BearTek makes a set of wireless ski gloves that we found to be one of the best winter gadgets of 2014. Now that winter's over in the Northern Hemisphere, though, BearTek gloves are left collecting dust in the closet. The GoGlove offers similar capabilities rolled into all-season gloves and wristbands.
Developed by a pair of US-based cousins, the GoGlove has a more limited feature set than BearTek wireless gloves, but it's a similar idea. The glove uses a Bluetooth 4.0 LE module in its wrist, sensors in each fingertip and a magnet in the thumb to wirelessly control your phone. Each finger offers single and double-tap actions to control the phone's music. You can play, pause, skip forward, and backtrack through music; control volume; and activate Siri.
The GoGlove is designed to work with all music apps, including Pandora, Spotify and iTunes. An activation sensor in the palm ensures that you only control your phone when you want to and don't accidentally change a song, blow up the volume, etc. A replaceable battery provides up to six months of use.
"The idea came from our frustration of dealing with music while skiing," GoGlove's designers explain on Kickstarter. "There's nothing like flying down the mountain with your favorite tunes, but it's such a pain to interact with your device when it's in your pocket."
BearTek offers several different wireless-control gloves, but they're all heavy, expensive winter gloves. That's what separates the GoGlove. It's a thin glove liner that's designed to be worn inside an existing pair of winter gloves or on its own. It's built to work seamlessly from within the outer glove, so there's no reason to remove anything when controlling your music on the move.
Not only does the GoGlove's thin construction make it more versatile than BearTek for winter use, it opens up all-season possibilities. Its creators imagine it finding use in activities like running and mountain biking, as well as skiing.
A runner or biker probably won't want to use full-fingered glove on a hot summer day, no matter how thin that glove is. The wireless control module of the GoGlove liner is removable, and GoGlove designers plan to develop a compatible sweatband that offers the same type of wireless control for hot-weather use. Buyers can use one set of electronic innards for multiple gloves and wristbands.
As of now, the GoGlove doesn't include the additional functions that BearTek offers, such as phone call answering and camera control. However, GoGlove designers plan on releasing an API next year so that app developers can make their apps compatible with the wireless hardware. It imagines athletes controlling things like fitness-tracking apps from the comfort of their fingertips.
GoGlove designers have been developing and testing prototypes and are looking to raise money on Kickstarter to get production underway. The gloves start at a US$69 pledge level on the crowd-funding site and, if all goes according to plan, will start shipping in December. The $129 estimated retail price is well under the $235 price of the cheapest BearTek wireless glove ($95 classic glove + $140 module) and reflects the advantage of offering the technology in a thin, inexpensive liner, as opposed to a heavy winter glove.
GoGlove hit Kickstarter on July 4 and is nearly a third of the way to its $50,000 goal. Beyond that initial goal, the campaign includes two stretch goals. The first would put funds toward development of an iOS/Android app to add a level of customization to the GoGlove hardware. The second would go toward the development of the GoBand sweat band.