OrbMi lets you stay in touch with those that matter to you the most.
Take a look around you. Whether you’re in a coffee shop, at work or even sitting in class, chances are nearly everyone has a smartphone in hand. Instead of actually conversing with their voice, more times than not their excitement, emotion and words are being replaced by an “LOL,” “<3” or some sort of emoji. Sad but true, gone are the days when people would use landlines. As the number of ditched landlines and social IM services continue to rise, so does the number of meaningful messages. Well aware of this change, Florida-based startup Retropreneur Labs has set to reverse this trend by reinventing the age-old answering machine for today’s mobile-centric world.
However, unlike the antiquated answering machine, OrbMi is not for missed calls — it’s for the voice messages people aren’t getting or sending, but should. The personal voice messaging system is designed to provide your closest friends and family a more convenient way to both send and receive comments, so your daily routine isn’t disrupted by unwanted texts and emails, nor will you have to scroll through hundreds of phone contacts. Plus, this should prove to be useful for those living in different time zones or find themselves working opposite schedules.
“At its heart, it’s about better communication at the perfect time, every time. It allows us to share more freely and openly with our loved ones without inconvenience or disruption. With OrbMi, it’s ALWAYS a good time to call,” its co-founders Kelly Dyer and Andrew Ruppar explain. The duo had conceived the idea after challenging themselves to conceptualize a smart gadget that would change how people interact through technology.
Not only does its companion app make voice messaging relevant again, the OrbMi is different from other voice messaging alternatives, as it allows you to control your network of people who you can “Orb” or who can “Orb” you — also known as your “Orbit.”
With an ATmega168 at its core, the hardware device features a single button interface that enables you to play your messages. From the mobile app, just send a color and voice message to anyone in your Orbit. This message is received on the Orb and illuminates a soft color glow to indicate a new message is available. Once the receiver is at their Orb and ready to listen, they simply tap the top and the new memo is emitted through a built-in speaker. Not unlike the answering machines of yesterday, you can skip and repeat through your saved messages as well. What’s more, the Orb works by connecting to your home or office Wi-Fi network and doubles as a multi-port USB charging hub for your smartphones and tablets.
“Mobile devices allow us to communicate efficiently, but not sometimes not effectively. No matter how convenient our mobile lifestyles, we can’t lose our ability to communicate through voice, especially when sending meaningful messages.” Dyer adds.
So whether you’re a grandparent, a spouse, a college student, or a soldier overseas, OrbMi is ideal for anyone — regardless of age, location and technical proficiency. Intrigued? Head over to its official Kickstarter page, where the Retropreneur Labs team is currently seeking $75,000. The app is available for both iOS and Android, with one for the Apple Watch app in the works. The first batch of units is expected to begin shipping in March 2016.