About this project
Future updates will be on this project page and at www.aaronrasmussen.com/MrGhost
Thank you everyone so much for your support on this project! We achieved the $32k stretch goal so I will be adding a spectrum analyzer to the app.
Have you ever looked at your iPhone and thought, "Wow, this thing is impressive! But I wish it had a detachable EMF detector!" Well, we did! So we made one.
Mr.Ghost is an EMF detector that plugs right into the headphone jack of your iPhone. You use our free app to detect invisible EM radiation from household appliances, your car, whatever's in your closet or under your bed, or anything you want to point it at.
We believe that in the future iPhones will be as powerful as Tricorders, and able to sense, interpret, and record the natural world around us. The EMF detector is a step in that direction, giving us a sense where we didn't used to have one.
The great thing about adding external sensors to iPhone is that you can use the advanced features the phone already has. For example, we paired the detector with the gyros for a new angle-aware EMF detector, this means you can find the direction to the source of the EMF emitter. It's also easy to use. If you can plug headphones into your iPhone without accidentally stabbing yourself, you're qualified to use Mr.Ghost.
Why is it useful?
Because it's fun, and humans can't help but be curious. Learning about an unseen world in your own home is exciting. Also, seeing how much EMF various appliances are leaking is instructive. A lot of different people believe a lot of different things about what EMF does, some people use it for ghost hunting. You're welcome to research it.
Did you see the episode of the American The Office where Dwight freaks out over EMF? It's a good one.
What is EM radiation? Why do you keep saying EMF?!
EM radiation stands for "electromagnetic radiation" is a wave-like form of energy like microwaves, visible light, and x-rays. EMF stands for "electromagnetic field" and is the near field part of EM radiation. Any time you have electrons moving through wire (like in the power supply of your appliances), it generates an electromagnetic field. Mr.Ghost detects this field.
Is it safe for my phone?
Yes, absolutely. That was our primary concern in constructing it, and we consulted with electrical engineers from the beginning to guarantee it. It's very similar to just speaking in your mic, except that we're using EMF to do the talking.
Which models of iPhone/iPad does it work with?
The software is fully compatible with the iPhone4, 4s, and 5 as well as iPad2, iPad3, and iPad4 and iPod touch 4th and 5th gens. I need someone to double check this to verify, but we've tested an iPad mini and we can't get it to recognize an external mic at all (including apple-supplied headsets). So that's a no on iPad mini.
The levels and glowing modes work with 3gs, iPad1, and iPod touch 3rd gen, however the sensitivity is slightly lower and you are unable to email recorded files off those devices.
But what about Android?
Here's the story with Android. I've only tried it on an Android HTC EVO 4G LTE, and it activated fine. One particularly helpful backer named Tom Barringer (who is not involved in Frequensee or Mr.Ghost, just being helpful) recommended I use the software Frequensee to see the spectrum, and it was definitely getting data. That being said, I will not be supporting Android in the near future. It's quite an undertaking to rewrite the software on a new device. It may not activate on your particular model of Android, and I won't be testing any other models. That being said, you're welcome to get it, but it's an at-your-own-risk-it-may-not-work-at-all sort of thing.
Here is the Frequensee output from the Android at baseline:
And here it is next to my dimmer switch that puts out about twice the radiation of my alarm clock.
What's your manufacturing plan?
I am very familiar with product manufacturing domestically and overseas after having released 13 different products while co-owning Harcos Laboratories. We have a two phase plan for manufacturing. Phase 1 is used for between the approximately 350 Mr.Ghosts we need for our $7k goal up to 2500 units in a wildly optimistic scenario. This style of manufacturing will use exactly what we used to make the prototype. Here is the process so far:
- 1. We soldered together the electronics and made sure the device worked, was safe, behaved as expected, was fun.
- 2. We made engineering drawings of an aesthetically pleasing antenna shape.
- 3. Brought the drawings to a local machine shop and had the antenna shape milled out of aluminum.
- 4. Made a silicone mold of the aluminum shape in my kitchen.
- 5. Filled the mold with urethane casting resin mixed with pigments, and inserted the electronics.
- 6. Cut away excess urethane at fill point, demolded the antenna, and let cure for 10 hours, and voila, Mr.Ghost was born.
- 7. Tested Mr.Ghost with a multimeter, then by plugging it into my phone.
Phase 1 of manufacturing will be to replicate this process to multiple molds, a process we're already familiar with. Then we will create custom jigs to hold the antennas in the molds so the jacks on the bottom are nice and straight. Finally, we will create a simple multiport tester so we can plug the Mr.Ghosts into it instead of my iPhone. Once the new molds, jigs, and testers are created, we will simply repeat steps 5 and 6 above and then plug them into the multiport tester, yielding consistent, pretty Mr.Ghosts for your EMF detecting pleasure. Antennas will be mailed via first-class mail.
Phase 2 of manufacturing kicks in the awesome scenario where we need 2500 units. In parallel with Phase 1, we will be able to afford to outsource the manufacturing and move to injection molded antennas instead of urethane resin. This will vastly speed up the process so you're not waiting forever to get your Mr.Ghost. We will be doing Phase 1 in parallel so that we can fulfill earlybirds and as many people as we can in the meantime.
Which color should I get?
The pearl/white looks super cool on white iPhones. I personally like the gray, because we wanted it to look like an old chunky mobile antenna. I don't know, what color do you like?
Want to see something cool? It's the radiation field from my TV, and I used Mr.Ghost's glow mode and a video camera to create the picture.
And here's a video about how I made it.
Who are you?
We are Protagonist, I am Aaron Rasmussen. Click on my bio to learn more about me. Protagonist LLC was started for this project specifically, but we hope to make all sorts of interesting pieces of technology.
Now please back us on the right! ---------->
And then tell your friends about us because if we don't make our goal, the project doesn't get funded at all. Use the facebook like and twitter buttons at the top of this post.
Risks and challenges
Fortunately, the risks on this project are very low. Not only have we completed the prototype, but we have completed production units as well using the exact same method we'll scale (phase 1). We are very confident in our ability to produce Mr.Ghost. We do have to scale production using our kickstarter funds, but as we've described above, it involves replicating our existing method.
The biggest risk is that if we get a zillion backers, we'll likely need to outsource production to a domestic or foreign factory (phase 2 of manufacturing), and that will take considerable time, and outsourcing always carries some risk, whether it's defective product, or if the outsourcing is overseas: customs delays (one time our container sat on the docks for 2 weeks while we freaked out), container falls off the ship (yes, that can happen), or just bad people. Fortunately, we have experience outsourcing contract manufacturing, and we already have an outsourcing company that we can use for that lined up, and we trust them. We would produce as many Mr.Ghosts as possible while that is happening, but we'd only be able to make so many.
The absolute worst case scenario if we get oversubscribed beyond 2500 is that we manufacture all the rewards a bit slowly using a highly-scaled version of the Phase 1 process.
The software already works, and will only get even cooler. However, it could be slow getting it on the App store because we simply have no control over their approval process. We'll be submitting v1 very shortly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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