About this project
Our Kickstarter campaign is over, but you can still get a Cube. Head over to Swatchmate.com for more info and to place an order.
Thank you to all our backers!
With your help, the SwatchMate Color Capturing Cube was successfully funded :D
Orders are now available through Swatchmate.com.
What is the SwatchMate Cube?
The Cube is a portable device that captures the color of any surface. Using Bluetooth, it sends the color data to your smartphone or directly into Photoshop.
Why did we build it?
We were tired of not being able to interact with beautiful colors from the world around us. So we set out to design a simple and accurate way to capture moments of color inspiration.
Who is the Cube for?
Designers and artists love and work with color. But we also wanted to make something for the little creative inside all of us. Never miss another moment of inspiration again.
What are some of the cool things the Cube can do?
The Cube is great for:
- Bringing real-world color straight into Photoshop
- Matching color to paint brands, right there in the app*
- Color-grading photographs based on actual color readings
- Easy spot checks to ensure color consistency
- Helping fashion designers coordinate colorful textiles
- Ensuring that digital color assets pop when printed in the real world
We designed the Cube to be small, beautiful and easy to use. We also packed it full of features.
We're very proud that the Cube has won several product design awards.
Using Bluetooth Low Energy, the Cube records color information on a paired iOS or Android smartphone. Relive moments of inspiration by organising your captured colors in categories.
How does it work?
Inside the Cube there is (surprisingly!) a sphere. The sphere contains a light source and a color sensor, and has a small sample hole through which to capture color. A controlled sequence of light is shone on the surface, before being redirected back into the sphere toward the color sensor:
What else can it do?
The Cube’s open ColorAPI makes it easy for developers and hackers to build all sorts of amazing color applications. The Cube can output colors in the RGB, CMYK and L*a*b* color spaces.
Progress so far
After winning several university awards for early prototypes, we went through countless design and engineering iterations driven by our focus on accuracy, simplicity and cost.
Initial bare-bones prototypes served as learning platforms for our color detection algorithms. Later prototypes improved the usability and aesthetics of our device.
The Cube is now a final prototype. Bluetooth enabled, it pairs wirelessly to iOS and Android devices and outputs surface colors. We’ve also created an Adobe Photoshop extension that automatically changes the primary color based on new color samples taken by the Cube.
We’ve commenced discussions with plastics and electronics manufacturers and received quotes and delivery terms.
We finally feel that the Cube is ready to start the next stage of production!
However, in order to make this happen, we need your help. The tooling process required to create the plastic moulds for the Cube’s striking design is expensive, as are the initial order requirements before setting up a manufacturing line at scale.
Here’s a detailed project schedule:
We intend to complete the final design for manufacture in Australia, and have the assembly done in China. Depending on manufacturing limitations, the final product may differ slightly in shape, size or color from that presented here (for example, 5% smaller or larger).
Our $55,000 funding goal is the minimum we need to order bulk quantities of components for the Cube, and covers large once-off costs such as:
- $10,000: App development
- $20,000: Creating plastic injection moulds for the Cube's housing
- $5,000: FCC/CE certification
- $20,000: Component costs/Reward fulfilment/Kickstarter fees
With your help, we can succeed in our vision of making the World a more colorful place!
Meet the team!
SwatchMate is an Australian product development studio based out of Melbourne. Started by three university friends who studied Electronics together, we couldn’t be happier to grow our SwatchMate family to include the Kickstarter family.
We Cuben't have made it without the following amazing friends:
Timothy Hillier, Director - http://www.timothyhillier.com
Briana Davis, female artist
Harley McFanny, male designer
Karolina Partyka, expert party popper
Nadia, coffee making whizz
Motherbird Studio - Chris Murphy: http://motherbird.com.au
Luncheonette Cafe - Olivia: http://www.luncheonette.com.au
‘Blue Mural’ - Lucas Grogan: http://www.lucasgrogan.com
SwatchMate Cube Beta Testers:
Hungry Workshop - Simon & Jenna Hipgrave, Adam Flannery: http://thehungryworkshop.com.au
Rohan Workman (MAP manager), for being our first backer
Jeremy Kraybill (Dashcord), for being the definition of a mentor, and for prototyping the Cube’s Adobe and Android integration
Nicholas Lee D'Ademo, for making the Cube wireless and independent from smartphones. You are and always will be a champion!
James Sloss, for being the real designer behind the design of the Cube and our logo - you've taught us so much!
Melbourne Accelerator Program, for teaching us what it meant to run a business: http://map.eng.unimelb.edu.au
Mark Bergin & Lisa Grant (Design100), for your vision and support: http://www.design100.com/d100/
Stefan Backovic & Mazouk (DSB Australia), for lending a (spray painter's) hand when we needed it the most
Alex Roberts and Julia Lai-Kwon, for your endless patience and inspiration
Rudi Smith for his early mentoring and great engineering advice
Adrian and Rob Melbourne University Digitization Centre, for your endless enthusiasm about 3D printing
Thanks to all of our family and friends. We Cuben’t have done it without you!
Risks and challenges
We've spent months talking to manufacturers and distributors and have carefully priced the Cube to make sure we can fulfil all of your rewards. We have also iterated on our design in conjunction with plastics manufacturers to know that our casing and internals are ready for plastic moulding.
We've also been careful to work with local manufacturers that have additional identical factory lines overseas that we can hit should we far outstrip our goal and therefore need scale delivery.
In setting our delivery date for the Cube, we also took into account the time required for making the final touches to the design, communicating with manufacturers, setting up the required equipment, performing quality control passing FCC/CE certification.
Despite our preparations, we can't prepare for unforeseen events that would be out of our control. Our pledge to you as backers is to keep you up to date and informed throughout the delivery process, no matter what happens!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Pantone are quite tight about the use of their color system in commercial applications, so we're still working on this one (everyone else seems okay with it though...). But what you will definitely be able to do is take the L*a*b* or RGB output from the Cube and type it into one of the many online color databases which will take you to the nearest Pantone match.
The Cube provides a color reading in the sRGB, L*a*b* and CMYK color spaces. The Cube also matches to the nearest colors in major paint brands. At the moment we are working with a number of major paint brands in Australia, NZ and the US to make this happen.
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