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A wireless Oxygen Analyzer for SCUBA divers. Use a smartphone to analyze your diving gasses, log the results and share them.
170 backers pledged $25,760 to help bring this project to life.

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$25,760

170

*******************************************************************                                  FUNDED!!! 

We are now accepting orders on our online store

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                $20,000 Stretch Goal Reached  !!!!

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Since we reached the $20,000 mark, we will give a nice Nitroxbuddy Sticker to all the backers :-)

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Overview

Hello Kickstarters ….. Remember us?

Just a short time ago, we brought you bluebuddy, and, thanks to you and divers around the world, bluebuddy is now in production and getting ready for shipping. (By the way, if you missed out the bluebuddy Kickstarter project, you can now order a bluebuddy - or a Tech Buddy - directly on our website.)

We had such a wonderful experience working with the Kickstarter community that we decided to come back and bring our new project to you first.

More and more recreational SCUBA divers use Nitrox in their tanks to either enjoy longer dives, shorter surface intervals, or to have more conservative dives. But diving with a gas with high Oxygen content has its own risks, and it is common practice for a diver to use specialized Oxygen Analyzers to check the Oxygen content of a scuba tank before using it.

Unfortunately, those Analyzers are quite expensive and have very limited features. We think that every diver should have his/her own Personal Oxygen Analyzer. That is why we created Nitroxbuddy!

Product Description

Nitroxbuddy is a wireless Oxygen Analyzer for scuba divers. 

Nitroxbuddy has two main components: the Measuring Unit and the Analyzing Unit. The Measuring Unit consists of our proprietary board that reads an Oxygen Sensor and sends data, via Bluetooth 4.0, to a Smartphone. The Analyzing Unit is the free My Nitroxbuddy App running on your smartphone. 

Nitroxbuddy is designed to operate with any Oxygen Sensor that provides an output signal in the 7-15 mV range. More specifically, the Nitroxbuddy housing is designed to accept any of the following sensors: Analytical Industries Inc. PSR-11-39-MD, Maxtec MAX-305 and MAX-305F, Teledyne R-22S.

Nitroxbuddy has 3 main operating modes: Calibration, Monitor and SmartAnalyzer.

It is common practice to calibrate an analyzer before each use. With Nitroxbuddy this is quite simple (and educative) as the smartphone, in addition to showing the profile of your measurements graphically, will also plot the resulting "reference calibration line" that will be used for subsequent analysis. For improved accuracy, we highly recommend you use the "two-point calibration" feature, choosing 2 gasses with as much different O2 content as possible.

In Monitor Mode, Nitroxbuddy behaves like a basic Nitrox analyzer and dinamically shows the Oxygen value being read by the sensor.

In SmartAnalyzer mode, you can program Nitroxbuddy to perform an analysis on a time limit or using our converging values limit for faster responses.

 Nitroxbuddy operates with a CR2032 3V battery that should last for more than one year and that can be easily replaced by the user.

Product Benefits

Nitroxbuddy's innovative architecture moves the data computation and display from the stand alone analyzer to a smartphone, resulting in a more cost effective and flexible solution when compared to conventional Oxygen analyzers.

Additionally, the ability to digitally log each measurement provides a clear benefit not only to individual divers but also to operators of Nitrox fill stations. The operators can now use Nitroxbuddy to digitally record their Nitrox fills and instantly email the results to their customers.

Supported Devices

Nitroxbuddy uses the new Bluetooth 4.0 low energy technology and therefore it will only connect to devices that support such technology. Fortunately, every day there are more and more devices being introduced to the market that support Bluetooth 4.0 technology. 

iOS: iPhone 4S was the first smartphone supporting BT 4.0 LE (aka BLE). Now Apple has multiple devices which support it: MacBook Air, Mac mini, new iPad (aka iPad 3), new MacBook Pro, new iPod touch and iPhone 5. Additionally, Apple provides well documented BLE libraries for all their supported devices. 

We have already published a BLE App for iOS (the My bluebuddy App) and  It was a logical decision to develop our first Nitroxbuddy  App for the iPhone 4S / iPhone 5. This App will also run on a new iPod touch and on the iPad 3.

