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Part whimsical toy, part art object, I’ve created ITSABOB to transform balloon play. It celebrates the act of letting go.

Itsabob is a balloon toy that brings out the kid in all of us.

Everyone has a childhood memory of playing with a balloon and letting it go. The “you can let go” moment is the feeling and timeless experience that itsabob recreates — over and over.

Itsabob allows kids and adults alike to watch their balloon float away and retrieve it back again. It extends playtime with one of the most universal toys in the world—a balloon.

The itsabob is a toy for the kid in all of us.

Itsabob moves a balloon up and down
Itsabob moves a balloon up and down

The itsabob works with a balloon. You squeeze the itsabob to bring the balloon down and when you let go, the balloon floats up again.

Squeeze, release, squeeze, release. It's that simple.

Itsabob is designed around the simplicity of a balloon. Its shape resembles a drop of water or something in motion.

When thinking about the play experience, my goal was to create a simple, elegant interaction that allows a balloon to float up and down. 

“What’s the most intuitive interaction to reel a balloon in?" I thought.  "What’s a universal gesture to create for all ages?”

It became a simple squeeze and release gesture — the “you can let go” moment. 

The play experience was inspired by the feeling of letting a balloon go. 

My name is Jed Berk. I'm a visual artist working primarily with inflatable forms. In both the Art and DIY communities, I'm recognized for the ALAVs and Blubberbots which are "intelligent" balloons that behave like semi-domesticated animals.

ALAVs - MOCA Taipei, Taiwan
ALAVs - MOCA Taipei, Taiwan

While showing my work in galleries and museums around the world, I noticed that balloons bring a sense of wonder and joy to everyone, from the 65 year-old grandmother in Los Angeles to the 3 year-old toddler in Denmark. 

Blubberbots - MOMA Salzburg, Austria
Blubberbots - MOMA Salzburg, Austria

 I wanted to find a way to take my work outside the gallery and museum environment, and bring it into people’s homes and everyday lives.

The idea for the itsabob came to me while I was working in my studio on a sculpture that involved balloons and a fabric tape measure. It was around the time of the World Cup and I was playing with the height of a balloon that floated over a pile of stacked objects. 

By pushing the button on the tape measure, I could adjust the height of a balloon and readjust its length by pulling the tape back out with my hand. In that moment, I thought it would be interesting to create an experience that would allow a balloon to float up on its own – and then come back down again. That's how the initial idea of the itsabob was born.

The name “itsabob” was inspired by the act of "bobbing around." I was looking for a name that was descriptive, but also a bit abstract and playful.

The idea of bobbing around can relate to a buoy in water or a balloon in  the air, something that floats around. It relates to my inflatable artworks that were let loose in unpredictable environments. 

“It’s not just about the up and down," I thought. "It’s about how it bobs around. itsabob."

The itsabob is a toy for the kid in all of us. But it's also a useful balloon weight and display system, so that when you're done playing, your balloons won't float away. 

You can use an itsabob to create a centerpeice with a bouquet of balloons for your next celebration. They also make great party favors for your guests.

Whether you are organizing an event, throwing a party for your five year old, or hosting a classy holiday bash, we offer a variety of rewards to suit your needs.

Each reward is customized to create a memorable celebration and play experience. Rewards may come with an assortment of balloons, designer balloons and at least two different colored ITSABOBs.

To me, balloons are a medium for creative expression. They can be fashionable, decorative, themed, or humorous. I’m interested in exploring new types of balloon designs and collaborating with others to introduce novel concepts. The itsabob and the balloon always work together. They can be linked by narrative, color, patterns, messaging or themes. And ultimately they can become a collectable.

Itsabob is the first product in a platform that invents new types of play experiences while collaborating with designers and artists.  By creating objects that allow people to project their own ideas or narratives, itsabob becomes a new kind of creative play system, a type of blank canvas for balloons and play.

By backing ITSABOB, you are helping us raise the minimum amount of capital we need to fund our first production run. Your contribution will help support our future vision to bring new types of play experiences with balloons. 

Final Model
Final Model

Since May 2013, we've been working closely with our manufacturer to develop a production ready sample, going through many iterations as seen in our video. Our main goals were to develop a product that is (1) easy to use for all ages ; (2) long lasting and won't break; and (3) at a competitive price point for the market.

As of October 25, we began the tooling and mold making process and placed our first order. 

The product will begin the delivery process to our backers as of January 15, 2014. We estimate that the majority of our backers will receive their ITSABOB some time in February 2014. 

We are very excited to be in production and can't wait to share the joy of ITSABOB with all of you. 

Most importantly, help us spread the word and share our project with your family and friends! 

Thank you for your support — and have a bobber of a day! 

Our Crew

A BIG thank you to everyone who has helped bring ITSABOB to the world.

