The basis of a smartwatch is well established at this point; the conventional format of a traditional watch, but with an LCD screen replacing the watch face to enhance the possibilities of what the device can display. Most of the variation in how this screen works comes down to whether it’s colour or black and white, or what sort of input the wearer uses to interact with their device. However, a new device is currently making waves for its unique method of display—the Ritot is being pitched as the world’s first projection watch.
From you first glance at the Ritot in action, it’s clear why so many people are excited about the prospect of the device. This is something straight out of the near-future sci-fi of films like Minority Report and I, Robot. Rather than a simple screen that displays information to it’s user, the bracelet-like device projects the time directly onto the back of your hand, an incredibly appealing effect that goes beyond any sort of gimmick and really gives the watch a completely unique look.
The thinking behind the Ritot is an understanding of the constantly evolving way that we tell the time. Tracing the history of timepieces back to early sundials, the designers of the device decided that smartwatches that simply ape wristwatches but include an LCD screen was not quite enough of a leap forward as you might expect for the level of technology that people carry around on their person today. Instead, they wanted to create something that had a strongly realised sense of modernity, as well as functionality. This is technology not just enhancing what your wristwatch can do, but also changing the way it looks—it’s fashion, executed through the use of technology.
That idea is something of a foreign concept to many wearable devices, as smartwatches have a reputation of being designed with functionality first, and sometimes missing the mark in terms of aesthetics. The focus of the Ritot is certainly on the formal side of how the watch looks and feels when you use it—but, happily, there’s also been a great deal of time and research spent making sure that the functionality of the watch doesn’t suffer as a result of that focus.
As well as projecting the time out onto the back of your hand, notifications from your phone will also be projected in much the same way. You can set up the Ritot to display different types of notification in different colours, twenty of which can be displayed by the device. For instance, incoming calls might show up in green light, text messages in blue and calendar alerts in red. It might, once again, sound like something of an aesthetic choice, but in practice it’s a very clear way of having immediate, legible access to your alerts. Having said alerts just be text and a small icon in a colour of your choice is about as simple as things get, and at a glance you know immediately what your watch is telling you.
Of course, one of the major benefits of this sort of projection is its part in reducing eye strain. Many of us spend much of our day looking at computer screens, as a result of our jobs, our leisure activities and the prevalence of mobile phones. Most smartwatches simply add another screen for you to look at, but instead the Ritot takes a little bit of the load off with its unique light projection system. It’s no replacement for getting some quality time away from a screen, but it will certainly make a difference if you do find yourself looking at computer screens and the like for much of your day. The fact that it’s without a screen also makes it a much more user-friendly device to people who perhaps aren’t as comfortable using this sort of technology. A conventional smartwatch can be off-putting to some, because there’s the implication that it’s somehow more complicated to use than a normal wristwatch, but that’s far from the case here. A simply shake of your wrist or the touch of a button with project the time out—it really couldn’t be much more intuitive.
All of this is to perhaps overlook just how attractive the physical design of the Ritot is. It’s core projection functionality will likely be what gets people talking, but the construction of the watch is just as pleasant to look at. Taking the form of a very sleek, minimalist bracelet, the gender-neutral design will look great on anyone that wears it. There’s even the option of two different variants depending on the sort of wear that it’ll be getting—Bracelet and Sport. Bracelet is perhaps the more fashionable design of the two, intended for day-to-day wear whether you’re at work through the day or going out on the town in the evening. The Sport model, on the other hand, opts for a design that perfectly complements your training and exercise—it’s a little smaller, and a little lighter, but still looks sharp and delivers the same functionality as the Bracelet design. Either type of Ritot is a very attractive smartwatch, it’s simply a matter of personal preference and what sort of situation you’ll be wearing the device in that will likely help you make your decision.
The Ritot is currently being funded via a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo, and suffice it to say that it’s finding quite a degree of success. There’s already been more than $180,000 USD worth of donations to the campaign, and with 38 days left to go before it closes, it’s safe to say that number will still rise considerably before all is said and done. This is a product that people are already getting very excited about, and it’s not very difficult to see why—it’s something undeniably new, and that counts for a lot in this marketplace. There’s also something to be said for the impressive early bird rates that the company is offering backers of the campaign. For $120 USD, you’ll get one Ritot set, and for just $200 USD you’ll get two. It’s anticipated that the retail model will cost at least $160 USD, so now is the time to get on board if you’re interested in the device. The finished product is anticipated to ship to backers early next year.