Android:  Unfortunately, as of today, there is no official BLE API from Google and it is up to the various manufacturers to provide (or not) software support for BLE. While waiting for Google to fix this, we are working with some libraries provided by semiconductor companies and by manufacturers of smartphones. We plan to leverage the substantial progresses we have made while developing the My bluebuddy App for Android using a Samsung S3 platform  and we expect to have a beta version of an Android App for Nitroxbuddy in July / August timeframe.

Windows: Thanks to the recent introduction of Windows 8 (with its native integration of BLE), it will be much easier to support Nitroxbuddy. We have already developed a BLE driver for Windows 8 (to allow our divePAL program to import logs from bluebuddy). We plan to leverage this development  and we expect to have an App for Windows 8 smartphones / tablets by this summer. 

Project Status 

We started working on this project almost one year ago, we had a proof of concept last summer and we made several demonstrations at DEMA 2012 last November in Las Vegas. After DEMA we moved  forward with the productization phase and we now have several functional prototypes of the circuit board, its related firmware, a beta App for the iPhone 4S,  and a 3D printed prototype of the housing.

We are currently in the process of manufacturing the production version of the PCB so that, once the new boards become available, we can freeze the embedded code and the App

Upon completion of this Kickstarter campaign we will finalize the design of the housing and proceed with the design and manufacturing of the production molds.

The other major activity is related to product certification and we plan  to submit our board to a certified FCC lab to obtain FCC Part 15 certification for USA (and ICES for Canada) and to submit the My Nitroxbuddy App to Apple for review / Approval. Regarding radio certification, Nitroxbuddy board leverages the RF circuit that we have used in our bluebuddy product and that has recently received FCC certification.

We expect the first part of the certification phase to be completed by early July. After that, we will decide for which other countries we will seek certification, based on market demand.

Regarding product support, while Nitroxbuddy is relatively simple to use, we believe that "one video is better than a thousand pictures", so we plan to create a set of online tutorials to show how to properly use the product (a Nitroxbuddy online class), and make it available for free on our Dive Computer Training service.

Manufacturing Plan 

Upon the successful completion of the Kickstarter campaign, we will place production orders for enough kits to accommodate Kickstarter backers. We are also planning to launch a second, and larger, production lot to support our market launch. After that, we will progressively increase manufacturing volumes based on market demand.

We have already identified the factory that will produce the boards for us (the same one that manufactures our bluebuddy boards) and we are in the process of selecting a manufacturer for the molds and the housings. Lastly, we have already secured quotations from the vendors of the Oxygen sensors we plan to use in Nitroxbuddy.

We plan to assemble the units, test them, and manage orders fulfillment at our location in California. 

Once the Kickstarter phase will be completed, customers will be able to purchase Nitroxbuddy directly from our online store or from  our authorized retailers. 

Rewards

$1 Pledge: We like You too!

$5 Pledge: Same as above plus we will mention your name on our website.

$35 Pledge: A Nitroxbuddy T-Shirt in your choice of sex / color / size. See images below.

$99 Pledge: You will get a Nitroxbuddy BASE (saving $20 compared to MRSP of $119) and free shipping in USA (add $15 for shipping outside USA). Plus we will mention you on our website. Nitroxbuddy BASE does NOT include the O2 sensor. If you select this reward, make sure you have one of O2 the sensors mentioned above. We will provide instructions on how to assemble the sensor into the unit and how to perform calibration.

$159 Pledge: You will get a fully assembled and calibrated Nitroxbuddy (saving $40 compared to MRSP of $199) and free shipping in USA (add $15 for shipping outside USA). Plus we will mention you on our website. This option include a brand new O2 sensor installed in the unit. While this option includes calibration, we highly recommend that you perform your own calibrations before each use. 

Risks and challenges

Nitroxbuddy, while innovative, is a simple to understand / simple to use product and we are on track to ship early production units in July. Still, the challenges of designing and manufacturing this kind of product are quite significant, and any minor issue in one of the project components could lead to significant delays.

Here the areas were we see most of the challenges, along with our plans to mitigate the related risks.

