In what I suspect will result in a refrain of “I told you so” from multiple parties, the crowdfunding for the Ritot projection watch – a watch that projects the time and other data on your wrist using a low-throw projector – has closed. The project raised $1.4 million on Indiegogo after extensive chatter about nonexistent prototypes and problematic founder information (“It was public knowledge that the founder’s names, locations, and update promises kept changing, yet some shrugged it off.”)
Can this watch actually be made? First we must remember that there is no working prototype, a huge red flag. The bill of materials on the entire project looks far too expensive for the $199 early bird price although we’re not completely privy to the company’s plans. However, it looks like enough potential fools and their money have been parted, at least at this juncture, to make the product a reality. To add to the confusion, the project managers changed their location from the Ukraine to the US, citing image concerns. Indiegogo, for their part, does due diligence on campaigns like these but is not in the position to pull the plug except in cases of absolute fraud.
As we’ve noted before a crowdfunding campaign is a gamble. It’s a gamble for the backers and it’s also a gamble for the creators who, arguably, have far less to lose if a campaign fails. It’s also a gamble for crowdfunding companies: when a big campaign is considered fraudulent, the backers blame Indiegogo and Kickstarter for doing exactly what they’re supposed to do. It’s like a gambler blaming the house for losing.
However, campaigns like this one are no good for anyone. While I could imagine someone with more resources making a timepiece like this a group of designers from the Ukraine may have issues completing the project. I suppose only time will tell. Whether or not this product is another gust of hot air is anyone’s guess, but not many are optimistic: