There's been a host of truly groundbreaking wearable tech from the last few years – amazing innovations, game-changing crowdfunding programmes and category defining smash hits. But there have also been a few inspirational wearables that seemed to have fizzled out.
A lot of these are crowdfunding projects that have run out of money, ideas and know-how leaving backers stranded, but others are from established companies, that for whatever reason have put projects on the back-burner after making a big announcement.
Here are the wearables that have been lost at sea.
Ah the Neptune Suite. The brainchild of young entrepreneur Simon Tian, Neptune Suite is an ambitious project that visualises a suite of tech products – tablet, phone, laptop – all run from a smartwatch.
The project was launched on in March 2015 and raised over $1 million, with delivery estimated for February 2016. But as September looms, the company has just redesigned the smartwatch and it doesn't look like a finished product is close.
The above sketches released by Neptune merely resemble artist's impressions and many backers are furious that the futuristic-looking cuff that sported a 2.5-inch OLED now looks like a normal smartwatch with a 1.65-inch OLED instead.
"We've tweaked the design to make it as comfortable and versatile as possible for the wearer. We believe that the future of computing will be closely integrated with the body and that everyone should have the choice to wear their device however they choose, be it the wrist, around the neck, or simply in their pocket," said Tian.
With the project reset, there's no knowing how long a final product will take.
Original estimated delivery: February 2016
Seer AR Helmet
This AR helmet used a smartphone to deliver the visuals, from an unashamedly geeky form-factor that got Kickstarter punters excited back in early 2015. Like a cut-price HoloLens, the Seer AR helmet offered a 100 degree FOV for just $99 – a tantalising prospect.
But a look at the Kickstarter page today reveals a very different kind of reality. On August 8, nearly a year after the promised shipping date, the company posted pictures of components that have supposedly been manufactured, although seemingly not assembled. A handful of Seer headsets have been shipped, allegedly, although the comments are a story of woe for backers that have received nothing.
Original estimated delivery: Sept 2015
Kairos managed to ship its MSW115 hybrid mechanical smartwatches, although there's no stock left online. And that's also the theme with the Kairos T-Band, a smart strap for analogue watches that hit Indiegogo back in November 2014. Promised in April 2015 and backed by 511 people, it's still missing in action.
The last public update was nine months ago, although there seems to have been an update about another design change back in June. We actually had some hands on time with the T-Band at Baselworld 2015, and can confirm that it was a long way from being ready for public consumption. And that doesn't look to be any different 18 months later as backers clamour for a refund.
Original estimated delivery: April 2015
From high profile crowdfunding muck-ups comes something that hurts us much more. The Misfit Spectre was announced back at CES 2016, and got us excited by a pair of headphones that doubles as a fitness tracker. With the era of hearables firmly upon us, it was an exciting addition to the growing segment. Details for Spectre were slated for 'Spring 2016', but none have been forthcoming, and no price or release date has ever been given. As the headphones pre-date Misfit's merger with Fossil, it's looking likely that the project has been canned.
Original estimated delivery: Details in 'Spring 2016'
Dot braille smartwatch
A feel-good story from August 2015, braille wearable Dot demonstrated how wearables could be a force for good. It was initially scheduled to arrive in December, but a year on Dot's no-where to be seen.
The project is alive, according to the company's website, and manufacturing of the apparently 150,000 watches is set to start this October. But there are doubts over its effectiveness. Fast Company launched a stinging critique on the effectiveness of Dot, which can only display four letters a time, which an expert claims makes the watch impossible to use for effective reading.
Original estimated delivery: December 2015
In the top 20 wearable crowdfunding projects of all time, Ritot is looking like another cock-up. The company raised $1.6 million back in July 2014 for its smartwatch that projected the time on the back of your hand. The company also added fitness tracking smarts, to up the usefulness of this smash hit band.
Well, you guessed it, it's not been delivered, and was even called out as a scam by BGR back in August 2014. Want to see what 8,000 angry comments from nearly 9,000 peeved backers looks like? Head over to Ritot's Indiegogo page to find out. The hapless updates are also worth a read.
Original estimated delivery: Never stated
Mota DOI smart ring
Picking holes in the Mota smart ring is so easy it's not even fun. Mota DOI (which now surely stands for Dead on Investment) went live on Indiegogo back in 2014. We actually spotted Mota behind glass at IFA 2015, looking dramatically different to the prototype and suspiciously like it was made out of clay.
The project has now been canned, taking with it 2,178 backers and $160,000 in funding. The best bit? Mota operates a store of various knick-knacks and the company is offering backers store credit rather than cash money. We'll see how that goes.
Original estimated delivery: May 2015
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