ARMi Assistive Technology Arm project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound
$1,478 pledged of $32,500 goal
backers
By STEVE OKEEFE
$1,478 pledged of $32,500 goal
backers

What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

3e81c71edda08aca5b252a80158e456f original

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

About

Staunton Media Lab Unveils
ARMi Assistive Technology Arm

Ideal for Students, Seniors and Video Streamers!

Help put 1,000 helping hands into homes this holiday season!

The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm shown with four devices attached: Action Camera, Microphone, HDcam, and smartphone. Devices not included.
The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm shown with four devices attached: Action Camera, Microphone, HDcam, and smartphone. Devices not included.

On Friday, September 1, the Staunton Media Lab will debut a breakthrough in assistive technology on Kickstarter. The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm puts advanced technology within reach of the disabled.

The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm shown here is a functional prototype. Unfortunately, the parts alone cost almost as much as we ask for the ARMi. We require commitments for at least 500 ARMies before October 1, 2017, or the Kickstarter will not fund and no one will be charged. At 500 units, we know we can refine the ARMi shown here enough to afford assembly.

The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm is assembled by the disabled and any contributions over costs go to a media arts program for the disabled: the Staunton Media Lab. The Kickstarter campaign is limited to 1,000 units so that we can guarantee that the disabled will be involved in the assembly of these ARMies and are paid a living wage for their time.

The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm with one additional arm. Mirror (top), magnifying glass (bottom), smartphone clamp (right), fancy smartphone holder (left) and tablet holder on ARMi's back!
The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm with one additional arm. Mirror (top), magnifying glass (bottom), smartphone clamp (right), fancy smartphone holder (left) and tablet holder on ARMi's back!

What Is It?

The ARMi (short for "Advanced Recreational Media Interface") is a portable, mechanical arm that allows for "hands-free" use of smartphones, tablet computers, remote controls, and other useful devices. The ARMi also holds many useful tools for disabled or mobility-challenged persons, including a mirror, a magnifying glass and a magnetic plate.

Who Loves Using the ARMi?

  • Seniors love the ARMi's convenience, hands-free use, and the magnifying glass.
  • Students love everything about the ARMi -- especially how portable it is, how inexpensive it is, and how many things it can hold.
  • Merchants love the ARMi because it can securely hold a tablet a tablet or smartphone cash register: Just swipe, swivel and sign!
  • Office workers love the ARMi because it clears up the desk, makes things easy to find, and works standing up or sitting down.
  • The disabled love the ARMi because it makes it easier for them to use smartphones, tablets, cameras and remote controls.
  • The power company hates the ARMi because it doesn't have a cord, doesn't plug in, and doesn't use batteries. The ARMi is power-free!
  • Streamers really love the ARMi because it holds the tools they want in one place: the microphone, the camera, the monitor (tablet), and the smartphone. You look and sound fantastic!
  • Karaoke singers love the ARMi because it holds the microphone, the song lyrics (tablet) and the camera or phone so you can record yourself.
  • Broadcasters lust over the ARMi, with its effortless adjustability, and the way it puts everything right in front of you and your guests.
  • Photographers are head over heels for the ARMi's ability to get cameras and smartphones into just the right position.
  • Musicians dig the ARMi because they can have their sheet music on the tablet, record with a microphone, and stream with a camera while doing social medial on their smartphone.
  • Cooks savor the ARMi's ability to display a recipe on a tablet and a cooking video on a smartphone, with a magnifying glass for reading fine-print labels.
  • Crafters and handypersons love the ARMi because they can watch how-to videos and keep up on their social media while they work.
  • Blind persons and people with low vision love the ARMi because it can be used with a smartphone as an inexpensive document reader.
Developed to Help the Blind Read Documents

The ARMi was developed as an inexpensive document reader for the blind. Document readers for the blind can cost several thousand dollars — too expensive for many who need them. However, smartphones that cost less than $100 can read documents to the blind -- if the blind person has help holding the phone. The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm provides those helping hands.

The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm shown with extra-long gooseneck, a fancy smartphone holder and a smartphone. Smartphone not included.
The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm shown with extra-long gooseneck, a fancy smartphone holder and a smartphone. Smartphone not included.

With the ARMi and a smartphone, blind persons can easily position the phone and have books and documents read out loud by the phone.

Staunton Media Lab Audio Director, Coley Evans, co-developer of the ARMi, has been blind since birth. He relies on his ARMi for audio production. Coley's ARMi holds his microphone in the center, a digital recorder in one arm and a smartphone in the other.

