Isn't she lovely?
There it is, Kickstarter. $77,505 and 1,174 backers. Thirty days of incredible support from YOU! To every one of you who believe in us, who helped us by spreading the word and backing us for spreading the word, you have our heartfelt thanks. You've done your part. Now, it's time for us to make this factory WORK!
We spent two months planning this campaign, writing scripts, discussing concepts and rewards and strategies, and endlessly shooting and re-shooting and editing and re-editing video. In the process, we came up with a lot of neat ideas, and we threw a lot of those ideas out. There's one segment which I like too much to trash completely, and I'd like to mark the end of this campaign with it. This was an alternate ending that we filmed for our kickstarter video. Enjoy!
We're funded, but the updates will continue. We'll keep on posting our progress on SolarPocketPages.com and send out periodic updates to the kickstarter list. Stay tuned, follow the story, let us hear your voices in the comments, and Shine!
Alright, Kickstarter. This has been an amazing month. Thank you all so so much. This is Alex from a rainy midnight in Manila, signing off with the newest post from the Pocket Pages.
Solar Pocket Pages 9.15.12: go go go
It's too damn early in the morning to be run over by a 737. I ponder this thought, then decide it's not poetic enough for a poignant last thought. What I really need is some cute aphorism, something pithy or beautiful. But the jet doesn't care what I want. It's barreling forwards with impossible sound, turbines roaring and scattering airport workers like crows before its wheels. I pinch myself. I slap myself. No luck. I'm staring in abject horror at these massive turbines that are uncomfortably close to my head. Everyone around me is running, running away. It seems like the smart thing to do, and I'm about to run for my life when a long baggage cart bounces up next to me on the tarmac. "Get in, sir! Get in!" the driver yells. I get in, and we burn rubber along the runway, speeding like we're going to take off and scattering unnamed luggage in our wake. All this seems very complicated. I just want to catch a flight to Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, I chose the cheap flight. There are some incredibly cheap flights between the Philippines and Hong Kong, but they're out of this old US Air Force base a couple hours North of Manila. "Ooh!" I thought, looking at a booking website a few days ago, "Look how cheap those flights are!"
Like with everything, you get what you pay for. And I paid for the Flight of Death. I'm flying out of Malacapag International Airport.
"Airport" is a generous term for Malacapag. There is a large cement building with worn, mildewed carpets, crowded with bodies shuffling through fee counters, immigration, security. The natural humidity and unholy air conditioning synergize to form a kind of freezing mist. An endless sea of bodies is milling through senseless lines, looking more like a refugee camp than an airport. It's too early in the morning for emotions, and I've spent a bouncy night taking endless forms of transporture from Manila to this foul pit of existence. I just shuffle along wishing for a meteor, anything, to replace this hell.
I don't think I've ever felt strongly enough about a chair to complain about it before, but these are something special. In the waiting lounge, there are rows and rows of things that might once have been called chairs, but are now twisted and warped forms of metal and plastic, with sharp, jagged edges poking out at improbable angles. They look like scrap metal that Magneto has used for practice. Or maybe it's abstract art. I stare at them for a while, trying to decipher which part of this object is a sitting surface, before settling into a crouch on a safer place on the floor. The entire lounge looks like someone let a tiger loose inside, and it's possibly still lurking somewhere, perhaps behind the popcorn machine or abandoned coconut smoothie stand.
There are a few monitors, but they are flashing symbols that are from another dimension. I'm not astute enough to garner meaning from this. My flight shouldn't board for half an hour, so I crouch and wait. And wait. And wait
Half an hour passes, and there's still no announcement, so I walk up to one of the stewardesses at the gate. I show her my ticket--"Is this flight boarding?"
She looks at me in elated terror. "Sir! You must go immediately! Go Go Go!" Her hand propels me forward, pushing me towards the boarding gate, and I go go go. I go go go right out the gate, and there's a blinding light. I've been deposited directly on the runway, and I stand there, blinking and dumfounded in the hazy miasma of jet fuel and humid air, glasses fogging over in the heat.
The airport is just an enormous concrete apron, maybe a mile by a mile. Distance eludes me. The apron is dotted with giant airlines, but there's no indication of where they're going. People seem to be boarding the first flight, so I go go go across the apron and walk up a staircase into the plane. The stewardess checks my ticket. "Sir! This plane is going to Singapore. You must go to the other plane. Go go go!" She points and shoves me down the stairs.
I go go go. That plane isn't going anywhere. They direct me to another plane about a quarter mile across the runway, and I follow a line of underslept passengers struggling with their bags across the tarmac.
