About this project
Thank you so much to everyone who has made this possible. I especially want to thank all of you who chose to increase your pledges following my update about providing this to schools.
IMPORTANT: We will also have a means to accept additional orders for several weeks after the close of the Kickstarter and before we start ordering manufacturing runs. Our ordering page is here
Check out http://issabove.com for more news (although I will still be submitting updates to backers via the Kickstarter page here).
Thank you to ACROBOTIC
A special and huge thank you to my partner Acrobotic in the creation of these exciting new display options for the ISS-Above without whom none of this would be possible. Please do check out their web site http://acrobotic.com
The original version of the ISS-Above was funded through a successful Kickstarter nearly 1 year ago. Since then more than 800 ISS-Above's have been installed worldwide.
At the heart of the ISS-Above is the lovable and successful single board computer called a Raspberry Pi. Over 5 million of these little computers have been sold worldwide.
The ISS-Above functionality has been drastically improved since the first Kickstarter with some truly remarkable new features - including the display of live HD video views of the earth directly from cameras on the International Space Station.
In this new Kickstarter we’re offering the latest version of ISS-Above, the ISS-Above HD+, which responds to a demand for the support of bigger LED displays, and it also includes a brand new, wearable add-on that can be programmed wirelessly to track the ISS on the go! Both of these options stem from the main goal of this project, which is to offer the most flexibility of display options,especially for use in public or school settings.
To develop this set of custom add-ons for ISS-Above, I partnered with a DIY Electronics startup also in Pasadena (Acrobotic), and after 6 months of iteration, we’re ready to offer you a brand new experience for keeping up to date with the ISS!
There are three main reward types in this campaign. Please note that, the choice of reward will vary depending on whether you’ve recently purchased an ISS-Above, own a Raspberry Pi, or are a newcomer to the project (see REWARD OPTIONS section below).
ISS-Above HD+ HAT and LED Strip
This reward is the most inexpensive way to connect a big LED strip to the ISS-Above. Using a little daughterboard that you plug on top of the Raspberry Pi (dubbed HAT for Hardware Attached on Top), you can connect a 1-meter strip of 52 multi-color LEDs (included), which will display different animations based on how close the ISS is from you. The kit contains:
- ISS Above HD+ HAT and mounting hardware
- 1m LED strip with 52x multi-color LEDs
ISS-Above HD+ Wearable
With this reward, you receive a do-it-yourself, e-textiles kit that you can assemble very easily to make a wearable ISS-Above. The kit contains:
- Pulsar BLE sewable board
- 1.8” LED Ring with 8x multi-color LEDs
- 1m conductive thread and needles
- ISS patch (design subject to change)
- 6ft thin microUSB cable
- 5V 2600mAh USB rechargeable battery
Step-by-step instructions will be of course be available detailing the assembly of this nifty little device!
ISS-Above HD+ Wireless Light Strip
This reward allows you to position a strip of 144 multi-color LEDs anywhere within Bluetotth range of your ISS-Above. The kit contains :
- Pulsar BLE sewable board
- 1m LED strip with 144x multi-color LEDs
- 5V 2A Micro-B USB power supply
Within each reward category (as described above) there are three different options based on whether:
- You have previously purchased an ISS-Above (1)
- You own a Raspberry Pi (and want to turn it into an ISS Above) (2)
- Neither of the above two conditions apply to you :) (3)
(3) You can select this option for any Reward Category for purchasing a complete system, which includes a Raspberry Pi and an ISS Above HD+ pre-programmed MicroSD card).
This table contains both the Reward Categories and the Reward Options, as described above, in a compact form:
Custom ISS-Above Case
Those who want to outfit their Raspberry Pi (B+ or 2) with a custom-made enclosure sporting ISS-Above themed engravings, can choose this reward. This beautiful, laser-cut, acrylic enclosure can be directly mounted onto any monitor with VESA mounting holes.
This is a custom build of some very unique hardware items. In order to get the costs down we need to have a minimum number of orders to be successful and to keep the unit costs for the base components down.
In addition, the Kickstarter platform offers a convenient way to handle this pre-order process, and based on my positive experience last year with my first ever campaign, I’m happy to return for the second time.
I've been working on this for a LONG time. Back in June of last year I looked at what it would take to create a wearable ISS-Above, and I started with a wearable Arduino platform from Adafruit called the Flora. Here you can see a recent photo of one of the early mockups.
I could initially program this via USB and load the ISS-Above positioning data, but due to the lack of a Real-Time Clock it wasn’t possible to keep track of the elapsed time. . Next up, I looked for a way to wirelessly program it. I started trying out these modules called XBee, which integrated quite nicely with the Flora. However, the absence of a Real-Time Clock and the overall size after putting it all together where dealbreakers for me.
What I really wanted was something that was small, had a wireless capability, and also a Real-Time clock built in. There just wasn't something out there that had everything I needed.
It was then that I found Cisco Zabala who is the CTO of Acrobotic in Pasadena. I just turned up at one of their community meetups in July/August 2014. We started chatting and it turned out that his prior experience with his own very successful Kickstarter would be a great basis for a custom designed device for ISS-Above. His prior projects involved a device built using an RFduino, a System-On-Chip comprising an Arduino-compatible microcontroller with integrated Bluetooth Low Energy capability. After building a prototype that included a Real-Time Clock,Cisco convinced me that all the components could be integrated into a single, very small board that could be battery-powered.
After trying out a few prototypesI was very happy with the early results. I was then able to integrate the ISS-Above code with the RFduino-powered board (which we dubbed the Pulsar) very easily using a Python-based API.
The end result is the set of rewards we show you today.
I am sure you will fall in love with the new features. My sincere and deepest thanks go to Cisco for bringing such deep technical know-how and making it seem so easy.
Please do send me any questions you have. I will be so happy to hear from you.
Risks and challenges
As this is a return to Kickstarter for the ISS-Above (and also for Acrobotic) the risks are low. We have done this before. This is however a custom designed piece of hardware. Our estimates for delivery is based upon our current assessment of manufacturing lead times. As long as nothing changes to impact that delivery schedule we should be very well set to deliver everything on time as expected.
As I found in my first Kickstarter. The absolute key to being successful is doing what you said you would do by when you said you would do it. This means staying in communication with the backers.
My first Kickstarter everything was delivered on time - and with very high quality. That quality is achieved through a commitment to QA / Testing - to make sure everything is working BEFORE shipping.
I promise we'll bring the highest level of QA / Testing to ensure the Kickstarter rewards are delivered on time and working as expected.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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