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Firefly - the next social phenomenon - connects people with common interests and hobbies through their cell phone Read more

Boston, MA Hardware
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This project's funding goal was not reached on June 4, 2014.

Firefly - the next social phenomenon - connects people with common interests and hobbies through their cell phone

Boston, MA Hardware
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3A Ventures
Project by

3A Ventures

First created  |  2 backed

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About this project

Remember warm summer evenings as a child, seeing flashes of light flutter around you, illuminating the night sky and capturing your attention and imagination? Recapture those magical moments with the Firefly social illuminated band.  Firefly allows you to start conversations and keeps the social atmosphere interesting.

As you walk down a crowded street or eat at a local restaurant, new faces surround you. You can be like that Firefly fluttering magical light as you move about your night. Looking for an icebreaker for the person sitting next to you? Wouldn't it be nice to put a name with a face?  For many people, socializing can sometimes be challenging or awkward, but Firefly is a game changer. With a flutter of light, two individuals are introduced immediately. You now have a visual cue that can help you start a conversation.

Firefly is a sporty and simple wristband that includes two multicolored LED's and a Bluetooth module.  Whether you are at work or play, the Firefly is sending “Flutter” messages to other Fireflies. After linking to Facebook, these Flutters contain information you want to share, but equally you can discover information about others. When set, you can limit your illumination to only those with common interests.

Firefly is also helpful with mobile device notifications. Today seemingly everyone is connected either through Facebook, Twitter, texts, and emails and we have become slaves to our phone.  Checking for new messages consumes our downtime. With Firefly, you can keep that phone in your pocket but still be alerted to predetermined messages.

How Firefly works:

Firefly works by communicating with your smart phone through a Bluetooth BLE 4.0 compliant module. Firefly pairs with your smart phone allowing for setup, configuration and other information to be passed from your phone to Firefly and vice versa. The Firefly Bluetooth module “Flutters” your encoded Facebook ID along with your interests. In addition to fluttering, the Firefly is also scanning for other available Firefly messages. The app connects to Facebook and uses the received Facebook profile to obtain information and display it on your smart phone. When a Firefly user matches a common category or hash-tag/phrase (configured from the Firefly app) the Firefly will illuminate with a universal color pattern. The universal color pattern of flashing red/white/blue will be your visual cue that someone near you has a common interest. 

In addition to lighting up due to common Flutters, the Firefly will also illuminate when your smart phone receives phone notifications.  

Firefly is a wearable band that:

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1) Fireflies communicate by “fluttering” common interests. For example, if you’re out grabbing dinner and a person seated nearby happens to have a matching hash-tag, such as #RedSox, then both of your Fireflies will light up with a universal color pattern. This provides an instant opportunity to start a friendly conversation, "How about those Red Sox?"

Firefly is always receiving “Flutters” from other Fireflies. This means even if you don’t light up, you can still see who’s around you by viewing received “Flutters” under the “Flutter” tab in the Firefly app. You will be provided a link to that person’s Facebook page to see available information.

Additionally, you don’t need to be connected to a mobile device to receive flutters.  If you prefer to be phone free, but still want to know if others around you have a common interest, fear not, Firefly still works. The information is also saved for later viewing on your smart phone.

2) Firefly provides visual (LED) notifications when you receive new texts, emails, phone calls, alerts, etc. This is useful if you’re in a loud area and your cell phone is in your pocket or purse.

3) Firefly has a built in Nightlight feature that allows you to use the Firefly as a light that can be dimmed.  If you are staying at a hotel or place you are not familiar with you can use the Nightlight feature to guide you through the darkness.

4) Firefly will notify you when your cell phone is out of range. This is useful as a reminder that your phone is not with you.

5) “Firefly Alert” is a built in feature to allow the user to post to Facebook or send an email/text of your current location asking for someone to check on you.  With 5 discrete taps of the button, Firefly does its magic.

Firefly Setup:

Setup is easy: Firefly connects to any compatible BLE 4.0 iPhone or Android device through an app available from iTunes and the Google Play Store. The app allows you to pair your devices and set notification preferences. If you intend to use the “Flutter” feature, a Facebook account is required and must be installed on your mobile device. The “Favorite Quotations” field of your Facebook account serves as your Flutter Message Board.  Information or phrases in the favorite quotations field will be displayed on the app as your bio along with your profile picture (if those items are set to "Public").

Step 1: Charge Firefly with the provided USB cable. A red illuminated band indicates the band is charging; no illumination means the band is completely charged (typical charging times: 1-2 hours). Note: If using the Nightlight feature, Firefly will continue to illuminate.

Step 2:Push side button so Firefly illuminates green (you have 30 seconds to make a connection using the app).

Step 3: Open Firefly console on your mobile device and touch the “Connect” icon.

Click connect, app will start scanning.

Click connect, app will start scanning.
Click connect, app will start scanning.

Step 4: Touch the Firefly icon that displays, at which time the green illuminated band turns off. This indicates your phone has detected the band you’re trying to connect.

Click on the Firefly icon to connect.
Click on the Firefly icon to connect.

Step 5: Type in the Connection Key (provided with Firefly) and touch “Pair”.

Type the 6 digit connection Key.
Type the 6 digit connection Key.

Step 6: Firefly is now connected to your mobile device and ready to receive “Flutters” and phone notifications. Battery, Connection Strength, and Temperature indicators will display at the bottom of the app’s main page.

