yourself, then read on for more details from our conversation with Cicret's co-founder, Guillaume Pommier.
AW: Your product is really gaining a lot of traction. What is the history of Cicret and where did it all begin? What's been going on lately?
GP: In the origins, it was just my father and I. I am only 25 [years old] and we have a very strong bond, spending most our free time together building applications, or books, or whatever. We've been working on the Cicret Bracelet for more than one year now, but we've been working on the Cicret application for many years.
We always knew that together the Cicret Bracelet would be well received, so it's kind of a dream, and we have to stay very calm. I have, today, 5,000 unread e-mails in my inbox, but unfortunately, I don't have enough time in one day to answer them all.
We have a lot of investors interested, and we're continuing working on our prototype as well as work with our producer of components here in France.
I have the feeling of not sleeping for one month.
AW: How do you pronounce "Cicret"?
GP: Like "secret."
AW: Is the video a real prototype being shown or is it a simulation?
GP: It's a demonstration showing how the Cicret Bracelet will work. We don't have all the final components in the video demonstration, and now, before last week, we know that the prototype that we'll have next year will be 90% of what was shown on the video. The partnership we have with our component company says we can make the bracelet, though it might be twice as big as the bracelet shown in the video, about the size of a watch.
AW: How does the projected interface react to touch?
GP: When you use your finger you interact with a long-range proximity sensor, it's a laser that goes straight and intercepts your finger, capturing its movements, and sending it back to your phone. The long-range proximity sensor is similar to when you try to take a picture with your smartphone in that it recognizes the range of the object you're focusing on. This technology is combined with a Pico projector.
AW: Is it scary to think you may be a competitor to Google Glass?
GP: We can't be scared because we have so much luck with this. We're a small business.
AW: What type of investments are you getting? To what scale?
GP: We have distributors - people from all over the world from the US to Belgium. I don't know how much e-mail we got last week, but it was about 1,500 from guys who said, "I want to be an investor." And we have big companies who want to meet us in Paris to see if the prototype is working. We also have other big companies asking, "How can we be partners?" in making software for the Cicret Bracelet. We are a small team, but we're going fast, and we have luck to be distributed by the people watching our video.