LED light strips powered by long-life rechargeable battery. Several lighting sequences to choose from with motion controlled lighting.
Dear Kickstarter Supporter,
Thank you for reviewing our project. We hope you are as excited about LED snowboards as we are. With your help, we will bring excitement and safety to the slopes worldwide. We know snowboards with lights are unusual – we wanted to allow people on the slopes to express themselves, add a new dimension to their passion and give others on the slopes the ability to see the lights and reduce accidents.
We have a product (provisional patent filed January 2012 marking our submission date with final patent paperwork underway) – a product we're proud of and one for which we have enjoyed testing various prototypes on the slopes. Our goal is very clear: we must complete the design. Although we have a prototype, we need to raise enough support to take the LED Snowboard through design completion and product development. We will take the design from where it is today (version 4) to a finished product that will be safe and fun to use. Final product will be available early in January 2013.
Testing the LED Snowboard on the slopes
What is LED Snowboard? It is a lighting system consisting of two thin, highly flexible 100 cm-long LED light strips and a controller housed in a waterproof box. The light strips and controller adhere to your board with high-bonding 3M Dual Lock adhesive tape. Although the adhesive is extremely strong, the system can be removed from your snowboard without damaging the surface of the board. The system is powered by a long-life rechargeable battery that supplies four to six hours of continuous use, depending on the amount of movement and mode of operation. The current version weighs only 1.25 pounds and is easily powered on with a one-button on/off foot switch. When no movement is detected the system goes into sleep mode, conserving battery life. The controller offers many different lighting sequences to choose from, including several acceleration (motion) controlled lighting programs. For the intermediate and advanced snowboarder, the system is designed with a zero-gravity detector to indicate when you catch air.
Stage of Development? As previously stated, we are on prototype V4. V1 and V2 prototypes were tested by several volunteers during the 2011 winter season. Version 3 is currently being tested by snowboarders such as Steven Knabe, top rider in USASA's Board Cross open class snowboard event. Version 3 is fully functional, but we need to incorporate further design characteristics. We would like to make the housing smaller and reduce the size of the battery while maintaining enough power to enjoy the slopes all evening. We feel the next version will contain the features we want and be ready for production.
The funds will be used for final development and testing and any remaining funds will be applied toward the first production run.
Design Capabilities: The idea of placing LED lights on a snowboard was sparked by a weekend project while at home and a weekend on the slopes. Having a love for lights, snowboarding and a BSE in computer engineering, it only seemed natural to continue the project. From the conception of the LED snowboard idea to today, all design elements and programming has been created by the inventor, Nason Tackett. Nason has over 17 years experience in electronics and prototyping and 15 years experience in computer programming. All prototypes as seen in our various videos were assembled and tested by Nason and Max (inventor and partner, respectively). Max has over 35 years experience in product design, prototyping and development with companies such as Peavey Electronics, a global company specializing in development and distribution of audio equipment. We fully expect to keep all design, programming and assembly of future prototypes within the group. This will allow us to maintain a high level of craftsmanship while ensuring the LED snowboard will operate as designed.
Manufacturing Resources: In winter 2011 we realized the design was mostly complete and began looking for suppliers capable of providing large quantities of the required components. These components include flexible LED light strips, controller housing, PCB (printed circuit board), battery, and various cables and fasteners. We quickly discovered that the housing, battery, PCB components, cables and fasteners were easily obtainable in sufficient quantities from many manufacturers within the U.S. Realizing these parts are readily available, we began looking at how to procure the more difficult items: the flexible LED light strips and fabrication of the PCB. These items require advanced planning to meet our required dates.
Flexible LED Light Strips: We have identified two companies that have the sufficient resources to provide quality light strips in large quantities. Pricing from both companies has been negotiated and distribution plans finalized. We are now testing both manufacturers' strips for durability and will choose the best design.
Fabrication of the PCB: The printed circuit board is the heart of the system and is the most important component of the assembly. There are almost as many PCB fabricators as there are suppliers of the components used on the boards. Our PCB fabricator builds and ships product worldwide. This manufacturer has provided boards for us on many occasions, most recently for the Disc Beeper that can be seen at discbeeper.com.
All components will be be boxed locally and shipped by best method (USPS, UPS and Federal Express).
Fabrication of Rewards: All rewards supplied to sponsors will be purchased from a local printer/screen printer, packaged by us and shipped to you by best method (USPS, UPS and Federal Express).
All processes and job functions have been planned to allow us the most control over the quality of the end product. No one component will be shipped without direct oversight and/or random sampling to ensure quality control standards have been met ensuring a quality product and reward.
How long are we expecting this to take? If you become a supporter, we will keep you informed as developments in the design are made and tested. We not only want your monetary support, but we also need your involvement. As a snowboarder we promise you won't be disappointed.
Why are we doing this?
This project originally began as a way to combine Nason's love of lights, computer programming and love for snowboarding. The first version was intended to be for personal use only and was a way to add excitement to a hobby. He didn't consider it to be a product until other snowboarders kept stopping him and asking where he bought the lighting system. Due to this interest, development of a system suitable for all ages began. Comments from other interested boarders can be heard on videos by visiting ledsnowboard.com.
As the design was refined, three important factors were the driving force:
1) LED lighting on snowboards adds safety for those of us who like to snowboard at night by providing other snowboarders the ability to see you and thereby reducing the possibility of collisions on the slope.
2) The design of the lighting system allows the user the ability to make the lighting system more effective as their skills improve.
3) No one else currently offers color changing LED lighting sequences. This system must be designed to not only allow color changing lighting but also to give the user multiple pre-programmed patterns from which to choose. To add additional excitement, it also can be motion controlled to allow a greater level of self expression by more advanced snowboarders.
Currently, no product on the market offers a system that includes all of the listed design factors.
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More videos of testing on the slopes:
Here's a sneak peek of the sweatshirt all higher backers will receive as a supporter.
Steven Knabe, top rider in USASA's Board Cross open class snowboard event installed his demo system on a longboard and found the mounting system compatible. He used his system on his longboard during the day and received many favorable comments. It would be more impressive at night and add a safety factor while in public areas.