About this project
What is the Bright Eyes Kit?
Bright Eyes is DIY technology kit that encourages people to learn programming because it is so cool. It is a pair of glasses which have 174 LEDs (light emitting diodes) on them for you to program. These LEDs can play back graphics and videos off a micro SD card (video player), or be controlled using any microcontroller platform. Best of all, we’re making them Arduino compatible! So, if you want to add a microphone or an ambient light sensor to make them more responsive – you’ll be able to.
All of the code will be open source and freely available. We are working on easy to navigate and understandable tutorials for programming the glasses in various ways. You can create standalone graphics, animations, or generative visuals. By adding sensors, you can literally have the glasses respond to music, or if you're really keen, you can connect them to your twitter account and share your tweets!
We hope that this kit will inspire more people to learn how to program – and then begin making amazing things with technology.
To date, we've done a lot of iterative design work on these wonderful things. We are releasing a very limited number at Selfridges for the holidays - and at the same time will be releasing our Kickstarter early bird edition glasses. This allowed us to really solve all of the challenges in design and production and make sure they were ready for Kickstarter!
Who is Technology Will Save Us?
We call ourselves the first haberdashery for technology and education. We exist to educate and enable people to be more creative and productive with the technology in our lives. We do this by offering DIY technology kits and hands-on workshops which have very specific learning agenda's. We sell our kits online and in retail stores in the UK and host regular workshops in the UK and abroad.
Please support this project. We are confident this will be something very special. It will be an contemporary accessory - one that can be customised by the owner. We truly believe that we can inspire more people to learn how to program – because the platform is just so damn cool.
We have just approved a minor (MAJOR) change to Bright Eyes: They now include a built in microphone! What does this mean to you? Well it means that if you want to make Bright Eyes respond to sound - like in a club,or while you sing for example, it'll be even easier. You just have to learn how to program it to do so!
Risks and challenges
Similar to many kickstarter projects, we face a few challenges in creating our exciting kit to inspire people to learn how to program. The primary challenges we face in producing the Bright Eyes Kit are:
SUPPORT & DOCUMENTATION
The success of the Bright Eyes Kit relies heavily on anyone / everyone being able to program them. In order to make this possible, we have to create a solid foundation of support which includes: Visual examples, easy to follow tutorials, community forums as well as collections of other useful resources. We have an amazing team of designers, producers, engineers and creative technologists who have been working on Bright Eyes since the start of the project - and are ready to get on with this part of the process.
As you can see from the video and prototypes, Bright Eyes is looking pretty good (we are very proud :-) There are a few final refinements to the packaging and circuit board which are being implemented as we type this. These include finalizing the packaging and information sheets, finalizing colour selection, box silkscreen designs etc.
The good news is that the 'gold master prototypes' of which there are 6 - are working beautifully. We have just completed something called a 'bootloader' that makes updating their programs or video very easy. We are now tweaking the final firmware that ships with the Bright Eyes Kit.
99% of the hardcore technology challenges have been resolved already thanks to our iterative design & testing process over the last 12 months. These included: circuit board design, assembly process, touch pad integration, micro SD card firmware updates, conductive wire selection and battery pack integration. Oh yes, and putting 174 LEDs on the glasses!
We have already invested in a production run of 100 units. This has helped us to work out the kinks of production - which a lot of kickstarter campaigns encounter when taking their products into production.
We have also worked hard to keep our circuit board production and assembly as local as possible - all of it is in the UK - so we can keep on top of quality control and continue to build lasting relationships with local manufacturers.
The next step for us is securing the resources to ramp up production and grow the support resources and community around the Bright Eyes Kit.
We have a solid history of designing and producing great kits and products. We have been trading for just over a year and have 10 DIY technology kits and over 40 products for sale now. But just in case you are concerned that we don't have the technical and production chops, we have the full support of our sister company Hirsch&Mann who has been producing small run products and technology installations for various commercial companies for many years - and with very VERY tight deadlines.
No, the only time the light is blinding is when they're all on with full brightness and you're in a dark environment. Otherwise you can see through them quite well!
If you wanted to make them automatically adjust the overall brightness of the LEDs, you could consider adding a light dependant resistor (LDR) to them. Then with a little programming, Bright Eyes can make the brightness adjustment based on the ambient light reading from the LDR!
We have tested them and are happy with the comfort levels. That being said, they are not the same as standard eye wear products in that they are intentionally unfinished. They are made of circuit board material which we find quite comfortable. However, we invite all our supporters to modify them to their hearts content. If you want to make them more comfortable - there are a few ways you can do this: Add some Sugro for example. Bright Eyes is a DIY kit at its very core.
We understand that they cost a fair amount and that the kit ought to be good to pay this amount for it... Well we think it really is and have worked very hard to keep the cost down to a fair price. If you look a little closer at the product you'll find that all of the electronics, production, assembly and time that has gone into the development actually comes out to quite a lot on its own! This being said we feel we have created a product that is designed beautifully, crafted with care and and encourages an experience which we feel is invaluable. We've also managed to keep all the production and assembly local to England - so we can build lasting relationships with local industry.
All these things contributed to the final price of Bright Eyes.
Yes - each LED can be controlled and dimmed independently of each other.
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