Mr. Postman - The smart, secure, wi-fi enabled mailbox.
Mr. Postman is the first smart mailbox that brings snail mail and package delivery up to the 21st century.
What is it?
Mr. Postman is a smart mailbox specifically designed for your packages, both tracking them and keeping them safe. Along with additional security such as a keyless locking system and tampering alert, Mr. Postman makes your life smarter by letting you know what packages have arrived.
It’s Wi-Fi enabled, solar powered and is a brand new spin on the ol’ mailbox. Like to know when you get mail? Mr. Postman gives you that! Like to know that your mail is safe and sound? Mr. Postman gives you that too!
Mr. Postman sends updates to the app on your smart phone to let you know when your outgoing mail has been picked up or when new mail has been delivered.
So, let’s say you’re out of town and want a friend or neighbor to grab your mail. Well, you can send them a one-time use virtual key via text or email so that your mail is still safe and sound, but they can get your mail at their convenience. Cool, right?
First Mailbox Specifically Designed for Packages
Because we get a lot of packages and like for them to be nice and protected, we made Mr. Postman 3 1/2" wider than the standard mailbox, so that it can accommodate more packages. So, more of your packages (books, electronics, video games, toys, tools, clothes, jewelry, you name it) will be able to be delivered safely to Mr. Postman rather than just left unsecured at your door!
Mr. Postman measures 9.8" wide x 8.6" tall x 20.4" long.
Also, to give it a nicer look, we gave it a recessed door, which also better protects your goods from the elements.
Mr. Postman comes in a variety of colors as well. Your standard, sophisticated black all the way to silver, pewter and dark bronze. Many attractive options to give your house a nice 'pop' out front.
Everything is controlled via the Mr. Postman app. We like things simple, so the app is simple and easy to use.
What happens if you have multiple houses and you want to secure the mail and packages that you don't pick up that often? Simple, by just adding the mailbox to your profile, you can control all of them from the same account.
Mr. Postman's brain needs to be energy efficient, have wireless capabilities, be cost effective, and easy to integrate to our servers.
After a lot of research, we experimented with several different brains, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and others. However, while reading Engadget and looking at Kickstarter, we found the most amazing and easy to use brain of all, The Spark Core.
Mr. Postman is equipped with multiple sensors connected to the Spark Core, a .6w solar panel and a backup 3.7v battery good enough to keep the core running for days without the solar panel. The Spark Core has a simple configuration system that with some easy steps, lets you connect to your home wireless network.
Any updates in the mailbox such as mail, flag, or door sensor changes, are sent over your home wireless network to our secure cloud server. After that, this information is sent to the Mr. Postman application on your smartphone.
Being "Powered by Spark" allows us to leverage their easy way to connect to end devices through their cloud, easy core code updates, WiFi capabilities and most important, security.
Why we Need Your Help!
After working for a year on the design, coding and hardware selection, we were able to find the best of all the components. The mailbox's design fits all of our needs, and the application is working like a charm.
The iOS application is ready to be launch and will be ready on the Appstore in the next month.
So, why do we need your help?
After we finished our working prototype, we started working with a couple manufacturers, both here in the USA (Georgia) and China, for the different electronic components as well as the assembly and the production of the mailbox itself.
Based on our findings, we are in need of funds to help us:
- Cover the cost of the injection model
- USPS certification
- Ordering components while meeting minimum requirements
- Android App development
- Coffee to keep us awake
We believe that we have a unique product, and so the project plan is unique.
How you can help us
The Prototype Process
We needed to start from somewhere basic, so thats what we did. We adapted a cheap mailbox to a solar panel that had a battery, to all the sensors, and to the brain (at this moment, the Arduino and Raspberry PI). This worked great as proof that the concept would work, but we found a lot of things that we needed to work on and change in order for it to work and look like we wanted it to.
Things that we needed to work on:
- Decide if a middle point was necessary or if connections could be addressed directly between the app and the mailbox
- The application needed to handle multiple connections simultaneously
- The application had to have a better look and feel
- The mailbox needed to be fall within the USPS standards
- We needed to design a unique mailbox :)
- and a ton more…
We started making changes first to the mailbox design, and decided to made it big enough to fit at least two types of box dimensions from USPS. Then, we took care of the app design by hiring an awesome app designer (Yanina Fiorillo) and app coder (Rodrigo Alvez). Finally, we built our very first prototype (with the help of Design Right Engineering) that we used to present at Engadget.
Our final product will be a lot simpler and much better finish, but this was a great start!
Because we wanted more integration, we are adding tracking capabilities to Mr. Postman. So, by adding your package's tracking number and a tag name (ie my iPad), Mr. Postman will let you know what exactly is securely waiting for you when you get home.
We are in the process of adding a really cool functionality. We are working on integrating the app with USPS and Amazon, so you can know what is waiting for you in your amazing Mr. Postman mailbox without having to add in the tracking number...cool right?
How Did we Come up With The Idea?
This invention came thanks to my better half and the best dog ever, Firu. Everyday around 4 p.m. Firu would bark, and at first, we didn’t know why. Soon after though, we realized that he was barking at the mailman. With that, my wife’s excitement to get new mail started. But we don’t always get new mail, and since not everyone has an amazing dog like Mr. Firu, we thought, why not create a mailbox that like him, would let you know when you have mail? And why not add more security than a regular ol’ mailbox?
The Simple Elements Team
Manuel was born and raised in Argentina. He received a BS in Telecommunications Engineering and has been inventing things since he was 10 years old when made a blinker for his dad’s bike out of toy that he disassembled. Manu is the ‘idea man’ and visionary of the company and has several years experience working in technology consulting and project management.
Pablo, Manu’s brother was born and still lives in Argentina. He followed in his brother’s footsteps and also received a BS in Telecommunications Engineering from Blas Pascal. Pablo is the technical minded of the brothers and is the behind the scenes networker, our resident ‘technical handyman’. Pablo brings several years experience in networking and teaching Cisco technologies.
Christy is from South Carolina and received degrees from Clemson University in Marketing and Spanish. With her experience over the last several years, she brings financial, sales, and marketing strategy to the team. In these early days though, she wears many other hats, ranging from PR specialist to design coordinator.
Alicia Guzman, Director of Design, was born and resides in Argentina. She received a BA in Interior Design, but brings decades of architecture, interior and exterior design to the team. Due to this experience, any prototype or project that requires any sort of design, she is tirelessly involved in. She makes our products reflect our vision for the company, simple, secure, and of course attractive!
Mr. Postman in Engadget
The Simple Elements team was invited to NYC to participate in Engadget's Insert Coin new inventors competition. We were a top 10 finalist!
Risks and challenges
There are always challenges in manufacturing and delivering any hardware product at scale. Mass manufacturing isn't the same as prototype development, and getting Mr. Postman built on a large scale will be a new challenge for us. There are lots of components that go into Mr. Postman to make it amazing, but luckily, we already have manufacturers lined up that we know and trust. They and our mentors have decades of experience, so we’re confident that with them guiding us through this new phase, that we will be successful.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (40 days)