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May 29, 2016 1:45 PM ET

Archived: O6 – Free Your Eyes: Control apps without looking at or touching your phone. Turns the stuff you love to read in apps into radio stations.

iCrowdNewswire - May 29, 2016

O6 – Free Your Eyes


Control apps without looking at or touching your phone. Turns the stuff you love to read in apps into radio stations.





About this project

Let’s face it. Most of us are glued to our phones. And there are times when you need to use your eyes for something else – like driving, exercising or even walking. 

O6 is an entirely new way to stay connected to your phone without looking at or touching the screen. O6 connects seamlessly via Bluetooth to any iPhone or iPad, allowing users to browse, operate and toggle between virtually any app at the touch of a finger and completely eyes free. Use touch, voice, and gestures to control any app and listen and respond to messages (texts, emails), news, social posts, and more at your own pace and in real-time. Using O6 is as simple as listening to the radio. Consider this the most personal radio station that you have ever listened to.


ABC 7 News: Video demonstration of O6 combating distracted driving.

Slashgear: “O6’s magic comes in two parts. The hardware is deceptive in its simplicity and size… The other half, the software, is just as important”

The O6 story

O6 was created to address the risks associated with distracted driving and commuting, as well as the accessibility challenges of the visually impaired. O6 represents an entirely new paradigm of device input and control, combining both hardware and software to power a far more accurate and responsive experience than voice-command based interfaces.

By backing O6, you will receive not only one of the first O6s to be shipped at a steep discount from retail price, but also become a collaborator of this project.  

Your O6, your way

Stay safe and productive while driving or commuting

If you’re someone who commutes to work (either by car, train, motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard, or walking), O6 is the smartest way to remain connected and productive while on the go. Your eyes stay focused on the task at hand while the O6 lets you see with your hands.

To make responding even easier, O6 offers context-sensitive actions. O6 automatically analyzes the content and context of your messages then presents you with your most likely response options – allowing you to communicate with just the touch of a button.

 project video thumbnail

While exercising

Have you tried to run with your phone? You’re in a good groove and you want to switch songs, get a call or you hear the familiar ping of an email. Instantly, your speed and gait has changed. You’re fumbling for your phone and trying to run while looking down at your phone. With O6, you stay in the zone with no interruptions.

Failing vision or blind

Fingertips Labs’ mission is to make smart phones accessible to everyone in every context, including the visually impaired and blind. O6 provides the visually impaired a very simple interface to start using mobile applications, and an intuitive and powerful interface to access mobile applications during mobility in conjunction with a cane or blind dog.



In this video, we captured the candid reactions of first use of O6 by experts, including Matt King, who works on an Artificial Intelligence-powered tool for Facebook, and also Facebook’s first blind engineer, trying out O6 with his Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps. Please note that these users used Advanced mode with a significantly higher speech rate.

Iconic design

O6 features a beautiful all-metal, tactile, rotary bezel dial, textured touchpad buttons, motion-sensors, and artificial intelligence to bring up the most relevant, contextual information, and actions. The moment you hold the O6 in your hand, you’ll notice the quality and care that has gone into making this product. It balances stunning design with intuitive function to allow complete non-visual and even one-handed control.

O6’s rotary command dial is a feat of engineering. The hallmark of O6 is its orientation-independent design that lets you operate the rotary-command dial or any button without the need to orient the device. Our patent-pending mechanical architecture enables the rotary dial to double up as a tactile button, supporting single-click, double-click, triple-click and press & hold. The dial features tactile ridges to facilitate single-finger operation. The miniaturized architecture results in an ultra-light design weighing less than 10 gm.

Tangerine Orange, Glacier Blue, and Cool Gray
Tangerine Orange, Glacier Blue, and Cool Gray

The O6 eyes free experience

O6 was built from the ground up by reimagining the design and interaction of all mobile applications for a completely eyes free experience. O6 represents an entirely new paradigm of device input and control, combining both hardware and software to power a far more accurate and responsive experience than voice command-based programs.

How is O6 different from Voice Command interfaces such as Apple Siri, Google Now, or Amazon Echo? The primary purpose of O6 is not to quickly answer questions or set timers. It is to do the type of complex interaction and browsing that we now do every single day with our phones. On average, iPhone users open their phones 80 times a day. This is not generally to look up specific questions or set a timer. We open our phones to check-in, on email or social media, and interact with those applications. This is the problem that O6 solves. Please read our Blogs below on the problems of voice commands and how O6 is different.

Blog 1: The Dangers of Voice Commands: What Apple Siri, Google Now, and Car Companies are Missing.

