The KidWind and Friends campaign aims to launch a series of renewable energy science kits and a cast of exciting comic book characters. A brainchild of the KidWind Project, KidWind and Friends will extend the KidWind Project's vision to engage minds for a responsible future into the retail market. Help us raise $75,000 to release these cool products, and to let KidWind and his friends teach the world about better, cleaner sources of energy!
Who is KidWind (and who are his friends)?
KidWind and Friends exploration science kits will allow students to begin exploring renewable energy—and a variety of energy concepts—in an engaging format. Kids and adults will be able to mix and match the items between the kits, and we will offer many of the parts separately so you can add on or build your own devices. You want a complete kit? You got it. You want parts that interchange? You got it.
The initial product line consists of:
- Three full renewable energy exploration kits
- A set of swappable parts and recharge kits
- A cast of comic book characters titled KidWind and Friends to help support the kits and concepts
Meet the Characters
KidWind is a creative kid who sees possibility in his surroundings. He uses found objects and technology to create his alter ego. With a wind turbine and an assortment of specifically carved blades, KidWind can utilize wind energy to both harness his own power and then dispense his powers.
KidHydro is a natural swimmer, and has the ability to hold her breath underwater for a very long time. The shoulder wheels spin and generate energy when she is moving through the water. Her tanks are full of pressurized water that are connected to nozzles on her webbed gloves. Her tanks also contain a steam generator that, through her nozzles, can propel her through the water at high speeds. Around her waist are water globes that can be used as timed water balloons. Her boots convert to swim fins when needed.
KidSolar is naturally bright, and a talented strategist who formulates patterns and plans. His suit is made of photo voltaic panels that capture sunlight and convert it into electricity that is stored in batteries in his belt. The stored electricity is used to power a system that blasts intense light or distracts opponents with holograms.
KidKinetic is a natural athlete who is one of the most popular kids in school. His suit is designed to capture the kinetic energy his body produces when he moves. It is stored in the battery pack on his back, and can be directed back to the suit frame to enhance his strength and speed. His padding collects the kinetic energy directed at him and shunts the energy to his pack. His helmet sports a darkened visor and he wears cleats to increase his speed.
Circuit the dog can run very fast. He can wag his tail with such force that he can create a strong enough breeze to power KidWind's systems. When two or more of the KidWind team members plug their systems into the collar (or complete the circuit), it expands into the “Cone of Thunder,” which can amplify his bark and turn it into a sonic blast.
Comics can be a great way to connect the materials in the kits to larger concepts and story lines. The comics are included in all of the kits and will be richly developed on the Kidwind and Friends website. In addition to hands-on kits, these will be another tool to help students understand how these energy sources work and how clean energy sources can make the world a better place.
If we make the base level of $75,000, we will produce one 10-12 page comic, a two sided poster, and comic cards for the first three kits (KidWind, KidSolar, KidKinetic).
If we receive enough to make the KidHydro and Circuit kits, we will make comic cards for these kits as well. If we raise $150,000, we will produce all the kits and 5 additional 10 page comics in 2013. These comics will be distributed for free at the retail level wherever the kits are sold to members of the KidWind Club.
Anyone that purchases a kit (or backs this Kickstarter) will become a founding member of the KidWind & Friends Club and will receive a lifetime subscription to the comics, which would be available at local comic book distributors. Comics will also be posted online on the KidWind and Friends blog.
The comics are a pet project of “Adholics”, a Minneapolis, Minnesota based marketing collaborative. Michael Putman, a graphic designer/illustrator with 20 years of experience, has had the privilege of working on illustrations for everything from national ad campaigns to children’s books and even his own comics.
A KidWind kit will harness the power of the wind and allow you to build a wind turbine and experiment with making blades, assembling a wind farm, and simple circuits.
A KidSolar kit will channel the energy of the sun to build solar powered boats,
fountains, cars and circuits that charge small devices.
A KidKinetic kit allows you to explore how an electrical generator works, and will allow you to generate electricity from wind, water, and human power.
At the $95,000 level, we will develop and launch the KidHydro Kit. The KidHydro kit will teach you to understand and harness the
power of moving water outside in a stream, or inside in your sink. You will be able to change types and styles of pelton wheels, make your own paddles, change gear ratios and build charging circuits.
