***As always: the opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, and may not reflect the opinions of Singularity Hub, its advertisers, or its owners, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by any of the businesses mentioned in this article. In other words: if you wanna grief, grief Aaron. He likes it.***
***Update June 6: In a truly unexpected move, Kickstarter has suspended the Vergence Labs project. All donors have had their pledges returned, and Vergence won’t be getting any of the money. While Kickstarter has yet to comment on the exact reasons behind the suspension, Vergence Labs is staying positive and moving forward with a new crowd-sourcing drive on IndieGogo. There are still 45 days left in the new IndieGogo project, so hopefully Vergence Labs can recoup their losses and then some.***
ZionEyez dropped the ball, Vergence Labs wants to pick it up. Anyone who pledged money to ZionEyez to get a pair of their yet-to-actually-be-delivered video camera glasses, can now recoup their losses by joining the Vergence Labs Kickstarter. A completely unrelated company, Vergence Labs also has a video glasses device they are prepping for launch, and they want the world to know they are the group who can deliver. When you pledge to Vergence to get a pair of their video glasses, they will give you a bonus pair if you also pledged to ZionEyez. In other words: Vergence Labs is covering for ZionEyez’s failure…because they are just that awesome.
If you’re interested, act now, because there is less than 58 hours left in Vergence Labs’ Kickstarter project. Here’s a look at what their video glasses prototype can do, and what the retail model should do:
Last year ZionEyez conquered Kickstarter by raising an impressive $343,000 to create a pair of wearable glasses with an embedded video camera. With an engineering pedigree that included work at Flip, ZionEyez’s leadership promised they could deliver those video glasses by the winter holidays. Well, it’s been nearly a year later and ZionEyez is still discussing how it needs to expand its team and rework its designs. Most of us who pledged money to ZionEyez in hope of owning a pair of camera glasses are now writing off our donations as a complete loss. It’s a sad reality that not every Kickstarter project will be able to honor its commitments.
Unless, of course, another company comes along to augment that reality, and that’s exactly what Vergence Labs has done. Incubating at Stanford’s prestigious StartX program, Vergence Labs is a very small, very dedicated company whose first product just so happens to be a pair of video glasses that share footage through social media. The video glasses from Vergence Labs are aimed at doing everything that the glasses from ZionEyez were supposed to do, but more. Vergence Labs has “electronic shades” on their device, and even have their own dedicated upload site, YouGen.TV, for all the videos you’ll capture with your camera glasses.
Singularity Hub had a chance to speak with Vergence Labs this past weekend during a StartX event, and we mentioned (as I’m sure many others did as well) that Kickstarter probably has a bad case of video-glasses-fatigue due to the disappointment surrounding ZionEyez. Well, just a few hours ago, Vergence Labs updated their Kickstarter project with their new offer to all past ZionEyez donors. If you pledged to ZionEyez, and you now pledge to Vergence Labs to get a pair of their glasses, they will give you a bonus pair. It’s like the new company is making recompense for the failures of the old, but the crazy thing is, these two businesses aren’t related in any way. Vergence Labs is doing this simply because it helps those who want video glasses to get a pair, and because it’s the right thing to do for the community.
That earns my admiration.
But I do have to warn everyone that as much as I love Vergence Labs, there’s still no guarantees on Kickstarter. Despite some appearances to the contrary, it’s legally a donation, not a pre-order. $200 for a pair of video glasses is relatively cheap, especially with a bonus pair thrown in, but it’s not something to do lightly. Vergence Labs does have a working prototype, and they have shared video footage from it, but ZionEyez did that as well.
I can say that I’ve met Vergence Labs, I’ve talked with Vergence Labs, and I think these guys are the real deal. As we mentioned before, video glasses are just the first step in a much bigger vision for these guys. They want to redefine the human-machine paradigm through augmented reality. Erick Miller and Jon Rodriguez are going to make big waves in the tech world – maybe even with this first product.
If you’ve lost money to ZionEyez, but still want a pair of kickass video glasses, check out the Vergence Labs Kickstarter page. Their offer is only going to be good until the project closes, and that’s in less than two and half days, so you better act soon.
Maybe it’s time to double down?
[sources: Vergence Labs via Kickstarter]