Somewhere in the middle of the pilgrimage, a plane in the middle of the runway fires up its engines without warning. Maintenance workers catching a nap on the wheels are jarred into alertness as the plane jerks into motion. Men are shouting and scattering, and the plane starts to slowly pivot across the ragged line of passengers.
"Steady," I think, "Steady....it just looks like it's coming towards you. It's going to turn. Any minute now..." It doesn't turn. The giant 737 makes an implausible beeline for me, implausible because there is an immovable airport behind me. This plane is not bound by the brittle rationale of physics. Squinting into the sunrise, it's suddenly clear to me that this plane has transcended reality, and it's continuing to transcend reality, right toward me. The time has come to go go go.
Fortunately, my savior arrives in a baggage truck. "Which plane are you in, sir?" the driver shouts. I point uncertainly at the plane across the runway. The driver leans on the horn and speeds ahead, swerving to avoid planes. "You are very lucky, sir, that the plane has not yet departed." I think of breathing exercises. I think of calming movies. I think of anything but a queasy airport strip.
The driver pulls up along the plane, slowing just enough for me to leap out. "Go go go!" He shouts, speeding off without waiting to see if I stick the landing. I sprint up the staircase, stutter-stepping like a quarterback to blow past a baggage handler and two surprised stewardesses, and panting, run into...an empty plane.
The stewardesses come running up, looking like they want to tackle and keelhaul me. "Can we see your ticket, sir?"
I show them my ticket, and they nod, taking it in stride. "It's good that you are early, sir. Have a seat."
I stumble down the aisle, shove a bag full of Pocket Factory parts into the overhead bin and collapse in my seat, dreaming of calmer days and wiser decisions.
seconds to go
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Take us out to lunch--Inventors gotta eat. Lots of famous kickstarter-ers put up rewards where you can pay $10,000 to get lunch with them. We're not that famous, so instead, _you_ can buy _us_ lunch. Give us whatever you feel like, and in your message to us, tell us the fanciness level of the restaurant we should go to. We'll take a picture of us eating the cheapest thing we can buy and send it to you. If you're in Manila or Hong Kong, come eat with us!Estimated delivery:
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Early Bird Special--Our first 140 backers get a whopping 28% off our kit. This is the same Solar Pocket Kit you see below, but at a low low price for our early backers. Look at you! You're punctual, excited about solar energy, and you've got great taste in shoes. You really oughta reward yourself with a kit to make solar panels. And, international shipping is included!Estimated delivery:
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The Solar Pocket Factory Book--Read the story of our next year as we work to change the way the world makes small solar panels. Chock full of dreams, designs, plans, stories, freaks, We want to open up not just the invention itself, but talk about the people and motivation behind the invention, the different tacks we try to get the thing to work and to bring our idea out into the world. Now with more truth! Free shipping, anywhere in the world.Estimated delivery:
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The Solar Pocket Shield--This shield is the easiest way to use cleantech to power your arduino project. This is an assembled and tested shield that harvests energy using a built-in solar panel, providing a constant 5V to your arduino while storing excess charge in a built-in battery. Just plug it into your arduino and the shield takes care of the rest!Estimated delivery:
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The Solar Pocket Kit--This kit comes with everything you need to make your own solar panels quickly and easily. Convert all your portable electronics to solar power, come up with your own solar creations, and just experiment with making solar panels. Every kit has an assortment of pre-cut solar cells, glue to assemble strings of the cells, waterproof covering for your panel, a length of copper tape and small magnets. Free international shipping!Estimated delivery:
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Double pack--Solar invention is more fun with two! Get two Solar Pocket kits and save $10. Give one to a friend and make some solar panels together! Nothing says friendship like sunshine and silicon! Free international shipping!Estimated delivery:
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Solar Experimenter's Kit--This is everything you need to make your own solar panels from scratch and explore the potential of the power they produce. Each pack includes a Solar Pocket kit with everything you need to make your own solar panels, as well as an assortment of stuff to power off solar--high-powered LEDs, a transistor radio, a DC motor, assorted phone charge cables (not for smart phones--if you're interested, check out our solar phone charging kit below), and a nickel metal-hydride battery pack. The kit also comes with a manual with step-by-step instructions showing how to build your panels and run experiments. Perfect for classroom activities, science fairs, and just experimenting with solar on your own. Every kit comes with trace amounts of our DNA! The free shipping fairy will bring these kits to your doorstep.Estimated delivery:
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Sunlover's package--For people who love to make solar, we're bundling our standard Solar Pocket Kit with a large assortment of extra solar cells. In addition to everything that's in the kit, this package includes one hundred of our standard pieces, and fifty pieces each of our thin and stout pieces. Make solar projects galore! Free international shipping is part of the deal.Estimated delivery:
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Solar Phone Charge Kit--Keep your phone charged with solar you built from scratch! This is a bundle of our Solar Pocket kit, a high-capacity Lithium-ion battery and a Seeed Studios' LiPo Rider Pro circuit. The Solar Pocket kit has everything you need to make your own solar panel, and the LiPo Rider circuit board comes pre-assembled and takes care of charging up a lithium battery and providing a regulated power output that can power most iPhones, Galaxy, Blackberry, and other Smartphones . The LiPo Rider outputs to a female USB port that can accept any USB charge cable--you supply your own cable and phone. And you just _know that shipping is gonna be free, anywhere in the world.Estimated delivery:
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The "I love what you're doing and want all of it!" reward -- You get the Solar Phone Charge Kit and a copy of our book, fresh off the presses. Additionally, we will send you an eight by ten color glossy photograph of the machine you help create, signed robotically by the Pocket Factory. The Phone Charge Kit ships in February '13, and the book ships in September 2013. As always, free international shipping!Estimated delivery:
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Classroom kit--get three Solar Pocket kits and two Solar Explorer kits, enough for ten students to simultaneously tinker and discover new things about solar! Free international shipping!Estimated delivery:
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5 backers All gone!
