Agloves makes touch screens winter friendly
Last Updated: 15:46 March 28, 2012
BOULDER - As an intern with the Wall Street Journal in Washington, D.C., Jean Spencer often missed phone calls in the winter because she couldn't get her gloves off fast enough to tap her touch screen.
(Photo by Michael Myers) Jennifer Spencer, right, and her daughter, Jean Spencer, co-founded Agloves. The Boulder-based company’s silver-lined gloves allow people to activate touch-screen displays while keeping their hands warm."My mom and I thought it was bizarre that there are all these touch-screen devices that can't be used in the winter," she said.
What came next was the decision to resolve the problem and start a business.
There are currently two categories of touch-screen displays in the cellphone industry: capacitive screens and resistive screens. Capacitive screens rely on the electrical properties of the human body to detect when and where on a display a user is touching. Very light touches are all that's required.
Resistive touch screens rely on pressure to activate them.
Most modern touch screens are capacitive, according to Spencer, Agloves co-founder and director of communications.
To determine the type of touch screen you have, cover your fingers with heavy fabric (like thick gloves) and touch the screen of your phone or multimedia device. If the touch screen doesn't respond, you probably have a capacitive touch screen.
In searching for a way to combine warm hands with fingers that could still activate touch screens, Spencer and her mother, Jennifer Spencer, co-founder and chief executive, set out to create gloves that didn't get in the way.
"Silver is the most-conductive material on the periodic table," Jean said. After experimenting with numerous prototypes, the pair came up with the right combination of silver-coated nylon fibers knitted into a snug glove.
The gloves get their name from the periodic table where Ag is the symbol for silver - the key reason why Agloves keep the connection strong between gloved fingers and touch screens.
Jean and Jennifer launched Agloves Sept. 29, 2010, when the company's website went live. They received funding in December 2009 from Hindsight Investment Co. "Our initial startup costs covered inventory and overhead and were over $500,000," Jean said. "The biggest cost is for the silver."
Agloves are available online at www.agloves.com. "We know it's risky to just do online sales, but we're working right now to just establish our brand," Jean said.
The gloves come in one style and three sizes and sell in the U.S. for $17.99 with a flat shipping rate of $3 regardless of the quantity. Agloves are manufactured in the Midwest and stored and shipped from The Intrepid Group in Fort Collins.