Design Challenges:
While the board design is completed there are still a few potential risks related to the design that could force us to modify and / or redesign the board. The most critical area is EMI Compliance: Nitroxbuddy is a wireless product and as such it must meet established regulations. In the design of the Nitroxbuddy board we have used state-of-the-art methodologies, we have leveraged the RF portion of our bluebuddy product (that has already obtained FCC certification) and we plan to test Nitroxbuddy at the same FCC-accredited compliance laboratory we used for bluebuddy. Nevertheless, Radio Frequency design is a "dark-art" (Alberto knows something about this as his previous start-up was a semiconductor company designing Radio Frequency devices) and "surprises" are not uncommon.

Another hardware related risk is the design of the housing for Nitroxbuddy: while we already have a working prototype of a printed 3D model, going from prototypes to production units (stamped parts) could create some unanticipated issues with the housing, and delay the overall program.

In addition to the possible hardware issues, there could also be some software related issues either because of functionality or because of interoperability with smartphones.

Regarding the functionality of the product, our plan is to use the next 2 months to extend beta testing and to collect as much feedback as possible.

Regarding the interoperability with smartphones, we need to differentiate between iOS devices and other operating systems.

For iOS, our solution (Nitroxbuddy + My Nitroxbuddy App) relies heavily on the BLE APIs provided by Apple. If Apple decides to significantly change their BLE APIs (we do NOT expect them to do so, but it is something that we do not control), we will be forced to change our part of the code (both the embedded code and the App code) and this could substantially impact our schedule. Our experience with our previous product (bluebuddy) leads us to believe that we should not expect major issues with Apple approval process and we expect to release the My Nitroxbuddy App for iPhone 4S and 5 by July.

Regarding the support for Android smartphones, while there are multiple Android smartphones in the market that integrate Bluetooth LE components, there is no official "Android API" for Bluetooth low energy. Instead, there are several "BLE Libraries" offered by the various manufacturers. Nevertheless, while we continue monitoring the market very closely, we are currently implementing a BLE App for the Samsung Galaxy S3 and we expect to have the My Nitroxbuddy App for it by August.

Regarding the support for Windows 8 smartphones, most of the new Windows 8 devices are equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 LE technology. Additionally, Microsoft has included specific functions for BLE in its Windows 8 drivers. We expect to have a beta App for Windows 8 by September this year.

Manufacturing Challenges:
While we have already identified the manufacturers for the main parts (PCB and O2 sensors) and have provided them with design documents, there could still be delays in creating production tools for the housing, setting up production lines and production test fixtures. To mitigate those risks, we plan to have weekly reviews with the vendors and address any potential issues as soon as we become aware of them.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1

    LIKE IT ► Maybe you don't need Nitroxbuddy, but still like our project? Let us know and we will like you too :-)

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    SUPPORTER! ► Show your support and help us take this product to the market. You will get our gratitude, project updates and be mentioned on our site.

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    8 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    SHOW YOUR NITROXBUDDY ► Receive one awesome Nitroxbuddy t-shirt in your choice of size and color. You will have our gratitude, and we will also send project updates and mention you on our site. Free shipping in US only

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED ► This is the perfect option if you already have an Oxygen sensor laying around in your gear bag. You will receive a Nitroxbuddy Base (saving $20 from the list price of $119). This option does NOT include the Oxygen sensor. We will also send project updates and mention you on our site. Free shipping in US only. For backers living outside the US, please note that the shipping date will depend on when we will get the product certified for your specific country.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 11 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $169 or more About $169

    LAST CHANCE ► Did you miss out on the first AND the second batches? This is your last opportunity to get a fully assembled Nitroxbuddy that INCLUDES a new Oxygen sensor at a special price (you will save $30 from the list price of $199). Free shipping in US only. Estimated delivery by early September 2013

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 23 backers
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  6. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $159 or more About $159

    NITROXBUDDY READY TO GO ► This option is for a fully assembled Nitroxbuddy that INCLUDES a new Oxygen sensor (and you will save $40 from the list price of $199). Free shipping in US only. For backers living outside the US, please note that the shipping date will depend on when we will get the product certified for your specific country.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 100 backers
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  7. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $164 or more About $164

    SECOND BATCH ► Did you miss out on the first batch? This is your second opportunity to get a fully assembled Nitroxbuddy that INCLUDES a new Oxygen sensor (and you will save $35 from the list price of $199). Free shipping in US only.
    Estimated delivery by early August 2013

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    Reward no longer available 25 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)