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Listen and talk through this nostalgic tin can phone. Harness Can over IP technology to converse via Skype, Google Talk, & cellphones

The Story

A tin can phone that plugs into your computer, cellphone or tablet- and works! Yes, you can actually talk to people with it- we keep calling our friends. Click on one of the options to the right to pre-order a Can- they should ship in July!

Ah, the simpler times: times where the only phone to manage was connected to the end of a piece of twine stretched from your secret tree-fort clubhouse directly to the kitchen to request more snacks.  If only communication was still so simple.  In this age of digital technology, we’ve found the best way to reconnect is with can-over-IP technology through a device we refer to as ‘The Can.’

The Can harkens back to the golden years of simplicity while providing users some modern affordances.  The string gives way to the power of the USB cable, providing endless entertainment for both sides of the conversation.  The Can is particularly effective for video chats with important business clients and other mission critical video conference applications. 

Great for privacy, the Can keeps others from hearing your conversation; you must press the can to your ear in order to hear your friends’ voices.  The microphone won’t pick up a lot of background noise either; you can talk directly into the Can to transmit your voice clearly.  A sustainably harvested tin can and cutting edge electronics mingle to create this timeless work of digital fodder. 

So join the Club of the Can, and enjoy the fruits of this unique form of communication. With the purchase of a Can you automatically become a member of the Can Club.  Membership has a number of advantages, but the first 100 members to purchase 1 or more Cans are automatically invited to our Can launch party at Can Club HQ in San Francisco. 

The Details

The Can comes in a number of different configuration for different applications. 

The Can Club Kid: for the on-the-go user, the Mini Can is a somewhat diminutive can (a runt, if you will) that fits conveniently into your bag or purse. With a standard TRS connector for direct connection to popular cellphones, the Mini Can is perfect for that added spice for important video chats with friends and colleagues via your cellphone. 

The Can Club Community Edition: The bold original, good for a quick chat or a romantic video conference, this Can is the people's Can.  A high speed USB port allows this can to connect with any Mac or PC. A quality speaker and microphone provide the highest quality digital audio ever produced by a can phone. 

The Can Club Commander: Too important to wait around all night by the Can?  The Commander not only connects to Macs or PCs via a convenient USB connection but also provides notification of missed chats.  A subtle glowing notifies Commanders of missed calls, thus keeping you abreast of the fast moving digital world.   

The Can Club Trump Edition: Tin cans really aren't your bag, but palatial places carved from marble and gilded with gold leaf are your thing? Well, we have the Can for you.  The Trump Edition is a matched set of 24k gold plated cans with matching cases, engraved with a message of your choosing.  Impress your CEO friends by phoning them with this Can from your G4 jet high above the ocean on your way to your private island in the South Pacific.  

The Commander and Mini posing for the camera

FAQ

Does it actually work?

Yes! Both cans shown in the video are working prototypes, and the first revision of the controlling USB circuit board is done. So rest assured- the science is done, we just need the sales!

Where do the cans come from?

In short, we really like the taste of canned cream corn.  The cans mostly come from our love of this mid-western ambrosia.

Isn't it annoying to switch between your hand and your mouth? 

No. Don't you want to have any fun? Anyway, you don't have to use it that way- if you turn the Can Community up loud enough, you can hear the person on the other side without switching. Just a useful hint.

Who's the guy in the video and pictures?

Beauford Shackleton is his name.  He's Monkey Wrench Design's shop foreman and chief safety officer.  Born in rural Arkansas, Beaudford says the Can brings back fond memories of his "rearin" every time he uses it. While Beauford generally doesn't approve of having "graven images" made of himself, he's made an exception for this. Beauford loves the Can Mini and claims (without basis) that it extends his cellphone battery and increases his CB's range in the hills. 

Where is this going to be made?

Long before words like outsourcing and offshore CM were a part of the English language, there were cans.  Cans were made in America along with string and were intended to feed and entertain children.  We aim to continue this long lineage of American-made can-based entertainment by manufacturing The Can in San Francisco. 