At $120,000, we will launch a variety of electronics kits. Circuit the dog will teach you how to focus the energy that you collect from wind, solar, water and other sources to light LEDs, store electricity, or power a small electrical device.
We don’t think you need to stop at just the kits. You will be able to swap many parts between kits or buy individual parts, so you can build whatever you want.
Take your solar panel and water pump and make it into a
solar squirt gun with materials you can find at your house.
Use the hub from your KidWind kit and convert your KidKinetic kit to a wind powered turbine.
The Retail Idea
We have wanted to bring our gear into the retail space for years. We know our gear is responsibly made, fanatically supported, and wickedly fun. But we have been unable to make the leap into retail. Why, you ask?
It is all about the money. All of our workshops and curricular materials are given away for FREE to educators. While we make enough money to pay the bills (sometimes), there is not a lot left over for new products or ideas. That is why we are coming to Kickstarter. Here is how we will use the funds we raise:
New Injection Molds: $30,000: To help us improve and augment our current products to make them even cooler and compliant for retail sales.
Product Testing: $20,000: To help us sell products in retail shops in the U.S. and Europe.
Packaging, Marketing, Materials, Artists: $25,000: For getting the comics, packaging and other marketing materials ready to go.
I can guarantee that these kits will be fun, very well made, and fanatically supported by our company. With your help, we can affordably help thousands of people engage with the technology of a clean energy future.
We are offering tons of great rewards -- stickers, posters, t-shirts, and the kits. Want to really boost this Kickstarter? Look at the higher reward levels and find yourself integrated into the comic books or a recipient of training at a location of your choice.
We can't guarantee delivery before the 2012 holidays, but all backers will receive a card they can use to get a young one excited about a present.
What is the KidWind Project?
For the last 10 years, the KidWind Project has worked to educate students and teachers about clean energy science through engaging kits, teacher training, and outreach events for kids and adults. We were in this space before it was a space.
We love creating simple things that make learning about renewable energy easy. The KidWind Crimping Hub was one our first inventions 5 years ago. Looks simple, right? It can attach to any small DC motor, and be used to make wind turbines for experiments. Our experience selling thousands of these taught us how to make great products that last.
We think kits that claim to teach about renewable
energy should be produced using those energy sources. We find it is typically not the case.
We make all of our kits in Saint Paul, MN from a majority of parts that are
manufactured in the US. Our main supplier, Harbec Plastics makes all of our components from recycled resins, and they are so green that their production plant is powered by two wind turbines.
The wood we use is FSC certified, and of course the paper we use has a high amount of recycled content.
facility in Saint Paul is powered by wind power through Xcel renewable energy
credits. Some day when we get our own place we will buy solar panels for the roof!
Tough & supportive at the same time!
Also, we make our gear to last. If a product breaks or does not work, we have failed. If you ever have a problem or question you can call KidWind and talk to us directly. We will provide ideas and/or issue replacements. We have been doing this for 10 years! We are
fanatical about making sure things work and work well. We want to make sure you get it!
Risks and challenges
We are very qualified to bring new products to market. Over the last 10 years, we have brought a number of successful renewable energy kits to the education space. We have been through this process many times, and we feel we are very prepared.
Developing products for the retail space seems even more challenging.
On this project, the major risks include:
Product testing: While we have done quite a bit of research, it is hard to know what it will cost to perform product testing on our kits and how they will fare during the testing. It may also mean that we have to make some compromises on what we want to have in the kits and what is OK with the product testing agencies.
Injection Molds: While we have done over 16 injection molds over the last 10 years, predicting the cost of the mold and of each part can sometimes be challenging. We feel that we have a good idea on the costs of these components, but we will find out as we start to cut steel. We are lucky to be supported by one of the best molders in the business.
Market Forces: While we know we have good ideas and our products work very well, we are a little unsure as to how we can meet retailer needs. In addition to making really great products, a great deal of work is going to have to go into pricing models and marketing areas where we lack some expertise.
We do not want this project to be a Kickstarter flash in the pan. We are building for the long term. To do that we have to get everything right, from packaging to product to pricing.
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