Update (27 April 2019): We have built our own Robot, check out the video
tl;dr They have not shipped an actual product so far while raising a lot of money and the initial shipping date of March 2017 has been missed many times (8 times). Please wait for them to start shipping or verify their claims about the product from an independent third party before you put in your money as they do not offer refunds.
I am a Table Tennis enthusiast and wanted to buy a robot as it helps me play when I cannot find anyone for playing. I started looking at existing Robots (Butterfly amicus and robopong) but unfortunately, these are not available to buy in India.
I stumbled upon trainerbot googling around it seems to have been covered by major tech publishers and even US table tennis. I booked it in mid-April and since then the release date has been pushed thrice (first July then mid-August and in their latest update on Aug26 it’s been pushed to mid-November).
Here are the timelines
may 17 2016 project launched on kickstarter
may 31 2016 project reached funding goal
June 1 2016 added stretch goal to project ($1,20,000) support 40+ ball
June 14 2016 stretch goal 1 reached
June 15 2016 added stretch goal 2 ($1,60,000) spin location indicator
June 30 2016 stretch goal 2 reached
July 1 2016 Stretch goal 3 added ( $200,000) Trainer bot learning platform
July 10 2016 Stretch goal reached
July 10 2016 stretch goal 4 ($2,40,000) Fantasy Match Point Mode
July 18 2016 stretch goal 4 unlocked
Aug 3 2016 Moved to china.
Mar 2017 — supposed shipping date moved to june /july 2017 or sep 2017, refund stops to users from now
Aug 2017- shipping in sep 2017 with caveat that actual date of delivery will highly depend on the first shot of the plastic from our injection molding supplier
Sep 2017 — shipping moved to Nov 2017 reason mold supplier have accidentally misread our spec sheet and design the mold with the wrong dimension
Nov 2017 — Moved to mid Feb 2018. The reason our supplier still wasn’t able to get the dimension of this part within the tolerance and live up to our high lifetime quality standard we are looking for
Feb 2018 Moved to April 18. The reason our supplier later told us that we won’t be able to inject a significant portion of our plastic as they have other bigger clients needed to use the same machine we used to inject Trainerbot’s parts
April 2018- We have to find new supplier date may be either mid June or mid August
July 2018 — Date moved to mid-August
August 2018 — Moved to mid-November Reason, Due to the structural weakness caused by the cheated mold design, we end up having to discard all these parts
Why did I put the headline as a review?
I have some basic understanding of SEO and these guys have used some clever marketing techniques which hides how consistently they are missing the deadlines (original schedule was March 2017) without shipping a product and they have been able to raise close to a million USD.
At this point, it is not clear where they are at and each of their updates has a similar pattern, where they talk about how hard they have been working and a lot of other stuff about how awesome their product/testing process is and how someone else has messed up and they move the deadline close enough so that the backers keep signing in and the existing users are stuck as they cannot get a refund and are hoping to get their product.
What is the goal?
The onus is on the creators to prove that this is not a fraud (use trusted a third party to verify their claims) and we should be able to inform innocent people to not get scammed until it is proven otherwise.
Take a look at this comment from a user
I’m sorry if I ask too much, but spending almost 500 dollars, for me in a country where 500 dollars is 5 times the minimum wage is a big deal, just to get promises that never come, please I need an answer with a commitment when this will be delivered.
They have raised enough money and some people have put in their hard earned money into this. Also as someone who has put in the money, I would like some reliable third party to verify where they are at.
Every month there are up to 10 new people backing this, what is the accountability of the Founders? Why do they not stop taking in orders until they ship? The deadlines are always close so that incites people that they will have a product in the next couple of months but there seems to be 2 years delay in shipping.
We should be able to bring in awareness so that people understand that this is a high risk and they should wait until someone verifies their claim or these guys start shipping an actual product.