Friend Of The Sun!--You get the solar charge kit, the book, AND we will write a song in your honor and program the pocket factory's stepper motors to play a digital solo. You can choose from the following premises for the song: (a) what your life would be like if you were a viking, (b) if you were an astronaut, how you would deal with loneliness, or (c) an instrumental electronica piece based on mapping the frequencies from a 2D fourier transform of your facebook profile photo to different scales, played entirely by the Pocket Factory Actuator Orchestra. We include a youtube video of the Pocket Factory playing the song and a printed poster of the algorithmically generated source code that creates the music.Estimated delivery:
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2 backers Limited (3 left of 5)
Solar Sea Haiku! -- We mail you an electronic, solar-powered plush sea animal shouting a mildly obscene yet flattering haiku written about you in a language that you do not speak. Also, you get a Solar Phone Charge Kit and a copy of the book, but really, you're in it for the offensive solar-powered stuffed octopus. (sea creature plush toy is at our discretion; a haddock, mantis shrimp, coho salmon, and octopus are all under consideration)Estimated delivery:
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Make Your Mark On Solar--For the first year of Solar Pocket Factory production, you'll get a 1" x 1" space on the back of every panel we ship, and you can fill that space with any image, pattern or text you wish (must be classy). We'll be laser-marking the backs of each solar panel the pocket factory produces to mark down the power output and quality check of the panel, and we'll use this same laser to mark down the image you provide, as well. Naturally, you also get the Solar Phone Charge Kit, a signed copy of the Solar Pocket Factory Book, and something pretty and undisclosed.Estimated delivery:
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0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)
World's Best Solar Pocket Party!! We will bring the Solar Pocket Factory to any city, village, or pastureland on this wonderful planet of ours. And we're gonna rent out that pastureland, apartment, industrial building, or airplane hanger (depends on location). And we're gonna throw a two-day solar energy party unheard of since Helios drank so many photons he had to change his name to Apollo. But this isn't just about glorious solar bacchanal. We're gonna have a fully operational Solar Pocket Factory as a centerpiece after all, and that means we are making some solar panels. One hundred solar smartphone chargers to be exact. Made of old bottles of whiskey, 3D printed cases, coasters, potted plants -- solar craft in one giant make, with the Solar Pocket Factory. Oh, and one more thing--Here's where it will take a true visionary, a true humanitarian, and true lover of the sun to grab this reward: All the party goers are gonna paint the town solar. That means we are going to take those 100 solar chargers made in the party and peel-and-stick them around your city. Think solar charging utility, rising from the crowd! Bike racks, lamp posts, friendly coffeeshops -- wherever we can add a solar charger, we will in one glorious night of solar sharing. The idea is these chargers will be geotagged so that people in your town can find them whenever they need a charge. It's a giant experiment in solar power, flashmob-style. Invite up to a fifty of your closest friends -- you have to provide your own transportation and we will provide the rest. We'll be your hosts and help ensure everyone makes a functioning charger and gets them into town for all to benefit from -- and has a weekend to tell their kids about. And we'll provide all the accoutrements that come with a party of this magnitude. + some surprises. We may be geeky, but we know how to throw invention parties. Search "TacoCopter Party" for reference. This reward can be fulfilled anytime between June - Dec 2013; we will do our best to match your schedule request, but message us if you have a very specific date in mind right now so we can confirm it will workEstimated delivery:
- (30 days)