Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Secrets Behind Cicret

by Kendall Field-Pellow

Fake news… We’ve all heard about this in some form or another in recent months. Although, things which have particularly piqued my interest but haven’t been talked about are ‘technological breakthroughs’ that propagate social media. What I mean by this is not things like the invention of the latest iPhone or Apple Watch or the highest speed Intel Core processor, I mean unusual things which currently are unheard of and solve a particular solution. I am talking about videos and articles posted on social media platforms by pages such as ‘Business Insider - Tech’ and ‘Wired’ which show intriguing devices or concepts. These ideas often solve a particular problem or apparently will ‘help people greatly’ in some way or another in the future.

If you know the type I mean, you may be familiar with titles such as:

     Super-hydrophobic coatings” – which demonstrates materials coated in the newly developed substance are almost impossible to soil since all moisture containing messy substances are repelled, the action of this in the video is quite mesmerising. See video:

     Futuristic Floating 'UFO' Home” – which explains a new type of floating yacht-house hybrid with a UFO design is completely ‘off-grid’ and 100% sustainable -  I think this is an interesting concept which may prove vital in the future due to the rising sea levels…

      “Scientists have created the darkest material ever seen” – although by definition Vantablack reflects so little light (0.035%) that you simply cannot actually ‘see’ any colour.

These articles and videos which circulate Facebook and YouTube intrigue people like me because they allow us to keep up to date with the level of technology being currently developed and they provide expectations of what our lives may involve in the future. What is most enticing about such posts are that the feature of the post is often currently in the stages of being tested or is just a hypothesised idea for the future - and it is clear to determine which products are on the horizon and which are perhaps just a nice concept.

This is why it was very surprising to me that when I decided to research about a new type of watch, I found out rather quickly that something fishy was at play…

Now I introduce to you ‘The Cicret Bracelet’ *round of applause*

The Cicret Bracelet is a new type of wearable technology that projects your phone screen onto your forearm and allows any surface to be used as a touch screen (as well as involving lots of other features). Does this sound too good to be true? Unfortunately, It is.

The advertised Cicret Bracelet is currently only in the development phase and the first two prototypes are extremely far off the originally proposed concept. This may sounds surprising since the company did not at all show in their initial promotional video any disclaimers to say they hadn’t actually made the product yet.

What is also suspicious is that they originally aimed to raise fund via the reputable crowdfunding platform ‘’ but did not raise sufficient funds due to lack of progress to reach their goals in a timely fashion and so I presume donations were refunded to the donors accordingly, due to the platforms regulations. Now, however, they are financed entirely by the public donations and private investors’ payments made directly via PayPal to their account. These ‘investments’, I must add, are non-refundable, so perhaps think carefully if you are considering in showing financial interest anytime soon.

The promotional video shows a slim watch-like device which projects a questionably high quality phone screen display onto a Caucasian person’s arm, in broad daylight. The projected image shifts around on the person's arm, almost as if it may have been digitally added to the video and uses (poor) tracking to look as if it has actually been projected onto the arm from the bracelet. Also, the projected image is of much higher quality than the actual video itself, which again would make one think that it has been added into the video rather than projected onto the arm. The fact that the projected image has colours which are darker than the skin is rather unbelievable since using a very basic understanding of physics, one can deduce that by projecting light onto a surface, the surface cannot appear darker -  that’s like switching on a torch to make a room darker!

Criticism of the video aside, I would also like to discuss the actual technology being used for such a small and high-tech device. The company has said “We didn’t invent anything. We just had the smart idea to put together technologies that already exist”. This also seems rather peculiar since they have clearly said that they are using a HD laser Pico projector. Pico projectors are a very small and recent technological development; and so it seems incredible that the company has the ability to source an appropriate tiny pico projector that has the correct size and image quality to use in the bracelet. The fact that the image can apparently be seen on any skin tones under any lighting seems hard to believe since currently high quality images can only be projected by large projectors (not miniscule watch-sized ones) and the image fades at the further end from the projector and external conditions greatly affect the image hue and quality. In order to fit the image onto the wrist, whilst being projected at a low angle, it would mean that the closer pixels would be clear but the pixels further away would be more sparse and dim, especially if an LED is used as the light source.

In short, the originally proposed idea incorporates not-currently developed futuristic components and somehow compresses these components to fit into an unrealistically slim bracelet. Plus, if this were actually possible, I would estimate it would exceed the $300 price limit that was promised by Cicret.

To summarize, this is not just an angry rant about the flaws in a new product currently in development. I am fully supportive of companies trying to explore random and creative ideas, after how could I call myself a scientist if I disagreed with that philosophy. I am, however, rather opposed at the apparent deception and lack of honesty the Cicret Bracelet developers have shown to the Public – their main investors! Check twice before you believe what you see...

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