Straight From Shenzhen: HAX Spawns Cool Tech Projects

Share this post

A bunch of great hardware projects on Kickstarter right now have one thing in common: they all came out of the startup accelerator HAX. The folks at HAX (formerly Haxlr8r) invite promising teams with working prototypes to come to Shenzhen, China, for four months. Once they arrive, creators work with experts in a variety of fields to shape their designs, products and strategies. It’s like a boot camp for the world’s hardware-heads, in the heart of the most frenzied manufacturing hub on the planet. 

We asked Benjamin Joffe, a general partner at HAX, to talk about the latest batch of creators they’ve helped.

Arduboy, a credit-card-sized hackable game system, by Kevin Bates

We got excited about this one because it's a fun device that can evolve in the hands of all the gaming enthusiasts out there. Kevin truly is a "maker" who is creating a startup because so many people told him they wanted his device. He swims like a fish in the electronics markets of Huaqiangbei and always comes back with some new gadget. He can be a big disturbance of the force in the office because he's always excited!

Kevin answers questions at Maker Faire.
Kevin answers questions at Maker Faire.

Electroloom, the world's first 3D printer for fabrics, from the Electroloom team 

Electroloom is really something special — some backers called it "an Apple I moment for the fashion industry." Its creators perfected a technology called electrospinning that uses liquid polymer, needles and high voltage to project fabric filaments on a 3D mold of any shape. The team is great and we were happy to find them in another accelerator that had shifted to focus on software. They iterated on their prototype a lot faster than they could in Silicon Valley, and they vastly improved their technology. It's also good that they pretty much stopped getting electric shocks from their high-voltage setup.

Electroloomers.
Electroloomers.

Kokoon, smart headphones that you can sleep in, from Tim Antos and team 

We liked Kokoon because it combines design, electronics, brainwave sensors and sleep science to solve real problems. The team had numerous challenges to overcome, including mechanical design for comfort, and industrial design. Audio quality was also a big concern, and we helped them sign a partnership with Onkyo, which was great. The last bit is the sensor technology, which is truly groundbreaking since it does not require skin contact. They have made great progress on this as well and we look forward to a fantastic product.

Lots of Kokoon prototypes.
Lots of Kokoon prototypes.

Linkitz, a code-able smart friendship bracelet for girls, from Lyssa Neel and team

We believe in this team's vision that there aren’t enough cool tech toys for girls, and that this can lower their interest in building things. But it’s tough to make something that girls will like and that also teaches them about tech. Linkitz went through several approaches and form factors. It was a challenge to pick the right connectors for their modular design, and they eventually ditched the audio plug in favor of something more flexible. It's looking good now!

C.H.I.P., the game-changing $9 computer, from Next Thing Co. 

These guys are quite something: they are artists, or rather master craftsmen. Their first project was a hackable camera called OTTO. They wanted to offer it for less than $100, but the chip they were using was just too expensive (they were the first commercial product to use the Raspberry Pi Compute Module). During their Shenzhen stay, they realized that the chip they had dreamed of could be made, and they teamed up with a chip maker who also saw that opportunity. Their $9 computer will enable an explosion of creativity for connected devices. I love their attention to detail — you should hear them talk about the little crank they machined for the OTTO, or the icons they designed for the camera menu screen!

LightUp Faraday, a kit for kids to learn coding and circuits, from LightUp 

With their first Kickstarter project, the LightUp team created a playful approach to science and tech education with a kit that has been used by tens of thousands of kids. It also developed a unique way to visualize the flow of electricity using augmented reality. When you see this for the first time, what comes to your mind is 'Eureka'! Their new Faraday kit is expanding this concept into coding. It’s a project that deserves more attention!

There will be several more HAX projects launching soon, including a cocktail-making robot named Bartesian and a finger-recognition controller for smartwatches called Aria. You can keep track of all the HAX projects over on their Kickstarter page.

Comments
    1. Sean O'Sullivan on

      Thanks for the love, kickstarter! Kickstarter+HAX = awesome opportunity for hardware startups to validate and launch their ideas to the world.

