French Company Proposes a Touch-skin Gadget

March 10, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. micro- /ˈmaɪ kroʊ/ (prefix) – very small
Example: The two-inch gadget works with a microchip.

2. prototype / ˈproʊ təˌtaɪp/ (n.) – the first model of an invention
Example: Scientists are building the prototype of the new machine.

3. pledge /plɛdʒ/ (n.) – a promise of monetary support
Example: Several investors gave pledges to the young inventor.

4. skeptical /ˈskɛp tɪ kəl/ (adj.) – doubtful; not fully trusting
ExampleSkeptical customers refuse to buy the product.

5. publicity /pʌˈblɪs ɪ ti/ (n.) – an activity that makes something or someone known to the public
Example: We need a publicity campaign to increase sales.


Read the text below.
A gadget that turns the skin into a tablet or smartphone’s touchscreen is making waves online. In fact, a YouTube video of how it works had four million views in December of last year.

The product, called Cicret [SEE-kret] bracelet, projects the screen of a phone or tablet onto the skin using a micro-projector. It also has a set of sensors that can detect the movement of one’s finger for the touchscreen feature. With the gadget, one can read emails, play games, or watch videos directly on the wrist. It also comes with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity to enable communication.

Cicret’s co-founder Guillaume Pommier [GI-yohm POHM-yeh] says this gadget can revolutionize the way phones and tablets are built. But for now, it is only an idea. The company needs roughly US$ 873,000 to build the prototype. Initially, the company called out to interested investors through the website Indiegogo. The website hosts crowdfunding campaigns in which people with business ideas ask the public to invest in a product or service. As of December 2014, the company received about 3,000 pledges.

Some were skeptical about investing in the product. Without a prototype, the idea cannot be proven to be technologically possible. Some doubt if the screen will work for all skin-types, while some are concerned on how it will react to sweat. There is also no clear indication if the product will ever be available in the market. A blog post from “Finance Twitter” says that if the product is viable, the company would have been bought out by the big players like Apple or Samsung.

After months of campaigning for funds, the company decided to stop gathering pledges from people. In a post from its website, the company expressed appreciation for the public’s response, but decided that it would be better to develop the gadget without too much publicity. The company maintains its interest for partnerships to make the product commercially available.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you be interested to invest in Cicret bracelet? Why or why not?
·         Why do you think the makers of this product decided to go to Indiegogo instead of selling the idea to big companies?

Discussion B

·         If you were asked to come up with a good business idea, what would you suggest?
·         Do you consider yourself business-minded? Please explain your answer further.

March 10, 2015