[UPDATE] SKYMOUSE NEW!!
After countless hours of debugging, we have successfully taken out the pointers and programmed computer actions through gesture recognition!
Hi Kickstarter, my name is Eliott.
And this is the SkyMouse.
The inspiration for Skymouse lies in my lifelong search for an ever more intuitive and organic way to interact with my digital tools. As an interaction designer and avid gamer, I've always felt that my mouse tethered me to my computer, vastly limiting the digital experience. What if there were some way to cut the cord?
Although we've seen massive revolutions in almost every aspect of the digital world, the mouse has remained essentially unchanged. Considering that we spend an average of five hours every day in front of a computer screen, comfortable interaction has never been more important. Badly designed mice and touch-pads have been cited as the lead culprit in the massive rise in computer-caused carpal tunnel and arthritis.
Literally cutting the ties that bind users to their screens, SkyMouse frees you to utilize your computer in new, active ways. With SkyMouse, business presentations are more dynamic, games and drawing programs are more interactive, and every-day computer use is more ergonomic and comfortable.
Skymouse has a throwback industrial design that we think is pretty cool - but what's really unique is what Skymouse can do - and how it does it. SkyMouse uses infrared LEDs and an IR camera to track the motions of your fingers, then uses an algorithm to calculate the direction and velocity of the cursor. With SkyMouse your finger IS the mouse. And since it's plug and play, with no drivers to install and no software to learn, Skymouse is ready to use straight out of the box - just connect the USB cable, and you're good to go!
We're also releasing a devkit for hackers and tinkerers, perfect for those who want to customize the hardware through the Arduino platform. Game apps, photo apps, drawing and painting apps, the possibilities for how the SkyMouse could be used are endless.
[Behind the Scenes]
First Sketches of lens usage to maximize the field view of the IR Camera, algorithmic positional coding, and circuit notes.
After many hours debugging, soldering and testing, this was the first prototype using an arduino board in order to test the Skymouse's primal finger tracking usage.
Skymouse 1.0 "under the hood" using our custom designed board, circuit and composite frame.
While our working prototype demonstrates the principal functionality of Skymouse, we hope to use our Kickstarter capital to refine the product, both to maximize its responsiveness and to optimize the manufacturing process. Our group has access to a range of professionals across the fields of engineering and design who will help us perfect the Skymouse before it comes to market.
STEP ONE - REFINE AND PERFECT:
A circuit engineer will optimize our circuit for mass production to allow the maximally efficient manufacturing of PCB (printed circuit board). While our chip has already been designed, we will work with a software engineer to program and refine the hardware coding of the microchip. Creating a circuit board that is compatible with mass production will significantly lower our product cycle time by allowing us to create PCB "clusters" : many smaller PCBs that can be printed in one large, easier to manufacture block. This will allow us to optimally assemble components such as resistors, capacitors, microchips, IR Cameras, and LEDs.
STEP TWO - MANUFACTURE:
We are working with two manufacturing companies, one that will create our electronic components, and a second that will both manufacture the Skymouse's composite frame and assemble the final product.
Our electronics partner will create our PCBs, resistors, capacitors, microchips, IR Cameras, and LEDs. At this point, the PCBs will be tested by electronic probe, checked for shorts, opens, resistance, capacitance, and correct fabrication.
These component parts will then be packaged and shipped to a second factory that specializes in 3D printing and industrial assembly. Working from a CAD blueprint (3D modeling software), the composite frame will be manufactured and the internal parts soldered inside.
As part of the assembly cost, each Skymouse will be inspected by an AOI scan for a variety of surface feature defects such as scratches, stains, open circuits, and incorrectly placed components.
STEP THREE - BETA TESTING:
Before our first batch is shipped, Skymouse will be Beta-tested, given to a dozen initial users to ensure that it's intuitive and fully interactive. Depending on the results, final tweaks would be made at this juncture. With full access to the Harvard University labs, any final assembly tweaks will be fixed here
So that's Skymouse. We're really close to bringing it to market, but now we need your help.
We hope you'll join us.
Risks and challenges
Here are 3 possible risks and the steps I've taken to address them.
1. You might not like the SkyMouse
There's no bigger risk, and it's the reason I've put in over a year designing and tinkering with SkyMouse before bringing it to Kickstarter.
SkyMouse only matters if it changes the way you interact with your computer. My goal is for our first generation SkyMouse to serve both as a fully functional, out-of-the-box experience, and as a prototype that will continue to be refined and improved.
2. Supply line lead-time and delays
We've done our homework and we know hardware is tricky: run short on one necessary component and the whole process grinds to the halt. Each SkyMouse requires an IR camera, a micro-controller board, LED lights, and a composite frame; in preparing for a first product run, we've secured access to all our necessary component parts, ensuring a smooth manufacturing process, and an on-time delivery.
3. We might not reach our financial goal.
Hey. It's Kickstarter. We know the deal -- for every project that blows past its original project, there's another that fails to reach full funding. However, no matter how much money we raise, we are determined to put the SkyMouse into the hands of users around the world. Kickstarter is just one avenue to raise start-up capital, and one way or another, we will find a way to meet production costs for an initial run.
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