Alums passion sparks new company and brings joy to children

Alums passion sparks new company and brings joy to children

Ely '06 (Computer Science) Conti '04 (Mechanical Engineering) team to design GoGlove and send two dozen children to the slopes

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Picture of GoGlove ownersThe source of inspiration that created a new company also served as a platform for two UNH graduates to bring joy to underprivileged children.

GoGlove, a founded in part by Michael Conti ‘04 (Mechanical Engineering) and Eric Ely ’06 (Computer Science), donated a percentage of its initial product sales to send more than two dozen children skiing for the day in Lake Tahoe, California.

The effort was coordinated through SkiDuck, a non-profit organization that provides disadvantaged and financially underprivileged youth by teaching and sharing the joys of skiing and snowboarding. The company’s third partner, Ben Harris, joined the children on the slopes in Lake Tahoe

“It always feels good to give back to the community,” said Conti. “We supported SkiDuck because of our love of skiing and our desire to give children the same enjoyable experience.”

The love for skiing led to the creation of GoGlove, which is the first Bluetooth glove with AirTap technology. It allows users to control applications on their devices, including music, camera, and others right from their fingertips.

Ely and Harris were frustrated every time they were skiing and had to take off their gloves and unzip their coats to change the music on their devices.

Children with skis

“The whole time your friends are waiting for you, your hands are freezing, and you risk dropping your phone,” said Conti.

Ely began working on prototypes in 2013, and after multiple versions, GoGlove was brought to market in the winter of 2015. The glove features a Bluetooth control module in its base, sensors in the fingers, and is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. The technology can also be used remotely without the gloves by unplugging the control module.

“As Bluetooth became more universal, cheaper and easier, we finally decided it was worth the shot and we built some prototypes,” said Ely. “We loved it, showed it to others who also loved it, and everything has snowballed since.”

Though the project began as a way to solve a problem on the mountain, Conti said many of its customers use it while running, riding a bike, or even just walking around the city. 

“They feel safer walking around the city or campus being able to control their music from their fingertips and not having to take their phone out of their pocket or bag,” said Conti.

Conti and Ely originally met at UNH through a fraternity. They united years later on the project when Conti learned of Ely and Harris’ Kickstarter campaign to develop GoGlove.

“Mike kept calling me and telling us everything we were doing wrong,” joked Ely. “He gave some great advice and we had the need for a mechanical engineer. It has worked out really well.”

Conti created the electronics packaging in the glove that doubles as a remote control to compliment the electronic circuit board (PCBA) software, and iOS and Android applications developed by Ely.

Both of them credited their experiences at UNH as playing a central role to their success.

“I felt that UNH did a great job in preparing me for my engineering career,” said Conti, who worked in the aerospace industry after graduating. “When Eric asked me to develop an injected molded electronics case, I felt confident I could do it because my education gave me the skill set to do so.”

Ely also credited student employment experience at the Interoperability Lab (IOL).

“The IOL gave me a great perspective on how to be an entrepreneur,” said Ely. “My time there was all about figuring out how to extend the offerings of the group I worked in, so it gave me that entrepreneurial attitude.”

The two are focused on growing sales of GoGlove and use it as a springboard for other products in their Bluetooth technology company. They recently created Bluz - a Bluetooth low energy (LE) module for the makerspace community so they can create their own Bluetooth projects. 

“We have received several phone calls from companies that are looking to integrate Bluetooth into their products,” said Conti.

Departments: 
Computer Science
Mechanical Engineering