Why the big funding goal?

In short, making things in the U.S. is expensive, and making things in San Francisco is even more expensive. We want to manufacture locally so that we can control the quality of the Can and easily dial in each component as we design for manufacturing.  That means rather than sending emails, we pay visits to our manufacturers -- if we don’t make it in our own shop! Without the $30k goal we can't pay for the tooling and vendors, nor keep Beauford happy with plenty of Bud while he assembles your Can.  

Why is this a product?

Why is a cold beer better on a hot day?  There are things in this universe that can't be explained with science or reason.  Some things are just what they are and that's it.  The Can Phone is one of these things. For some reason people have been very entertained by the prototype Cans. We hope to make the world a better place by giving other people the joy we experience when conversing through The Can. 

Have any Hollywood celebrities been seen using the can?

Nope.

Does anyone in the press care about this? 

Actually yes. See these articles: 

Wired, CNET, Digital Trends, Everything USB

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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    A limited edition "My other phone is a can" pin-on button. Nice for your bag.

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    The DIY Can Club Kid: With this kit, you'll be able to build your own Can Mini. You'll receive an unopened can of tomato paste along with all the of the necessary electronics for a TRS based can, and a recipe for dinner. Of course you get a button, too. You'll need a can opener, soap, and probably some other stuff.

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    The Can Club Kid (aka The Can Mini): a smaller, sleeker can intended for the mobile user on the go. For direct connection to cellphones via a standard TRS connector. Of course you get a button, too.

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    The DIY Can Club Community Edition: With this kit, you'll be able to build your own full size Can Club Community device. You'll receive an unopened can of creamed corn along with all the of the necessary electronics for a USB based can, and a recipe for dinner. Of course you get a button, too. You'll need a can opener, soap, and probably a big stick to hit your friends with when they try to take the awesome can that you built.

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    The Can Club Community Edition: a USB enabled can handset for use with PC and Macs. Of course you get a button, too.

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    5 backers

    The Can Club Commander: a USB enabled handset for use with PC and Macs. Furthermore, the Commander provides notification of missed Google Talk calls via a glowing LED indicator. Of course you get a button, too.

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    The Can Club BFF Edition: Get TWO of the Can Club Community Edition can phones -- one for you and one for a friend. Each is a USB enabled can handset for use with PC and Macs, and you'll get two buttons. We'll use the honor system to assume you'll gift it to someone.

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    The Can Club Mini Flare: A smaller, sleeker can intended for the mobile user on the go. For direct connection to cellphones via a standard TRS connector. You will also get to customize your can by choosing a neon color to powder coat it. (Hot pink, anyone?) Of course you get a button -- for flare!

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    1 backer

    The Can Club Flare: a Can Community edition USB enabled handset for use with PC and Macs. Furthermore, the Flare provides notification of missed Google Talk calls via a glowing LED indicator. You will also get to customize your can by choosing a neon color to powder coat it. (Hot pink, anyone?) Of course you get a button -- for flare!

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    The I Heart Can Club Edition: Get TWO USB enabled handsets for use with PC and Macs, and two buttons. Furthermore, the I Heart Can provides notification of missed Google Talk calls via a glowing LED indicator. Each I Heart Can is a brilliant red hue, in a durable powder coat to represent your lasting love to whomever you choose to give your I Heart Can to.

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    The Can Club Trump Edition: For the distinguished backer, this package includes a special-edition matched set of 24k gold USB enabled cans in custom cases. You probably don't want the pin-on can button but we'll give it to you anyway. Backers at this level will also have the option to add custom laser engraved messages to the bottom of the can set for posterity. Perfect for your corner office desk; buy today!

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    The Can Club Reunion: Party at your house. We will fly us and your three oldest and closest friends from-anywhere-to-anywhere in the U.S. to come to you, bring you a Can Club Trump Set and bring each of your friends a Can Club Kid or Community, based upon their choosing. (Don't want to clean up a mess? The party could be hosted at a suite in a major hotel for the right donation price...contact us for details.)

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Funding period

- (45 days)