Hi I’m Bill, I work with Zack at BOING! Designs. We wanted to create a flexible stand to hold any smartphone, and wanted it to be fun. We brainstormed many ideas: bears, flamingos, wombats, but honestly, what is more fun than a monkey?
Phone Monkey... that Phunky Monkey™!
The Phone Monkey™ is a flexible Smartphone stand made from high quality silicone and steel. Phone Monkey frees up your hands and holds any Smartphone from the iPhone running iOS, to the Galaxy Note running Android, to the Nokia Lumia running Windows, and everything in between in a viewing position on any flat surface or hanging from a rear-view mirror, door knob or even just a nail. Use the Phone Monkey as a tripod or as a stand for Skype or FaceTime. We have created ABS prototypes to confirm dimensions and have received factory samples to confirm materials and function. Phone Monkey is ready to go to mold and begin production.
Now we need your help... we've created a great product and need some additional resources to make it a reality. Check out the great Backer Rewards on the right and help us reach our goal of a Phone Monkey (or a whole barrel of Phone Monkeys) in every home.
No Batteries Required! But please 1 Banana a day.
It works with every smartphone:
Sure it can hold just about anything, but where will I put it?
Tripod! Skype! FaceTime!
Where will you use your monkey?
Office, kitchen, outside, car, bath...
How was the Phone Monkey born?
My 5 year old son was playing with an old Gumby character and my phone and said “Look Daddy, Gumby is hugging your phone!”
Then Zack Brown (Lead Product Designer) and I started talking about creating a Gumby type character to hold a Smartphone. (Yes, Zack Stretcherz was named after Zack Brown!) That was the first a-ha moment, ‘We could make a fun, flexible way to hold a Smartphone on a desk.” We decided to create an animal shape.
A couple of days later came some more unexpected inspiration: a friend complained that he almost got in an accident trying to use the GPS function on his phone and asked if I had a way to mount it in his car.
We started experimenting and put model "Phone Gumby" to the test. We took him for a rest drive in the car in several locations, on the dash, in cup holders, in the ash tray. Then I hit my head on the rear-view mirror… What if I hang it from the mirror? How can we hang it, an arm, a leg, or a tail? - ooooo a long flexible tail! Now what kind of animal would hang from a mirror with a long flexible tail? A MONKEY! Really, what other choice is there?
Then we started designing the Phone Monkey. Zack (Brown, not Stretcherz) is very talented in CAD. We skipped the napkin stage went directly to CAD drawings. (Zack prefers Rhino for his CAD software)
On the first try Zack came up with something that we thought would work. With the preliminary designs in hand, it was time to create a 3D model to test the design. BOING Designs has a Dimension 768 SST 3D printer. It prints by laying down ABS in layers upon layers to build up a 3D part. It squirts slightly melted ABS out of a nozzle in much the same manner as a cake decorator squeezes frosting out of a tube. As soon as the string of ABS touches the existing material it sticks and cools. Acetone or ABS solvent can be used to smooth the surface and create a better bond between layers.
The first test is to check the over all geometry and the size of the Phone Monkey.
ABS isn't flexible, so to simulate a flexible tail we taped on a thick wire.
We learned several things from the printed prototype:
· The upper body and arms are great. We don’t need any major changes.
· The legs should be longer to allow for a wider variety of phones. To keep the same overall size we need to decrease the length of the lower torso.
· Adding a heel would allow for a more stable stance when the Phone Monkey is holding a phone on a flat surface.
· The tail can be mounted to the hip to remove the bump on the back. (Purely aesthetic)
· The tail needs to be much longer. The current short tail would not be able to hold onto thicker rear-mirrors mounts in many of today’s cars. It also adds additional flexibility (pun unintended) for mounting to a wider variety of objects.
Zack quickly made the changes and we printed a new version of the Phone Monkey.
We tested the tail using another wire.
Here’s a side by side comparison of the Phone Monkey two prototypes.
All the changes worked exactly as intended. The longer tail provided enough reach to wrap around thicker rear-view mirrors. The longer legs will allow mounting to a wider variety of phones and it looks better too!
It was time to send the files to the factory. We specified high quality silicone over-molded on a steel skeleton. To ensure durability, the tail would be welded to the skeleton.
To our amazement, the very first samples came back perfect. Anyone who has experience developing products knows that this is a rare occasion. They were so perfect that I used the first samples for the images of this Kickstarter project. We are ready to give the go ahead to finalize the mold and get ready for production. We just need your help, please check out the rewards to the right.
How will we manufacture and deliver the Phone Monkey?
Several years ago I was fortunate enough to meet Jay Hanson. He has over 25 years of experience manufacturing overseas. Jay has factory contacts for just about every type of material you can imagine. If he doesn't have the capability for a certain project, he’ll find the right factory to produce it. He helped BOING! Designs manufacture our products. www.boingdesigns.com Over the years, Jay and I have created a friendship from a working relationship. We have recently begun to help inventors and companies who need manufacturing assistance bring their ideas to market. (We can help you too! See the bottom reward at the right if you need manufacturing assistance.)
Jay recently returned from a trip to China where he visited several factories including the factory which will produce the Phone Monkey. The factory can produce hundreds of thousands of Phone Monkeys; capacity is not an issue.
BOING! Designs has already contacted several companies for help in distributing the Phone Monkey Kickstarter project. We have settled on two companies, one for international and one for domestic:
For domestic backers we plan to utilize a Beaverton, Oregon based company PrintSync, who has the capability to quickly fulfill mass mailings to the entire country. Last year they processed a friend’s Kickstarter project with over 4000 pieces sent to 2500 unique USA addresses in less than 48 hours. www.printsync.com
For international backers we have experience with DirectLink. They are owned by the Swedish postal service. I've received good feedback from others who have used DirectLink for their Kickstarter projects. The options offered for creating labels by DirectLink is much more efficient than is offered by the USPS. If you've ever tried to do a bulk international shipment with the USPS, you know what I’m saying. Here’s an article about DirectLink. http://www.ecommercebytes.com/cab/abu/y213/m05/abu0334/s02
Both PrintSync and DirectLink can take the spreadsheet created by Kickstarter with backer addresses and automatically create shipping labels.
We feel like we have addressed all issues with manufacturing and distribution, but something can always surprise us.
$35 - 1 Phone Monkey and 1 Phone Monkey branded Stylus pen
$38 - 1 Phone Monkey and 1 Phone Monkey T-Shirt
Get Mohit's version of the Phone Monkey T-Shirt. I'm not sure how the double sided print will work, but I'm sure we'll figure something out.
$40 - 1 Phone Monkey and 1 Phone Monkey laser engraved Helios magnetic levitating pen
Risks and challenges
We have the design completed. We're just waiting to give the go ahead to finalize the molds and go into production. There are always issues that come up when products are created, manufactured and distributed. But we've done it before and we believe that we've addressed the biggest issues. It appears that the biggest potential delay is if it gets held up in customs while inbound or in shipping to international backers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (41 days)