A Letter to our Backers
To our valued backers, customers and partners:
After 16 months of delay, we got it done.
Yes we are late. Yes it was a challenging process, but we are here and could not be more excited to be at the tail end of this crazy endeavour. We have spent the last 2 years building a product and service from scratch in a new industry that was quite literally moving beneath our feet. We could not be more please with the patience and belief all of you have had during this process and we wanted to personally thank you everyone who has pledged toward this campaign almost 2 years ago and believed in the vision.
What We Achieved
We are delivering an industry-first mobile platform that truly takes advantage of all the technology available in today's handsets. Pinch VR continues to be fully integrated hardware and software solution that allows for the creation and distribution of interactive VR content to a global audience.
The product is the most anti-hardware VR platform available today. The reason is simple - how can we get true interactive VR in as many hands as possible, with as little hardware as possible? The answer was always around using existing technology, sensors and cameras to do something they were fundamentally never designed to do.
As of today, Pinch has been featured in dozens of national publications, has been involved several accelerators (CFC Ideaboost, Ryerson DMZ and HackerUnit), won several awards from TieQuest, GreenSky Capital and the Ontario Centres of Excellence. Along with our Indiegogo campaign, we have raised over $300,000 CAD in non-dilutive financing, picked up a few industry executives while attracting several clients and investors in preparation for our Seed Fundraising Round in early 2017.
The result is a truly versatile VR system and platform that showcases the possibilities of bringing 3D positional hand tracking to the masses.
Market Moving Beneath Our Feet
Over the past 2 years we have learned how to not only adapt to the young VR market, but understand the nuances of hardware manufacturing while positioning the business in an ever-changing landscape. We started with a hardware-focused play but realized quickly that the retail model was never something we could ultimately win against titans in the industry.
As a result we have positioned Pinch to focus on the promotional and peer-distributed market that we feel has barely been tapped. With the focus now on helping brands and developers reach global audiences, we feel we are uniquely positioned for success and have pivoted as a result.
What We've Learned from the 'Freezer-oven'
Pinch VR was originally conceived as an integrated part of the smartphone - essentially a feature or attachment to the device. The vision is alive and well today, however the imminent implementation of it did not work well. On one end, there is the appeal of ultra-thin smartphones that fit neatly in pockets, and on the other end the appeal of ultra-cushy and heavily padded is prominent in VR headsets. The combination of the two ultimately didn't result in a very good product. It was both too big to carry, and too uncomfortable to wear for extended periods - thus ultimately cancelling out the appeal of either of the functions it provided - much like producing a freezer and oven together in a single product. Long story short, it was ahead of its time.
We believe that future devices will follow this model, and will ultimately be the norm. However two key and tectonic shifts must happen in the industry for a smartphone case to be a practical and appealing solution.
1. Operating System
Somebody needs to own a seamless back and forth between a smartphone in handheld use and head-worn use. This functionality will allow a seamless back and forth with minimal friction points and bottlenecks in the user experience. The operating system will also allow switching between multiple applications while in VR mode to avoid unnecessary dismounting and annoyances. In the near future, Google Daydream will fulfill this promise.
2. Purpose Built-Smartphone
The only way one can get a product thin enough to fit in the pocket (15mm is the breaking point in terms of thickness) is to have a fully integrated design with the smartphone itself. We started our campaign only supporting iPhones. However, after the overwhelming requests to extended smartphone support - it was apparent a universal design was required to accommodate everyone. The result was something much too thick to be considered 'pocketable' and thus not the ideal product to ship. We feel multinational manufacturers could pull this off and are already seeing interesting modular solutions from Motorola.
The Product We Are Delivering To You
Over the past 8 months, we have pivoted to building a widely distributed VR platform that emphasizes getting interactive VR out to the masses in the thinnest and most efficient form factor possible: the envelope.
1. Thin form factor
By eliminating complex injection-molded components, we moved to live hinges in a die process involving a single sheet of flexible plastic. This not only results in a much thinner overall design, but something that is easy to manufacture and has minimal points of failure. The resulting product is 15mm thin which makes it perfect to store in a carrying case, backpack, or even an envelope. We think this is a much more practical design that you will enjoy and use for extended periods.
2. Easy SDK for Interactivity
We have focused on software and turning up the quality of our hand tracking to deliver on our core value which is easy-access interactivity. From the beginning we had underestimated the effort required to get this core feature working well, in various lighting conditions and on various camera profiles. The ring design was simply not going to cut it, and after dozens of iterations, we arrived with a thin wedge-shaped design that is both comfortable and easy to use. The result is a reliable hand tracking system that enables full 3D positional hand tracking for the masses. Along with providing a collection of gestures, demo apps, and source code, we believe this will be a big deal for developers.
We start shipping! The product is finally ready to be shipped and we cannot be more excited. After months in R&D mode, filing patents, and pivoting business plans- Pinch VR is here. We understand many folks have put their faith and trust in us to deliver the best product possible, and we believe we did. As with all initial releases, we hope to receive feedback from our backers to refine the software and experience. Starting in November and until the end of 2016, we will be fulfilling orders and opening back up to our early adopters. To ensure we have all of your information up to date, please fill out the Update Request form here.
We look forward to fulfilling our promise, and want to thank everybody for joining us for the ride.
And now, to Pinching!
- Pinch VR Team