Blog 2: Why We Don’t Listen?

Blog 3: Your Smartphone Drains More Than Just its Battery.

O6 goes wherever you go

Your day takes you in hundred directions – you deserve a device that is as versatile as you are. With a selection of easily interchangeable accessories, the O6 product line includes a selection of easily interchangeable accessories that allow it to be mounted on a steering wheel, worn on the wrist or clipped to a pocket or belt. It facilitates single-handed – or even single-fingered – operation so it can be used while mounted in an accessory, lying on a flat surface or simply grasped in the hand.

Accessories include a magnetic steering wheel mount, a suede-brown or white wrist band, a clip mount, as well as an extra charger with reusable double-sided adhesive for mounting on the wall or refrigerator.

Steering wheel magnetic mount
Steering wheel magnetic mount
O6 with Clip for Pocket, Belt, or Strap
O6 with Clip for Pocket, Belt, or Strap


O6 with White Band
O6 with White Band


O6 with Suede-Brown Band
O6 with Suede-Brown Band


Charger mount with anti-skid base or re-usable double-sided adhesive for wall mount
Charger mount with anti-skid base or re-usable double-sided adhesive for wall mount

Features and Demonstrations

Basic and advanced app remote control

Remotely control all Touchscreen apps with optional speech feedback. O6 works with your phone right out of the box, supporting millions of iOS apps on both iPhones and iPads.

O6 remote controller with O6 browser app 

Download our O6 app from the App Store and you’ll get a truly different experience. The O6 app represents your favorite apps as channels, like email and Twitter. The individual emails or tweets are the tracks. Use precise tactile control to listen to email, twitter, podcasts, news, and more. Over time, we will add new content feeds/channels, such as Facebook, Slack, Yelp, Reddit, Medium, Pocket, Instapaper, Documents, WordPress, Tumblr, Facebook, Evernote, LinkedIn, or any of your other favorite websites and apps.

Please note that the demonstrations above use Standard Voices, which are optimized for car audio systems and Bluetooth speakers. We will soon support Cloud Voices, which will sound great on earbuds and phone speakers. Please check out the “Standard Voices and Cloud Voices” section below to learn about the differences.

O6 context-sensitive actions

Analyzes the content and context to present the most intended actions and presents them at a tap of a button. Respond to messages, get navigation directions, call phone numbers, yelp food, play links, and more without even taking your phone out of your pocket or purse.

Media controller controls music, videos, and movies

Tactile remote control of popular media apps, such as Spotify, Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, podcasts, Apple Music, and more.

Gesture control for apps

Gestures (with optional speech feedback) to remotely control any app.

Smart Response for incoming notifications

O6 automatically switches to Smart Response mode during an incoming notification. Use the Center Button to respond “Yes” or any other button to respond “No” to that notification.

Standard voices and cloud voices

The standard voices are optimized to sound great with car audio systems and Bluetooth speakers, while cloud voices will sound great for earbuds and phone speakers.

 Haptic (Vibration) watch

Yes, O6 also tells time — via haptic (tactile) feedback. O6 communicates via one long haptic buzz to indicate the number 5 and one short buzz to indicate the number one. Similar to Morse Code, the combination of short and long buzzes will specify the hour and minute of the day. Simply press the center button to reveal the hour, the action button for indication of the first digit of the minute (the numeral in the tens place), and the bezel dial button for the second digit of the minute (the numeral in the ones place). This simple system enables our blind users to conveniently tell the time in a very unique way.

Haptic Watch
Haptic Watch

Home automation controller 


Connect O6 to your home devices and unleash the power of your Internet of Things. O6 already controls your favorite smart phone and tablet, music and media apps, and we are integrating new features to control your favorite home automation devices. 

Use O6 at home to remotely control not only your favorite music apps, such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora, but also media, such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video, and Photos. O6 supports a remote control mode where you can remotely control any app. O6 also enables you to control your favorite home automation devices.

Always fresh

Wirelessly update O6 with the latest software using your O6 app.


O6 provides an open-API platform to send and receive data and commands to its sensors and actuators. Open Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) APIs along with reference iOS code will be provided to integrate O6 directly with your apps or devices such as VR Headsets, Home automation controls, Toys, Car, among others. O6’s open-APIs are only visible (exposed) to those devices that first pair with O6. O6’s APIs are not visible during standard advertising.