Special thanks to NIKHIL MITTER who I have worked closely with for many years now from the ALAVs to the ITSABOB. This project would not be the same without his support. He's always got my back.

Thanks to:

Baby Oliver Artigas
Sebastian Bettencourt
Micaela & Cole Cacho-Negrete
Julian Bleecker
Carly Eiseman 
Tylor Garland
Tod Kurt
Jim Landecker
Syuzi Pakhchyan
Joel Smith
Kathy Wienstock

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Manufacturing a well-designed product has always been my biggest challenge. Stripping out the complexity for simplicity has really been the focus of bringing itsabob to life. Which is why narrowing down the interaction to one simple squeeze gesture was key.

Simultaneously, it was important to start the patent process to ensure I wasn't infringing on others and to secure and protect my IP. The patent for Itsabob has been successfully published as PCT, which means it's both US and internationally patent pending with the ability to secure patents in the global marketplace.

I’ve also partnered with a manufacturer, and I’m turning to Kickstarter to introduce the Itsabob brand to a like-minded community.

I'm looking to you to spread the word about itsabob and help raise the capital for our first run of production.

FAQ

  • Yes. Each itsabob includes 2 AAA batteries.

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  • Most supermarkets, drugstores, flower shops, and party supply stores sell both balloons and helium. Also, with our FIESTA PACK, we'll send you a helium tank so you can have a real ITSABOBBING party.

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  • It’s for the kid in all of us, but the itsabob is designed to meet all safety standards for ages 3+.

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  • Each itsabob comes with a 23 inch round red mylar balloon. We choose this color in tribute to one of our favorite films, Albert Lamorisse's “The Red Balloon.”

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  • The collectable balloons are made from a metallic mylar, and also known as a foil balloon. These balloons have four seams versus the normal two, and hold more helium for their size. This means they can typically float for a few weeks without adding helium.

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  • The balloons included with the itsabob typically have 8 to 20 grams of helium lift. This lift allows for optimal bobbing!

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209
Backers
$12,589
pledged of $9,000 goal
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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    4 backers

    Thank you for your support. Every contribution helps keep ITSABOB afloat. Have a bobber of a day!

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    5 backers Limited (195 left of 200)

    I HEART ITSABOB KIT :: Assemble your own "squeeze and pull" memento. Show your love for ITSABOB with this DIY kit that captures the feeling of letting a balloon slip through your fingertips. Please note, this is a simple analog version and is NOT a powered ITSABOB.

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    15 backers Limited (285 left of 300)

    COLLECTABLE ITSABOB BALLOON :: Created by an anonymous artist/designer, this is a rare opportunity to own a first edition ITSABOB balloon collaboration.

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    100 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD BUDDY PACK :: Kill two birds with 3 ITSABOBs. You get: [3] ITSABOBs and [3] balloons. Share the feeling of letting go.

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    Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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    38 backers

    BUDDY PACK :: Because it's always more fun with friends! With this pack, you get [3] ITSABOBs and [3] balloons. Share the feeling of letting go!

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  • Pledge $60 or more
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    7 backers

    PLAYDATE :: Fun for all ages, the more the merrier. With the Playdate pack, we provide fun ideas for activities and playtime. You get [6] ITSABOBs and [9] assorted balloons. Have a fun-filled afternoon with your family and friends.

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  • Pledge $70 or more
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    15 backers

    DESIGNER COLLECTION :: Sometimes you want a little something extra special for your celebration. Enjoy [6] ITSABOBs with [3] collectable designer balloons and [6] assorted balloons.

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    7 backers

    FIESTA PACK :: Whether it's a birthday party or just a backyard BBQ, our fiesta pack delivers fun to your front door. You get [18] ITSABOBs, [36] assorted balloons and [1] helium tank. Yes, we deliver 1 helium tank to your home, so you can have a real ITSABOBBING party.

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    Ships within the US only
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    4 backers

    VIP EVENT :: Celebrate in style with the ITSABOB. Glam up your next private party or event with [60] ITSABOBs, [25] designer balloons and [45] assorted balloons.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    0 backers

    GALA CELEBRATION :: Create a memorable evening with the ITSABOB Gala Pack. With a beautiful balloon boutique, the ITSABOB is an ideal centerpiece to decorate your event. Everyone can let go together. You get: [150] ITSABOBs with [250] assorted balloons and [20] designer balloons.

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    Add $100 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $5,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    THE OFFICIAL ITSA-POP-UP BALLOON RELEASE :: Meet the creator and celebrate the ultimate "you can let go" event where everyone let's go over and over. Details and event location will be arranged between you and me. Event includes: [150] ITSABOBs with [250] assorted balloons, [20] designer balloons plus photo/video documentation of the event.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $3,000 USD to ship outside the US
Funding period

- (30 days)