After finishing my review of failed crowdfunding campaigns, I found Olive: A Wearable to Manage Stress, an almost completed Indiegogo campaign. I see a number of warning signs there, as judged by the information on the project page:
- They don’t mention what results they achieved so far in detecting stress.
- They didn’t demonstrate that their solution helps to reduce stress.
- They haven’t disclosed what experience they have with mechanical production and doesn’t list any such competence in the team.
- The technical solution is not proven yet — the electronics isn’t yet designed to fit in the (thin) bracelet.
- The plan and time schedule doesn’t go into such detail as to convince the team has a good idea what work lies ahead.
- They don’t discuss what risks they see with the project
I don’t mean to show disrespect for the great progress Olive made so far and I’m not saying the project will fail — but I would not trust a project that doesn’t account for the points above.
In contrast, Embrace is a similar on-going project, also measuring stress but geared towards medical use and epilepsy detection. This is a project with better control over risk; the team has already completed similar products, the effect of the product is already documented and they have a working prototype (albeit without the full functionality).
Speaking in general, Embrace sets itself up to a reasonable task (I’m not comparing with Olive here). Embrace has a conservative design which makes the electronics and battery easy to fit. They have a clearly defined use case which lets them avoid adding lots of peripheral features that would make the project harder. Not to say Embrace is fully proven; some features are speculation and for example an open API is easy to promise but trickier to deliver.