Project image
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$550
pledged of $6,000pledged of $6,000 goal
2
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, May 24 2013 3:14 PM UTC +00:00
Sean Alan WeyersBy Sean Alan Weyers
First created
Sean Alan WeyersBy Sean Alan Weyers
First created
$550
pledged of $6,000pledged of $6,000 goal
2
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, May 24 2013 3:14 PM UTC +00:00

About

The Idea

About 2 years ago I found myself discussing LED hula hoops with my friends Aaron and Victoria, who have recently gotten married. (yay!) They are avid hoopers and are active in the hooping community; they also sell some basic hoops at music festivals. They were asking about ways to improve their hoops and it was in the course of this discussion that I decided to design a 'super hoop' for them (and for myself... I love a challenge). Since then I've worked diligently, as time allows (it did not allow much!), to create this hoop. It has been quite the technical challenge, especially for something that seemed so simple! Of course, the experience has also been incredibly enriching and rewarding. I'm very happy with the way my first (ever) prototype turned out and the way it's working.

Some hooping friends at a festival.
Some hooping friends at a festival.

Where the Project is Now

I have a completed, working prototype that now needs life breathed into it. It needs machine-produced printed circuit boards (PCBs), beta testing, and FCC certification (because it is a digital device operating over 9,000 cycles per second). I also need to fine-tune the construction to ensure reliable and long-lasting hoops for everyone.

Right now, it's also just called 'the hoop' or 'the prototype'. To truly come to life, it needs a name. We would really like some help in naming the hoop so I've offered it as a reward. What will it be? ...we (myself, Aaron, and Victoria) will pick the one we like the best from everyone who enters a name.

The Prototype
The Prototype

I'm making the PCBs in my shop now, but I can only make them so fast as it's fairly time consuming. Also, not all the PCBs turn out well enough to be used. I will have the boards produced professionally by either BatchPCB or Sunstone Circuits; I haven't decided between the two just yet.

The prototype motherboard, on my workbench.
The prototype motherboard, on my workbench.
The motherboard, in the hoop with the controls and charging jack visible. The prototype also has a port for programming.
The motherboard, in the hoop with the controls and charging jack visible. The prototype also has a port for programming.

The on/off switch can also be seen in the picture, as well as the navigation switch. Many patterns of colors are programmed into the hoop; moving the nav switch left or right cycles through them. Clicking the nav switch changes the 'mode', or what the hoop is doing with the current pattern. Pressing it up or down changes the speed of modes that blink, flash, move, etc. The finished design will have about 10-15 modes and 50-100 patterns with 5-10 speeds for modes that have speed settings.

The finished hoops (your hoop if you decide to back them!) will also have several options for the diameter of the hoop and at least 2 options for the diameter of the tubing used for the hoop. They run on 2 rechargeable batteries inside the hoop and are recharged through a jack on the hoop (pictured above). The charger is included with the hoop.

I have a small group of wonderful, fun people waiting and willing to beta test hoops for me. It should be about two months before the design is fully refined and ready for professional production; I've already spent quite a bit of time refining the design over the past 2 years. The rest of each hoop will be constructed by hand in my home shop.

I'm really interested to see what beta testers think of the control scheme and what changes are made for the final version.

Hooping with Victoria.
Hooping with Victoria.

Where the Money Goes

The money is needed for beta testing, PCB manufacture, parts and supplies needed for refinement, a website, and FCC certification testing. Please help my hoop come to life!!!

Future Plans

After finishing this hoop, I plan to move on to even better versions. I have a plan (and working software/prototype hardware) for one with almost 100 LEDs and some very exciting features that I'm not quite ready to divulge. I'd like to start trying to put sensors in the hoop, like accelerometers, magnetometers, small microphones to sync the hoop with a beat, USB user programmability, and maybe even bluetooth so the hoops can 'talk' to each other or maybe even your phone. The possibilities are endless, but I still want to try to exhaust them.So be sure to look out for more hoop projects in the future.

At some point, I may even release an album of music for hooping. That's some of my music in the project video, in case you were wondering.

Ultimately, I really just want to expand the choices that hoopers have for LED hoops. I'd like for myself and these hoops to become an integral part of the hooping community; it's about more than just making a new toy. It's about making people smile, have some fun, relax, and maybe get to know each other; I love relationship building!

Check out this other awesome LED project from Chimp Systems! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chimp-systems/pegs-programmable-eye-glasses?ref=live

Risks and challenges

There is always a chance that some of the parts will be on backorder from my main supplier (Newark) which might mean delays in fulfilling hoop orders. I usually just use one or two additional suppliers to avoid problems with backordered parts.
Delays could happen during the beta testing process. If major design changes were needed for some reason, it could possibly delay shipment of hoops for rewards. I will just have to work overtime in this case!!! I want to make sure I'm creating the best possible hoop so some patience might be needed before it's all done.
Possible as well, but very unlikely, is the rejection of the device by the FCC (should certification be required). I would probably just need to add a little shielding to fix that.
During the process of building the prototype, I've very much learned the meaning of "it looked good on the drawing board". It looks good (and works well) as of now, but you never know what problems will arise. But, of course, that's what engineers are for and I know I can tackle anything that comes my way to get your hoops to you!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    A warm thank you eternally visible on the webpage.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    The above reward, plus you get to name the hoop; we'll choose the name we like best. The hoop needs a name!!!

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    All above rewards, plus a finished LED hoop for you to play with. Charger is included.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    All the above rewards, plus I will add custom patterns to the hoop based on your favorite colors, in addition to the standard colors programmed into the hoop.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $800 or more About $800

    All the above rewards, plus complete plans to build your own hoop. I'll include source code, hardware plans with bill of materials and sources, and complete instructions on how to assemble your hoops.

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Funding period

- (30 days)