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$450
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10
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, January 3 2015 3:56 AM UTC +00:00
$450
pledged of $60,000pledged of $60,000 goal
10
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, January 3 2015 3:56 AM UTC +00:00

About

We can all use more fun in our life.

Most of us spend hours a day on the phone and we thought it would be a great idea to add more fun to some of those hours. So we invented the FonePhrog.

Actually, the FonePhrog can lip synch to any audio you like, such as -

  • Bedtime stories for your kids from audio books
  • Bedtime stories for your kids in your own voice
  • Audio books
  • Talking clock app on your phone
  • Twitter feeds
  • YouTube videos

Watch the phone frog in action with this historical recording of the moon landing -

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We built the laboratory prototype of the FonePhrog in August and have gotten very enthusiastic reactions when demonstrating it ever since. This motivated us to seek funding to make a FonePhrog available for purchase to anyone wishing to buy one.

Hello From the Founders and How it Works

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Prototype Design

We first had to decide whether to sculpt our own frog body or find one already made. When we saw the Safari Ltd. "American Bullfrog" we thought it was very charming and we made our laboratory prototype using it. We showed Safari Ltd. a video of the prototype in action and they generously supplied us with samples for development.

In order to make the skin of the frog flexible enough for our prototype we disassembled the frog and thinned the skin from the inside using hand tools. An off-the-shelf servo motor is used to move the jaw.  A commercially available Bluetooth speaker is used as the speakerphone portion of the FonePhrog. We used some simple breadboarded circuitry and an Arduino Uno with software we developed to generate servo motor signals from the cell phone audio.

Electronic Prototype Circuit
Electronic Prototype Circuit
Design for Production

Thinning the skin of the frog with hand tools is not suitable for volume manufacturing. For moderate order quantities we'll make an automated tool to do this repeatably and quickly. If production demand warrants it, we will discuss a special production run with a modified frog mold so this step can be skipped.

Our servo motor is larger, more powerful than needed, and not cost-effective for production. It will be replaced with a smaller less expensive gear motor driven directly by our electronics. The Bluetooth speakerphone electronics will be outsourced from a wholesale supplier.  Our custom electronics will be integrated into a single printed circuit board such as this board we designed for one of our clients:

Example Circuit Board Developed By Silicon Robotics
Example Circuit Board Developed By Silicon Robotics

After noticing cost resistance among potential backers, we're now offering the FonePhrog in a lower-cost no Bluetooth version. In this version we replace the Bluetooth with a built-in microphone. We've shrunk the electronics to fit completely into the frog body, so there will be no base needed either! A replaceable battery will power this version. By placing your cell phone into speakerphone mode and placing it near the frog, you can still enjoy a phone conversation à la frog, or have the frog read stories or any other audio you play from your phone.

LIp Synching Algorithm

Our prototype algorithm is similar to a VU meter with frequency filtering to emphasize response to speech elements which correlate with opening the jaw.  Our production algorithm will rely more upon digital signal processing methods to better recognize audio cues corresponding to jaw motions and to reject unwanted jaw motions due to extraneous noise.

Risks and challenges

We have experience successfully bringing products to the market and are familiar with the many challenges of the process. Delays in obtaining custom tooling, components, unexpected cost hikes, and debugging technical glitches are all part of the game.

One challenge we anticipate is perfecting the automatic tooling to thin the frog's jaw. Variations in external dimensions of the frogs when we receive them could lead to excessively thin areas or even holes. On the plus side, we have extensive experience with computer controlled machining and have the skill set to overcome such issues.

Lip synching in real time to a live audio stream will never be perfect regardless of the sophistication of the algorithm. This is because mouth motions precede produced sound. However, we have found our audiences typically delighted in demonstrations even with our present simple algorithm. We will improve on our existing algorithm by importing frequency detection to firmware and sensing more audio cues.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    You'll receive a personal thank you video from the FonePhrog and all project updates and notifications. And of course our deep appreciation for your support.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    You'll receive a FonePhrog T-shirt with our logo on it, and all project updates and notifications. Shipping not included.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    You'll receive a FonePhrog T-shirt with our logo on it, a personal thank you video from the FonePhrog, and all project updates and notifications. Shipping not included.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $39 or more About $39

    You'll receive a functioning FonePhrog which uses a built-in microphone instead of Bluetooth, and all project updates and notifications. All electronics are built into the Frog! Shipping not included.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $79 or more About $79

    You'll receive a functioning FonePhrog and all project updates and notifications. Shipping not included.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $89 or more About $89

    You'll receive a functioning FonePhrog, a FonePhrog T-shirt with our logo on it, and all project updates and notifications.Shipping not included.

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Funding period

- (60 days)