O6’s APIs are exposed as custom BLE services such as Tactile State Service, Accelerometer Service, Haptic service and more, each with an unique Service and Characteristic UUIDs. The haptic motor can play a series of up to 8 distinct waveforms or time delays accessible through APIs to play complex and rich haptic effects in real time. O6 supports a library of 123 Haptic efforts, and complex haptic effects can be easily generated by combining waverforms that can be triggered in real-time. Documentation for developers will be provided during shipment of O6.

Device tech specs

  • Supports over 30 international languages 
  • Size: 40 mm diameter and 11 mm thickness 
  • Weight: Under 10 gm 
  • Battery: Rechargeable battery with charge lifespan of 7-10 days 
  • Compatibility: Works with iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch, version iOS6+ 
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE Smart
  • Remotely Activate Voice commands 
  • Anodized bead-blasted Aluminum 
  • Haptic (vibration) motor that can play over 200 dynamically selectable haptic effects 
  • Ultra low-power, high performance three axes linear accelerometer 
  • Neodymium magnets with 6kg Holding Force 
  • Splash and water resistant, but not waterproof; can be used in light rain but not recommended to submerge in water 
  • Compatible with any headphones, earbuds, Bluetooth headsets, Bluetooth speakers, and car audio systems Accessories & colors to suit personal styles

Prototypes and timeline

We have spent over 2 years building our prototypes, and now are ready to take the next step to mass-manufacture O6 and bring them to you. We have working prototypes and a manufacturing partner lined up to help us make O6. Our target is to ship O6 by February 2017.

O6 early prototypes and current unit
O6 early prototypes and current unit

July – August: Complete Design for Manufacturing. Build 100 pre-production units using partly-production processes. Verify engineering design and assembly of units.

August – Oct: Place order for first production run. Tooling. Build 200 beta units using production processes. Testing for regulatory compliance, features and reliability.

Nov – Jan: Assembly, Yield. Build first batch (~1,000) of production units for shipment.  Check for yield and quality control. Start shipment of units to backers.

We will also be adding exciting new software features to O6, including cloud-based hi-fidelity text-to-speech narration and hyperlink resolution. Backers will be able to vote and choose the priority of adding new content feeds as channels, such as Slack, Yelp, Reddit, Medium, Pocket, Instapaper, Documents, WordPress, Tumblr, Facebook, Evernote, LinkedIn, or any of your other favorite websites and apps. And if your content includes hyperlinks, the app will automatically fetch and extract the content to audio or convert it to speech for a seamless experience.The possibilities are endless so we will focus on the most important features and on delivering O6 on time.


From left to right: Alex Woolf, P.K. Mishra, and Ben Park
From left to right: Alex Woolf, P.K. Mishra, and Ben Park

During the past two years, O6 has had the great fortune of being supported by many individuals and teams who have selflessly contributed to this product and cause. Thank you to everyone that donated their time, ideas and resources to help us make O6 a reality. Our core team is as follows:

Ben Park, Ph.D., Co-founder and CTO, received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Prior to Fingertips Lab, Ben was the CTO and co-founder of a medical device startup called Fluid Medical, which was acquired. In Fluid Medical, Ben Park was instrumental in the creation and development of intravascular ultrasound devices. He brings his expertise in micro-size electromechanical design and manufacturing, and business development to the creation of O6.

P.K. Mishra, Co-founder and CEO, received his MBA from University of Michigan and M.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to Fingertips Lab, P.K. Mishra worked in car companies in the U.S. and Europe for over 10 years in various roles including R&D and Product Development. His focus is on EE, Firmware, Machine Learning, as well as Marketing.

Alex Woolf, Co-founder, received his Masters in Information from the University of Michigan. Prior to Fingertips Lab, Alex worked in leading roles in startups such as Speakeasy, Klamr, Couchsurfing, and also founded his own firm called Kite Hill Studio, which launched the transit commuting app Commutist. Alex brings his expertise in mobile app software development and software design into O6.



Risks and challenges

As you can see from the timeline above, we have been working on O6 for the past several years, drawing on our experience with hardware and software. All of the money we raise from our Kickstarter campaign will be used to produce and manufacture the device. What this means is that we will not use your funds until we are ready to start manufacturing real O6s.

Our goal is to ship our first production units by February 2017.

However, we want to be realistic in setting expectations. Making a physical product is hard work. The O6 design is breaking new ground with a unique combination of micro-sized electro-mechanical components coupled with compact electronics, presenting some unique manufacturing challenges. However, we are well placed to overcome these challenges and the O6 team is driven to create and deliver the best device possible. We will keep you apprised of updates and significant milestones as they happen. Thank you for your support!

Contact Information:

Team O6 by Fingertips Lab

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