Firefly is now connected to your mobile device
Firefly is now connected to your mobile device

Firefly App: The app will allow you to apply the common interest filter either through the category list or common hash-tag phrases of your choosing.  Additionally, the app will allow you to choose a color, duration, and flashing speed for each social interface:

  • Phone

  • Email

  • Alarm/Event

  • Text/Social Apps

  • Other Apps

Indicators for:

  • Battery

  • Connection Strength

Firefly Hardware:

  • Two tricolor LEDs

  • Bluetooth BLE 4.0 Module

  • Rechargeable Battery

  • Push Button

  • Standard USB Power Connector and Charging Cable

  • Enclosure

  • iBeacon Compatible

Firefly Firmware:

  • iPhone and Android app

  • Facebook Interface

  • Available SDK

  • Phone out of Range Feature

  • Firefly Alert

  • iBeacon Compatible

Development History:

Where we were:

Initial concept drawings and progression of our prototypes.
Initial concept drawings and progression of our prototypes.

 Where we are:

First PCB/electronics and band.
First PCB/electronics and band.
A look inside Firefly
A look inside Firefly
Current Designs
Current Designs

Where we go from here and what we plan to use the funding for:

  • Finalize the enclosure/band (encase in silicone or enhance the current PVC enclosure)

    • Exsplore including vibration motor (hardware already includes connection points and circuitry)

    • Finalize the electronics (changes may be needed based on the enclosure/band design)

  • Finalize iPhone App

  • Initiate development of the Android App

  • Finalize Firefly firmware

  • Firefly Production

Schedule/Production Plan:

June 2014
1) Kickstarter campaign Ends

July 2014:
1) Finalize iPhone App
2) Initiate development of the Android App

August 2014:
1) Finalize the enclosure/band and conduct testing
2) Source suppliers for band

September 2014:
1) Initiat production of the PCB and Band
2) Finalize Firefly Firmware
3) Assemble PCB and band, flash firmware and conduct quality testing

September 2014:
1) Finish SDK
2) Test app for both iPhone and Android and submit to iTunes and Google Play Store for approval

October 2014:
1) Ship orders to US customers
2) Ship orders to international customers

 Firefly SDK:

For developers who are interested, the SDK can be made available.  The SDK will allow any developer access to the required information to interact and configure the Firefly.  Additionally, companies or developers who would like changes to the Firefly Firmware can also make those requests.  The "Flutter" rate and payload can be changed with information from the SDK.  In addition, Firefly will be iBeacon compatible, meaning that the device could also be configured to broadcast iBeacon information.  The SDK will provide the necessary interface information.

Other applications areas include:

  • iBeacon
  • Wireless leash
  • Marketing Campaigns
  • Conventions
  • Parties/Clubs
  • Dating
  • Children's toy
  • Weather Alerting

The SDK makes possibilities endless.

If you find this product exciting and innovative please consider providing us with financial backing. With your support we can make this project a success.  The partners of 3A Ventures are committed to making the best product possible and are eager to hear your feedback.


Stephen, Allen, Jon, and Bill

Risks and challenges

Battery Life:

With any new technology certain obstacles present themselves that must be overcome. This application currently requires more power consumption than other Bluetooth projects. Using power to illuminate LEDs and requesting the Bluetooth module to scan for flutters requires a battery sufficient to support this type of application. The current prototype uses a standard, off-the-shelf battery but it comes at a cost: size! The current design is powered by the best commercial Li-Po battery available and despite its small size, the overall enclosure size is larger than desired. We have a two-phased approach to solving this problem:

1) Work with battery manufactures to reduce the battery size (custom battery if necessary) with a capacity large enough to power the Firefly for a reasonable duration of time.

2) Using test result output, design a firmware that minimizes overall battery consumption by balancing between scanning and fluttering. Also, incorporate a battery save mode that can be selected by the user.

Band: Enclosure vs. Silicone Overmold:

The current band design as seen in the photos use a rigid plasticenclosure with an extruded PVC band. However, we believe that a silicone over-molded design would produce a better finished product. The silicone over-mold would encase the electronics in a single seamless one piece band that can be flexed to slip over your hand. We realize that we are taking a bit of a risk by moving forward with the Kickstarter campaign before we fully investigate the silicone overmold design. There are several challenges with the silicone overmold that may need to be addressed:

1) Keeping the electronics in place/centered while the silicone is poured/injected.

2) Based on the type of silicone used, high temperature and pressure may be required which can cause damage to the electronics.

3) The silicone, although somewhat dense when poured (consistency of maple syrup), can fill gaps in the electronics, specifically the push button causing it not to work properly.

We have already started to research possible ways around these challenges which include:

1) Feasibility of building into a mold a USB connector that can hold the electronics in place while the silicone is Poured

2) Wrap the electronics in a material to minimize the effect of extreme heat and pressure. (Tape, potting epoxy, etc)

3) Explore grades of silicone that do not require elevated heat/pressure to cure.

4) Different button types that may not be impacted by the silicone.

Once funded, we will continue to look at over-mold options and techniques, to produce a refined and sporty band.

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  • You selected
    $1 reward

    4 backers

    If you aren't interested in getting a Firefly but want to contribute to the project, this is a great option. Thank you!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $10 reward

    3 backers

    If you aren't interested in getting a Firefly but want to contribute to the project, this is a great option. Thank you!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $59 reward

    14 backers Limited (1 left of 15)

    EARLY BIRD (Limited to 15) - You'll receive one Firefly and charging cable shipped. The app can be downloaded from iTunes or the Google Play Store for free.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $69 reward

    4 backers

    You'll receive one Firefly and charging cable shipped. The app can be downloaded from iTunes or the Google Play Store for free.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $150 reward

    0 backers

    Kickstarter SDK - You'll receive one Firefly and charging cable shipped as well as the SDK. The app can be downloaded from iTunes or the Google Play Store for free.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)