Coley Evans, Audio Director of the Staunton Media Lab, who has been blind his since birth, shown reading a book with his ARMi Assistive Technology Arm and a smartphone. Smartphone not incuded.
Coley Evans, Audio Director of the Staunton Media Lab, who has been blind his since birth, shown reading a book with his ARMi Assistive Technology Arm and a smartphone. Smartphone not incuded.

The ARMi comes with three flexible gooseneck arms that mount in any direction. It's a video or audio streamer's dream come true!

How to Get Your Hands on ARMi

The ARMi begins selling on Amazon in January 2018 for only $99. However, during the month of September, the First Generation ARMi is available for only $69 exclusively through Kickstarter. Supplies are limited to 1,000 units.

The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm shown with two smartphones and a tablet computer attached. Phones and tablet not included.
The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm shown with two smartphones and a tablet computer attached. Phones and tablet not included.

With the ARMi, your tech is in touch and your tools stay put! No more hunting for the remote control — it's on the ARMi. So are the phone, the calculator, the car keys, the headphones.

  • The ARMi makes your tech toys easier to find and harder to steal.
  • Merchants love ringing up sales with the ARMi — just swipe, swivel and sign!
  • The ARMi improves posture by allowing people to look up or stand up when using phones or tablets.
  • The ARMi ergonomically adjusts to the level you want.
  • The ARMi can attach to hospital beds, wheel chairs, bedroom furniture and even bathroom furniture.
  • The ARMi needs no batteries and has no power cord.
  • The ARMi is rugged, durable and well suited to a wide variety of locations.
  • The ARMi has a remarkable ability to rotate, tilt, turn, level and adjust.

About the Staunton Media Lab

The ARMi was developed at the Staunton Media Lab (SML), a program for blind, deaf and "uniquely-able" producing audio and video content for a wide variety of customers including voiceovers for radio and TV commercials, and video trailers for authors and musicians.

Steve O'Keefe (left) and Coley Evans (right) at the Staunton Media Lab working on the ARMi Assistive Technology Arm.
Steve O'Keefe (left) and Coley Evans (right) at the Staunton Media Lab working on the ARMi Assistive Technology Arm.

In 2016, Staunton Media Lab was recognized as Business of the Year by Virginia's Department of Blind and Vision Impaired. Steve O'Keefe, the Lab's Executive Director, has worked with blind, deaf, and cognitively-impaired persons for 35 years. O'Keefe taught at Tulane University for over a decade before hurricanes caused him to move to Staunton in 2010.

The Staunton Media Lab began as an afternoon workshop in audio and video editing for the blind and the deaf. In 2016, the project incorporated and moved onto the campus of the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind, making use of a television production studio that had not been used in over a decade.

Details of the Kickstarter Campaign for the ARMi

The ARMi is available exclusively on Kickstarter during the month of September. The campaign runs until midnight on Sunday, October 1. The ARMi retails for $99 but is available during the Kickstarter campaign for only $69 plus shipping. Supplies are limited to 1,000 units and they are expected to sell out quickly.

"We are practically giving them away," says O'Keefe. "The Kickstarter campaign will help us fund design work to streamline the ARMi and bring the cost down enough to sell them for a profit."

The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm comes with three flexible gooseneck arms that mount in any direction. It's a streamer's dream come true!
The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm comes with three flexible gooseneck arms that mount in any direction. It's a streamer's dream come true!

What's Included with the ARMi?

The ARMi shown on Kickstarter is a functional prototype and the ARMi you receive will be identical in functionality but likely not identical in materials used or finishes. The army will hold up to two pounds of tech off its many mighty arms. The current configuration of the ARMi includes:

