Making the Nomiku Wi-Fi Connected Sous-Vide
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The Sous-Vide method of cooking involves slow cooking food in air-tight bags in steam or a water bath. It's been used in restaurants forever, but not so much in homes. The Nomiku Wi-Fi Sous-Vide is changing that, though. We asked creator Lisa Q. Fetterman to talk about the process of making and developing the cooking product.
To prepare for our first Kickstarter, we moved ourselves to China for three months and spent our life savings to create a fully functional prototype. This time around, just two years later, everything about our new campaign is different and it’s because the Maker Movement has changed hardware from the bottom up.
As we moved forward to rapidly prototype in Shenzhen the first time, we would spend upwards of $5,000 on functional prototypes. Designing for manufacturing doesn’t take place on the computer, something Kickstarter knows very well because they don’t allow you to launch a hardware project on renderings alone. It takes iteration after iteration of prototyping, and we went through dozens. Waiting on those models would cost us more than just the money for the physical pieces, sometimes we’d receive a part way after we’d made a change. The system was not flexible. Today with the advancement of 3D print houses right in Oakland, we can make fully functional prototypes for $600 each and the parts get back to us quickly.
We consider our experience in China as essential to bringing manufacturing back to the Bay Area. After our first Kickstarter campaign, we lived next to our factory in Guangzhou for a year. It was very intense but before long we started to regard it as normal. It was the fastest way to skill ourselves on how to make our device on a mass scale. Our biggest takeaway was we needed to make our device simpler to put together. Nomiku 1 had over 100 pieces and over six moving parts, today’s WiFi-Nomiku has eight pieces and two moving parts—it doesn’t take an engineer to understand the amazing implications of that.