      We're proud to say that every single Kickstarter Hax project has shipped. Not always 100% on time, but they always ship! Thanks to all the kickstarter backers who've funded these teams, over $10m in pre-orders have helped these startups get off the ground.

      [SOSV is the accelerator VC behind HAX. I'm with SOSV.]

    2. Missing avatar

      teguhbejo on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    3. Missing avatar

      teguhbejo on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    4. Missing avatar

      Doa Ibu Tersayang on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

Line icon alert icon Artboard Copy 8 arrow-down icon arrow-down arrow-left icon arrow-left arrow-point-left icon Fill 1 Copy 5 arrow-point-right icon Fill 1 arrow-right icon arrow-right arrow-up-right icon icon--arrow-up-right copy bar-chart icon Artboard Copy 6 bell icon Combined Shape Copy 5 book icon Artboard Copy 3 bookmark icon Fill 1 brand-assets icon Artboard Copy 13 cart icon Artboard Copy 4 chat icon chat check icon Fill 1 Copy 6 circle-back icon Fill 1 Copy 13 circle-forward icon Fill 1 Copy 16 circle-k icon circle-k circle-left icon circle-left circle-right icon circle-right clipboard icon Artboard Copy 12 clock icon Combined Shape close icon close closed-caption icon Fill 1 compass icon Combined Shape Copy 2 conversion icon conversion delta-down icon Fill 1 delta-left icon delta-right icon Fill 1 delta-up icon Fill 1 duplicate icon duplicate embed icon Combined Shape Copy 6 eye icon Combined Shape Copy 12 facebook-contained icon Facebook Contained facebook icon Facebook logo flag icon Fill 1 Copy 3 gear icon Fill 1 Copy 14 global-africa icon Fill 1 Copy 9 global-america icon Fill 1 Copy 10 global-asia icon Fill 1 Copy 17 graph-bar icon Combined Shape Copy 9 graph-line icon Combined Shape Copy 16 heart icon Fill 1 Copy 8 help icon human icon icon--human icon--alarm icon icon--alarm icon--alert icon icon--alert icon--arrow-down icon icon--arrow-down icon--arrow-left icon icon--arrow-left icon--arrow-right icon icon--arrow-right icon--arrow-up-right icon icon--arrow-up-right icon--arrow-up icon icon--arrow-up icon--backer-badge icon icon--backer-badge icon--bell icon icon--bell icon--bolt icon icon--bolt icon--bookmark-outline icon icon--bookmark-outline icon--bookmark icon icon--bookmark icon--calculator icon icon--calculator icon--calendar-check icon icon--calendar-check icon--calendar icon icon--calendar icon--campaign-outline icon icon--campaign-outline icon--check icon icon--check icon--chevron-down icon icon--chevron-down icon--chevron-left icon icon--chevron-left icon--chevron-right icon icon--chevron-right icon--chevron-up icon icon--chevron-up icon--circle-around icon icon--circle-around icon--circle-back icon icon--circle-back icon--circle-forward icon icon--circle-forward icon--circle-loader icon Page 1 icon--circle icon icon--clipboard icon icon--clipboard icon--clock icon icon--clock icon--closed-caption icon icon--closed-caption icon--code icon icon--code icon--collapse icon icon--collapse icon--commissions icon icon--commissions icon--compass icon icon--compass icon--confirmation icon icon--confirmation icon--conversion icon icon-conversion icon--cpu icon icon--curve-right icon icon--curve-right icon--cross icon icon--cross icon--delta-down icon icon--delta-down icon--delta-left icon icon--delta-left icon--delta-right icon icon--delta-right icon--delta-up icon icon--delta-up icon--download icon icon--download icon--ellipsis icon icon--expand icon icon--expand icon--external icon icon--external icon--eye icon icon--eye icon--facebook icon icon--facebook icon--filter icon icon--filter icon--flag icon icon--flag icon--frown-filled icon icon--frown icon icon--gear icon icon--gear icon--globe-africa icon icon--globe-africa