  • Scissor-legs with ports that allow attaching devices right to the legs of the ARMi as well as attaching the gooseneck arms to the ARMi.
  • Clamp mount base for attaching the ARMi to a flat surface. Note: This clamp will not work well on curved surfaces.
  • Two flexible six-inch gooseneck arms that end in 1/4"- 20 threaded posts for attaching cameras, smartphone holders, tablet holders, and other devices.
  • One extra-long 12-inch flexible gooseneck arm that ends in a 1/4" - 20 threaded post for attaching devices.
  • One tablet holder that securely holds anything from a smartphone to a 10.5-inch tablet. Note: Tablet holder should not be used on side arms of the ARMi.
  • One tablet holder tip that converts the 1/3" microphone mount to a 1/4" mount for your tablet, camera or other gear. Very handy!
  • One fancy smartphone holder with extra-secure anvil clamping mechanism. Two-piece construction allows turning the camera 360 degrees to any angle you want. Great for photography!
  • A second clamp-style smartphone holder because it's nice to have a couple different ways to hold your phone or camera so you can get it into just the right position.
  • A standard microphone holder so you sound great whether you are streaming, recording, dictating, on a conference call, or chatting.
  • A magnifying glass -- incredibly handy for reading the small print on labels and other packaging. People with low vision can put it on the extra-long gooseneck and swing it in front of their smartphone or tablet to zoom in for easier reading.

NOTE: We haven't found a magnifying glass that we like enough to ship with the ARMi. We are developing a variety of add-on tools -- including a two-sided mirror, a magnetic plate, and a cup holder -- that we hope to have available soon. If we are unable to include a magnifying glass with your order, we will provide a replacement add-on of similar value.

Kickstarter ARMies will arrive by Thanksgiving. O'Keefe's goal is to get "1,000 helping hands into homes this holiday season."

 project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

How to Connect With the Staunton Media Lab

For more information about the Staunton Media Lab, email info@stauntonmedialab.com, connect with us on Twitter @StauntonLab, or visit the Staunton Media Lab on the Web, YouTube, SoundCloud, or Amazon.

Risks and challenges

The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm shown here is a functional prototype that we can build using off-the-shelf parts without any custom design or manufacturing. Unfortunately, the parts alone cost almost as much as we ask for the ARMi on Kickstarter.

We require commitments for at least 500 units before October 1, 2017, or the Kickstarter will not fund and no one will be charged. At 500 units, we know we can refine the ARMi shown here to provide improved functionality at a price low enough to afford assembly.

The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm is assembled by the disabled and any contributions over costs go to a media arts program for the disabled: the Staunton Media Lab. The Kickstarter campaign is limited to 1,000 units so that we can guarantee that the disabled will be involved in the assembly of these ARMies and are paid a living wage for their time.

There is a possibility that there will be a disruption in the supply chains used to source parts for the ARMi. The materials are so generic that many alternative sources exist for parts. Disruption is not anticipated. If there is a supply disruption, delivery could be delayed and parts with different materials or finish but similar functionality may be substituted.

There are always unforseen circumstances. Hurricanes forced our program out of New Orleans and into the Shenandoah Valley. Our hearts break for all those recently devastated by catastrophic flooding along the U.S. Gulf Coast. These events are particularly hard on the disabled. We cannot guarantee that a similar tragedy won't impact our ability to deliver ARMies by Thanksgiving 2017. We'll do our best!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Your Name in Braille

    We'll mail you an envelope containing your name in Braille on fine paper. Have you ever felt your name before? Be sure to let us know where to mail it.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Cornelius Pianeer Plays the Karimba

    Produced by Staunton Media Lab, Dr. Cornelius Pianeer is an ambient world music sensation. Get Dr. Pianeer's landmark debut CD, playing a Karimba thumb piano. Great for relaxation and meditation!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Cornelius Pianeer Plays the Kalimba

    Produced by Staunton Media Lab, Dr. Cornelius Pianeer is an ambient world music sensation. On this CD, Dr. Pianeer plays a Kalimba thumb piano, including the backround music in our Kickstarter video!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Framable Your Name in Braille

    A beautiful 4-inch by 6-inch panel card with your name three ways: in embossed Braille dots, in printed Braille dots, and in printed type. Suitable for framing. Frame not included.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Coley Records Your Voicemail Message

    Send us the text for your message and Coley will record it in his best broadcaster voice. Limit 30 seconds. Coley must approve the text of the message (no profanity).

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $69 or more About $69

    ARMi Assistive Technology Arm

    The ARMi Assistive Technology Arm is ideal for students, seniors and streamers! For everything included, see Gallery and About This Project. Supplies limited to 1,000 ARMies. Don't wait.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 5 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    Audio Editing Package

    Send us up to 20 minutes of audio and we'll edit it to a 90-second message.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $129 or more About $129

    2 ARMi Assistive Technology Arms

    Two ARMies shipped to the same location.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $199 or more About $199

    Video Editing Package

    Send us up to 20 minutes of video and we will edit it to a 90-second video. If you do not have video to send us, we will interview you for 20 minutes while you record. No charge for the interview!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)