*As we have received numerous comments/questions regarding similarities between this project and a contest entry by a child last year, we have added a FAQ at the bottom to address these questions and comments.
Please refer to this FAQ for more details regarding this, our statement on the profitability of this project and our goal to contribute. Also keep in mind this product is in the final stage of development and has been in documented development since early 2013, before that contest ever occurred. More details can be found at the bottom of this page.*
Why we are doing this:
After seeing different news reports almost daily over the last few years of children, especially infants and toddlers being left in hot vehicles we knew something needed to be done. So we started to design a product that would help to ensure that infants and toddlers were not accidentally left in the back seat of vehicles because someone forgot they were there.
How It Works
The philosophy behind this product is simple. One end attaches to the car seat, while the other end attaches to you or a purse/bag. As you go to exit your vehicle if you do not remember the little one and release the device, it will gently tug at you until you remember and ultimately will not let get more than a foot away from your vehicle until it is released. Also for most vehicles, you will not be able to close the door until the device is released. From our testing we have found that attempting to however does not damage the vehicle, nor the device, it just prevents the door from properly closing.
There are multiple options for securing it to a car seat base, we are still evaluating which methods work best, but each kit will contain at least three different options. No options will require tools or alterations be made to the seat or base.
For attaching to you, we are also working on several different options. The current option which is proving most promising is a lobster clasp type option. This allows the device to work in multiple ways. It can be clipped to a purse, bra strap, tank-top strap, shirt, necklace, belt loop, or nearly any other article of clothing.
Details About The Product and Project
After trying multiple different approaches from nearly every angle, we found one that is low priced, quick and easy to use, and doesn't require anything more from the consumer than assembly time for the DIY version or just a few seconds to snap together the pre-made version.
This device is made using durable craft bands, which are strengthened using a multi set braiding technique, and different types of clips/attachments to suit your needs and car seat design.
The main part is the actual strap, which is made from flexible, but durable strengthened craft silicone bands. This provides the flexibility needed to not interfere with driving, but the strength to ensure you can't walk away from your vehicle without it reminding you. Through testing and developing many different braiding techniques, we have found one that is extremely durable and much more durable than all others tested that also retains the flexibility and light weight needed for this purpose.
Different planned options for consumers.
1. A DIY Kit: This option includes everything needed, all bands, attachment options, and instructions to make the device. With these if you have an older child, they can even help so it can become a family project, while helping to ensure the safety of a little one.
2. Pre-Made: This option includes one pre-made device with usage instructions and attachment hardware. (Any backers that select a level that includes a Pre-Made device, will also receive the DIY instructions and material list.)
*The DIY Instructions and Material List ($15 Reward and Included with other Rewards) can not be used to make the device due to the custom bands we use. This is a reward level to provide insight to the project and a piece of the project. The instructions also include our thank you to the backers, the story behind the project and our special mentions section.
***We are also working on an additional option, that will sound an audible alarm if the parent attempts to walk too far away from the vehicle with the device still attached. This is planned as a stretch goal and more details can be found below in the Stretch Goal section.
Pictures of Concept, Parts and Progress
*Warning: The bands we use for this are higher strength than most craft bands. Also the specialized braid technique we have developed to use is more difficult and complex than the picture represents. While there are similar techniques available and well known that create a similar appearance, they do not utilize the braiding multiple bands and band sets together technique that we utilize to increase the strength of completed piece. Attempting to create this without the proper instructions and materials can result in bands breaking, snapping or complete device failure, which could lead to injury.*
This is the basic design, we still have more testing to do to finalize a length that will work universally with all vehicles. So far this length has proven to work for all vehicles tested, but we still need to test on some larger SUVs. (The one above is the LE Kickstarter color scheme) It attaches through multiple attachment options to both the car seat (or base) and an occupant of the vehicle. The main attachments are braided into the device and additional attachment options are secured using the existing braided in attachment. We have tested this on most major brand car seats and have found attachment methods and locations that do not alter the seat or base, nor affect the function and can be removed if desired. We have also found 3 viable attachment options that cover all possible attachment needs to the person that do not alter or prohibit their ability to drive or range of motion.
*Note So far this has been tested to work successfully with an individual of up to 280 lbs.
While waiting on the project to get approval from Kickstarter, we received our first sample from our supplier regarding the colors we have selected so far. This includes the Green and Black for our LE Kickstarter option. As this is just the first sample regarding the colors we selected and also not the actual bands we will be using for the final project the actual colors may be lighter, darker or different shades altogether because of different materials used. We are also working with our supplier to look at different color options, however at this time we are happy with the 7 color options and LE color option with one exception. I am hopeful that they can create and add a different shade of green to the standard color options, as right now the only shade of green we have is the LE one.
$5,000 - Additional Color Options Outside of Primary Colors
$7,500 - Create a custom "loom system" for the DIY kit. Currently it is done using fingers, as we have to create, then have molded and produced a custom loom to include one, as most current ones that will work are patented and we have been unable to secure a license to use an existing loom that will work with this project so far.