icon--globe-america icon icon--globe-america icon--globe-asia icon icon--globe-asia icon--graph-bar icon icon--graph-bar icon--graph-line icon icon--graph-line icon--happy-filled icon icon--happy icon icon--heart-outline icon icon--heart outline icon--heart-thin-outline icon Fill 1 icon--heart icon icon--heart icon--home icon icon--home icon--home-with-door icon icon--human icon icon--human icon--humans icon icon--humans icon--image icon icon--image icon--inbox icon icon--inbox icon--info icon icon--info icon--instagram icon icon/instagram icon--lightbulb icon icon--lightbulb icon--link icon icon--link icon--lock-black-bg icon lock-icon icon--lock icon icon--lock icon--mail icon icon--mail icon--meh-filled icon icon--meh icon icon--menu icon icon--menu icon--message icon icon--message icon--mobile icon icon--mobile icon--overflow icon icon--overflow icon--pause icon icon--pause icon--pencil icon icon--pencil icon--pin icon icon--pin icon--pinterest icon icon--pinterest icon--play icon icon--play icon--plus-human icon icon--plus-human icon--plus icon icon--plus icon--prohibit icon icon--prohibit icon--project-budget icon icon--pull-quote icon icon--pull-quote icon--question-filled icon icon--question-filled icon--question icon icon--question icon--reorder icon icon-reorder icon--reply icon icon--reply icon--save icon icon--save icon--saved icon icon--saved icon--search icon icon--search icon--section-break icon icon--section-break icon--small-k icon icon--sound-hi icon icon--sound-hi icon--sound-lo icon icon--sound-lo icon--sound-mute icon icon--sound-mute icon--star-outline icon Star Outline icon--star icon icon--star icon--subtitles-captions icon icon--subtitles-captions icon--text-bold icon icon--text-bold icon--text-bullet icon icon--text-bullet icon--text-italic icon icon--text-italic icon--textalign-centered icon icon--textalign-centered icon--textalign-right icon icon--textalign-right icon--thumbs-down icon icon--thumbs-down icon--thumbs-up icon icon--thumbs-up icon--thumbsdown-outline icon icon--thumbsdown-outline icon--thumbsup-outline icon icon--thumbsup-outline icon--trash icon icon--trash icon--tumblr icon icon--tumblr icon--twitter icon icon--twitter icon--unlink icon Artboard icon--unlock icon icon--unlock icon--update-freeform-round icon icon--update-freeform-round icon--update-freeform icon icon--update-freeform icon--update-pinned icon Artboard icon--update-qa-round icon icon--update-qa-round icon--update-qa icon icon--update-qa icon--upload icon icon--upload icon--video icon icon--video icon--youtube icon icon--youtube icon-imagealign-center icon icon-imagealign-center icon-imagealign-left icon icon-imagealign-left icon-imagealign-right icon icon-imagealign-right info icon Combined Shape Copy instagram icon instagram copy kickstarter icon Artboard Copy 5 leaf icon leaf lightbulb icon icon--lightbulb link icon Combined Shape Copy 8 loading-spin icon lock icon Combined Shape Copy 4 mail icon Combined Shape map-pin icon Fill 1 menu icon Group message icon Fill 1 Copy 12 mobile icon Page 1 Copy 2 pause icon pause copy pencil icon Combined Shape Copy 3 pin icon Combined Shape Copy 11 pinterest icon pinterest play icon play copy plus-human icon icon--plus-human plus icon Fill 1 Copy 7 question icon Combined Shape Copy 14 search icon Fill 1 Copy 11 shapeshift icon share icon Fill 1 Copy slash icon solid-arrow icon solid-arrow sound-hi icon Combined Shape sound-lo icon Combined Shape sound-mute icon Combined Shape star icon Fill 1 Copy 2 stopwatch icon Group 2 thumbs-up icon Shape tools icon Shape trash icon Combined Shape tumblr icon tumblr copy twitter icon twitter copy user icon Artboard Copy 10 volume-up icon Artboard Copy 9 warning icon Combined Shape Copy 10 write icon Artboard Copy 11 x icon Fill 1 Copy 4 youtube icon Combined Shape