A huge danger for any pitcher is the possibility of being hit with a line drive. Although the chance is low, the possible consequences are dangerous enough that considerations must be made when it comes to protection. The Deftown Baseball Cap by inventor Dennis Kuhnel is filling that gap. It’s slimmer and more effective than current protections, traits the inventor hopes will earn him MLB and NOSCAE certifications. Baseball enthusiasts will love the extra protection without the extra weight. For $35, interested backers get a cap, with the inventor hoping to garner support enough to raise $45,000 by October 20, 2014.
The Premise. Over the last 100 years, the baseball cap has become an icon. From its humble origins on the diamond to its current place in almost every facet of popular culture, its countless iterations have proven its staying power. Unlike most other classics that eventually adapt to a new era, there aren’t very many examples of a hi-tech baseball cap.
The Product. Live Lids is swinging for a home run with its modern take on the classic cap. Its version flaunts an embedded 2.8 inch LCD screen on the front panel. Although the screen can display any image, the company is banking on the wide variety of athletes and team logos available thanks to deals struck with the MLB, the NBA, and the NFL. These images can be downloaded online from Live Lids’ own Web site for a reasonable 69 cents each and synced to the cap the using CapSync software. The hat holds up to 100 images which can be displayed one at a time or as a slideshow for up to 11 hours on a full charge.
The underside of the brim looks more like the sides of an MP3 player, including a microUSB port for transferring and charging duties sit opposite controls to turn the product on or off, move to the next image, toggle hat modes, or explore files.
The Pitch. Live Lids’ campaign page is chock full of information, high quality photos modeling some of the many cap combinations, and a few videos. Understandably, the videos are all about the fashion appeal and show off the product’s LCD screen in all its slideshow glory. Live Lids is seeking an influx of $50,000 from the Kickstarter community to begin mass production.
The Perks. $75 nabs you a Live Lids cap while $99 gets you one with personalized stitching, which is at most $44 cheaper than the listed price on Live Lids’ Web site. Bigger pledges offer you the opportunity to buy up to 10 Live Lids caps with a discount.
The Potential. Live Lids injects some modern flair into a sports staple, but perhaps not quite modern enough. Bluetooth support would allow updating the hat on the fly, which could be a great way to honor an athlete who just made a great play — that is, if you can see it. LCDs are notoriously tough to see in the kind of sunshine that ideally accompanies a baseball game. On the other hand, it could be distracting at indoor sports such as baseball and basketball.
While it’s great that Live Lids is seeking officially licensed logos and other graphics, community-generated content could also be fun to display. The product embodies some good ideas, but needs better connectivity and display technology.