Find lost gear and maximize your powder skiing time with this directionally-locating wireless deep powder ski retrieval system. Read more
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on January 30, 2013.
About this project
If you're a powder skier, you know there is nothing quite like floating down the mountain after a fresh dump. Except for when you crash. Digging for your gear sucks!
Maximize your powder time with the AKKA Ski Retriever, a deep powder ski finder that utilizes wireless technology to find your skis or any other gear you want to find.
HOW IT WORKS
Tags are attached to your skis, poles, GoPro, etc. and then "paired" with your handheld. Much like you pair a Bluetooth device to your phone, you can un-pair and re-pair multiple tags to different handhelds. Each tag uses a lithium coin cell battery that is designed to last an entire season or more (3-4 months).
Tags can be attached to your gear in a few different ways:
- Hardmount the mounting base plate. The tags can be inserted and locked into the base plate. This allows you to switch tags between different pairs of skis.
- Adhesive mount. A durable, cold-weather adhesive (similar to snowboard stomp pads) can be utilized to attach the tags directly to skis, GoPro, etc.
- Utilize the lanyard loops. There are two lanyard holes on each tag that can be used to simply loop the tag onto gear. You can even use a zip tie to make a more secure attachment.
On the mountain, you utilize the audio and visual feedback on the handheld to find your gear. The feedback changes not only with distance but also with direction so it helps you find your gear in no time.
Outside of the primary functionality of the handheld that has been developed and demonstrated, there is a growing "wishlist" of features that would make the AKKA Ski Retriever even better. My ability to pursue these additional features depends on how much additional funding I'm able to get through Kickstarter.
- SECURITY - Go one step beyond just leaving your skis separated outside of the lodge. After placing both skis at separate locations, activate the security mode on the handheld. If the distance between the skis changes, you'll receive an alert on your handheld.
- AVALANCHE - The current design works well from under a few feet of snow up to hundreds of feet away. It could potentially be used in search efforts after an avalanche. There is a ton of testing, certification and regulation to still complete but since the AKKA system is directional (rather than traditional beacons only being distance or signal strength) it may be a massive improvement.
We've already finished the Initial Industrial Design and Preliminary Electrical Engineering. In order to continue development, further funding is needed.
PLEDGE TO PRE-ORDER
By making a pledge on Kickstarter you are pre-ordering the AKKA Ski Retriever. You'll receive project updates as the project progresses toward our estimated shipping timeframe of Fall 2013; in time for next year's season.
Risks and challenges
As with any project, there are risks and challenges. I've been working with Product Creation Studio (http://www.productcreationstudio.com) in Seattle for the development of the product to mitigate risks. Their team has an incredible amount of experience and I'm confident that the development result will be awesome. When we start to transition to the production phase in the Spring, I'll be leaning on them again to assist in sourcing, evaluation and transition of the supplier base.
With that being said the primary challenge, as with most successful Kickstarter projects, is keeping on schedule. Dealing with external vendors and suppliers presents obstacles but our current schedule includes consideration of these delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Why not use a passive system for the tag? Then you wouldn't need to replace batteries on the tag units!
The problem with a passive system, like RECCO, is that you would need a much larger and more powerful handheld unit. There is also a significant distance/range loss when you go to a passive system as well.
The lithium primary coin cell batteries that will be in the tags are sized to last one season (3-4 months). There will also be a low-battery feature that will notify your handheld when a tag is low on battery.
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