E-ink Bracelet CST-01 Turns Crowdfunding Disaster

We keep you posted on wearable startups and wearable tech that could use some money to make it to the shelves. While Pebble has been proved to be a hit with backers over and again, there are certain devices that despite completing the funding aren’t able to meet the production goals. The latest to fall in the line of disaster is e-ink bracelet dubbed as CST-01 and touted as ‘the world’s thinnest watch.’

E-ink Bracelet CST-01 Turns Crowdfunding Disaster

The trendy 0.80mm e-ink bracelet was said to be the next big thing in the world of wearables but it turned out to be a crowd funding disaster, to say the least. The funda of crowdsourcing has its pros and cons. We all know about the scams prevalent on Indiegogo and Kickstarter. But the story with CST-01 is different as the makers have run into manufacturing troubles. The CST team has informed the backers that they cannot fulfill all preorders and don’t expect that other company would overtake it to complete the production. In worst case, the makers would sell the design rights and sell off the already manufactured parts.

The two engineers working on the development of CST-01 have stated that unless the makers work on the underlying issues, the manufacturing costs will be twice the estimated cost. And because of the spiked costs, the makers have run out of money.  This is also reported by The Verge that one of the engineers slept in the van to save on the hotel costs.  The Kickstarter page states that Flextronics, the top wearable company which reportedly tied up with the start-up,was to rigid tonot understand the concerns and issues usually faced by a start-up.

It is to be noted that CST-01 first appeared on Kickstarter in January 2013 and showed promise. It garnered $1 million, was supposed to be shipped to backers by September in same year for $129. As soon as the fund made it to the mark, the makers ran into the first trouble which was to find a better battery and the need to fix custom battery management circuit. This pushed the release of the smartwatch to December only to be postponed till next year and eventually to never see the light of the day. The makers surrendered to the assembly and mass manufacturing issues that kept popping up including delivering on the USP of keeping the smartwatch as thin as 1mm.

Now, the makers have posted an apology stating that future looks bleak after the vague promises of getting it right in the next round, which never happened. And to imagine that this comes now, after two years of campaign! In May, the engineers stated that they would need at least $1.2 million more, which is twice the amount of original funding. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that CST-01 was once the most successful Kickstarter campaign and could not make it to the backers. We also need to understand that funding doesn’t guarantee the success of a product and ultimately may result in unhappy creators as well as backers.

As the company wraps up the entire process, we are expecting that at least the backers will get their due money back.  We also hope thatteam gets some company to take over the design and parts so that the one hell of the wearable idea could be realized to some extent.

At the same time, we also need to understand that Kickstarter isn’t a store where you could have the guarantee to get your money back or the desired product. Sometimes, you just need to understand that you are investing in an innovative product that might actually be just an idea and nothing more. And some bloopers, we actually feel, should not stop you from backing a wonderful concept that if realized, might be capable to change the future.

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