We've all been there...
(Streamcheese messages overlaid on static image. The police wouldn't let us into traffic to take the video.)
Stream Cheese lets you celebrate life's moments
Let the world know that your team won the regional championships, you love your cats, or your child just made honor roll... for the fourth year in a row! Stream Cheese is a battery-powered scrolling LED sign that lets you tell the world why there's a smile on your face.
Maybe you're a shop owner and want to let people know how much you appreciate their business. Or, if you're an avid cyclist, you know the dangers of riding on a busy road. Stream Cheese helps express your appreciation or stay safe with its daytime visible brightness setting.
(Remember - the irregularities in the scrolling text in the video above are due to the inability of the video camera to sync with the refresh rate of the Stream Cheese. The actual scrolling text looks perfect!)
With up to 20 customizable messages and an IR remote to help pick the right message, there are so many uses. Take Stream Cheese with you in the car or stick it in a shop window with the included suction cup mount.
The complete list of Stream Cheese features:
- Bright enough to see in daylight
- Long battery life (or power it from your USB charger)
- Up to 20 customizable messages
- Easily customizable from most devices that can access webpages
- English, Spanish, French, and Italian language support
- Four different scrolling modes
- Four different power savings modes
- Two different scrolling speeds
- Two levels of brightness
- Rear activity light to indicate when remote control commands are received
- Select messages from in front or behind with the included IR remote
- Camera mount compatibility with included suction cup camera mount
Dimensions: 6.4" x 1.4" x 2.8" (16.3cm x 3.6cm x 7.1cm)
Weight: 6.0 oz. (171g) without batteries, 8.6 oz. (243g) with batteries
Batteries: 3 AA for Stream Cheese (not included) and 1 Coin Cell (CR2032) for the IR remote (included)
Like many creative innovations, this idea popped into our heads while having a drink - just two friends talking over a beer. Actually, the seeds of the idea were planted on our way to the bar. Atlanta traffic is challenging. This day was no different—except for the mind-numbing number of people tailgating and driving with their high beams on. We wanted to tell them, "Hey, you're [insert whatever transgression here]!" Pulling out our phones, we searched for LED signs. Great: there's a whole bunch of them. One even has two suction cups to stick it on the car window. Ordered one, right then and there.
We were so excited when the package arrived! Our excitement quickly turned to disappointment. It took almost 10 minutes to program the first message. The sign was sooo dim you couldn’t read it during the day. The power cord was awkward to install. Completely underwhelmed.
For the next week, we looked around some more and found that most of these signs were programmed through the remote control. Only some of them (the expensive ones) addressed being visible outside in daylight. None of them had a battery-powered option. That’s when we decided to build Stream Cheese.
But, Stream Cheese is not just about mouthing off to the car behind you. What inspires us, are the people who share really great stuff with the world, like: "my child made honor roll!", or "I just ran a marathon!". Stream Cheese is your electronic bumper sticker, showing your support for your local sports teams, telling people to get a Labrador, and promoting PEACE.
There are safety reasons to use Stream Cheese, too. If you’re a cyclist, you can hang it on the back of your bike to be more visible on the road. Take Stream Cheese out of its enclosure and wear it on your running vest. There are so many uses for Stream Cheese, we can’t think of them all!
Why Stream Cheese Is Better
To build a better LED sign, we knew Stream Cheese needed to do three things:
1) Be bright enough to see during the day
Once we’d conquered the high-brightness daylight setting, we added a lower-brightness setting for indoor or night-time use.
2) Be battery-powered
To pull this off, we had to be power conscious. So we added four power-saving modes: sleep after 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 30 minutes, or after scrolling the message twice. In these modes, the batteries will last up to 6 months.
There’s also the option to keep the device on all the time. In this continuous mode, the three alkaline AA batteries will last up to eight hours in high-brightness mode and up to twenty-four hours in low-brightness mode. And for people looking to run Stream Cheese longer, we added a micro USB port to plug into a USB charging block or mobile power bank.
3) Be EASILY customizable
This last one was a good challenge for us. We knew we needed a keyboard and a screen. And we didn’t want to have to force software updates on you for the next 10 years for lots of different platforms. That’s when we realized headphone jacks are everywhere....and web browsers are advanced enough to play audio. Putting the two together, we came up with a system that uses the audio jack to customize messages via a web page.
How long can a message be? Stream Cheese gives you the freedom to accommodate up to 2,000 characters divided into as many as 10 messages. If that doesn’t sound like enough, we added a second section that allows 2,000 more characters divided up into a different set of 10 messages.
We also included two scrolling speeds for those longer messages and added different scrolling modes to display text upside down; scrolling left, right, or backwards; or in reverse (like the hood of an ambulance). The standard threaded hole on top of the enclosure will accommodate a standard 1/4-20 camera mount screw, giving you a wide range of installation options.
Above is Stream Cheese scrolling in "Mirror Mode" so when you mount it in the front windshield, cars ahead of you will be able to read your message in their rear-view mirror.
Here’s where we are today: we have working printed circuit boards and a design for the enclosure, which we’ve prototyped on a 3D printer. We’ve also tested a few CNC milled enclosures, which are closer to the actual plastic injection-molded enclosures. The software is feature complete and being tested. Now we need your help to start the manufacturing process.
Every pledge we receive in this Kickstarter campaign will be used towards manufacturing Stream Cheese. Our largest expenses are the plastic injection mold, bulk orders for all the components, and setting up our first assembly run. With your support, we plan to have Stream Cheese market-ready by July 2016.
We’ll continue to post our progress throughout the campaign. We hope you’re as excited as we are and will help us complete our journey!
P.S. If you plan to use Stream Cheese in your vehicle, please check local laws regarding third-party modifications to your vehicle.
Risks and challenges
We have worked very hard to minimize the risks involved with Stream Cheese.
We have working prototypes and are currently testing and debugging the software. Things are going pretty well. At this point, we don't think there are any feature related risks.
We have multiple sources for most of the components. We also have multiple sources for manufacturing and assembly.
The main risk to this project is being able to build Stream Cheese at an affordable price in a reasonable time frame. Component prices fluctuate and lead time for some of the components are measured in multiple months. As of today, we are optimistic about meeting our stated dates.
We will continue to post our progress throughout the campaign.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)