$10,000 - Create a forth option as mentioned above. This option will introduce a pull pin type of alarm, where if the parent attempts to walk away from the vehicle with the device still attached, the tension will pull the pin from the alarm device and sound an audible alarm as a reminder. Again this requires us to custom create the device, and then have the pieces molded, made and assembled. We already have the circuit design, but would still need the board, components and cases created.
*We will be making a video demonstration during the week to add as well. Also we will be uploading pictures of the attachment options for the car seat (or base) as soon as possible.
Meet Our Helpers
This is Luke, he played a vital role in this project. While we were debating ideas that could work, he started to insist on strings of craft bands and insisted they get big, bigger and bigger. His idea lead us to realize we could create and strengthen a string long enough for this project.
This is Odin - He is the baby from the picture used as the main promo picture for this project.
This is Heather, she is the one who created our original design piece and developed the strengthening method we currently utilize.
This is Levi, he has volunteered his services to assist in our demo video and has volunteered his car seat for testing purposes.
*This design and product is Patent Pending*
Risks and challenges
From our testing so far, there should not be any risks associated with this project. The only challenge we expect to face is packaging for the product. While we have already finalized a package design for the DIY kit, we have not yet finalized or even selected one for the pre-made device.
This project was brought to my attention earlier during a sit down conversation with a supporter.
After researching it, that was in fact a school/contest project (with a monetary prize), and upon looking it up and viewing the details, the only similarity between the two are the fact they are both rope designed. (Which is also the same basic design of a leash...)
That project was made using duct tape and basic office bands with no true attachment points or options, no strength rating, and no safety measures. Not only is it completely different in every other aspect, we are also in the process of having ours strength tested and safety tested to actually be produced.
Ours was started, in its current form, by my 3 year old's love for craft bands quite a while back. This product has been in development since early 2013, undergoing different trial and error runs, redesigns, and material changes, in addition to the wait time to file different protections (patent, trademark, etc.) and license agreements. Prior to the current rendition of this project we also attempted the same idea with para cord, which failed due to the lack of flexibility and give when braided.
We just launched on KS after finalizing a design that was both flexible and durable, contracting several different suppliers to order our high strength components, and acquiring our initial legal paperwork.
We have utilized several different routes before reaching the current prototype, including our original attempt using Para Cord. So timeline wise I'm not sure which would have come first, I'm assuming with how long this has been in development, it would likely be this project.
However with the complete lack of similarity, and method of function, it is also a mute point. While yes looking at the fact they are both rope structured they could appear similar but they are worlds apart from being the same idea, with the exception that they both were designed in an effort to help protect infants and toddlers, which is the most important point here.
Also there are other goals such as adding an audible alarm to the device, which has also been planned from day one and also different options for consumers, such as a DIY kit that can be done with older siblings.
Please remember that when developing a project for the intended goal of use and sales, there is much more detail, testing, paperwork, planning and prep required, especially under the circumstances this product is meant to be used in. This includes strength, heat, and break point testing followed by modification based on results and then repeating it all again.
Yes in the sense that we will profit from knowing that we have helped to keep little ones safe. In a monetary sense, no.
At the current time our estimate retail price is only $0.50 to $1.00 more than our material + operating cost. With the amount we've already privately invested into this project, with that margin, we are not even likely to recoup our original investment much less the project become profitable. Which is fine with us, as it was not designed as a source of income or profit.
This project has never been one meant to be a source of income. With three little boys myself, this project hit close to home, because I couldn't imagine anything happening to them because a caregiver, babysitter or someone forgot them in a vehicle. The goal from day 1 was to create a product that was both durable, would last but still be as low priced as possible so that it was easily available.
Even with the facts and findings shown in the earlier FAQ Topic, we are currently trying to see if it would be feasible to donate a certain percentage (5% to 10%) of every sale to the Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors (this is the contest the young man entered).
However currently that would only be possible if we raised the estimated retail cost for the product or can manage to renegotiate our material costs.
Currently we are aiming at the lowest final retail cost per product so that it will be affordable by everyone. This price of course depends on which option the consumer picks (pre-made vs DIY). However at the current time that estimate price is only $0.50 to $1.00 more than our material + operating cost. I'm currently looking into different suppliers or perhaps trying to negotiate new deals with our current suppliers to make this possible.
I am certainly open to other suggestions. Feel free to use the Contact link to the right of thie page.
$5 + $10 Rewards + 2 Kickstarter LE Premade Product (KS Black & Green) + 2 Complete Random Color DIY Kit (Includes Instructions and All Materials) + Special Thank You Inside Instructions and Recognition on Future Packaging
$5 + $10 Rewards + 5 Kickstarter LE Premade Product (KS Black & Green) + 5 Complete Random Color DIY Kit (Includes Instructions and All Materials) + Special Thank You Inside Instructions and Recognition on Future Packaging