This project's funding goal was not reached on April 24, 2014.
About this project
Our names are Kyle, Brooks and Alex. We just thought everyone would like to know a bit about us before we get down to it.
We are all college sophomores at Western Michigan University. Kyle is in the business school and is earning himself a degree in finance, which is great for him because he loves just about anything to do with money. At the same time he is also friendly, warm and generous. He also spends a considerable amount of time with his nose in a book trying to learn something new. He's our out of the box thinker, writer and some what of a director. Alex and Brooks are both studying engineering, civil and mechanical respectively. Alex can usually be found in his room doing homework (all engineers tend to get a lot). If he is not studying, Alex might be outside, after all he is a little bit country. Alex works on our prototypes and new designs, he is also the one who thought to put flashy on Kickstarter. On the other hand Brooks spends his free time relaxing with a cigar or visiting his girlfriend. Out of the three of us, Brooks is the most organized. He keeps track of day to day operations and is in charge of coordinating production and given the proper funding, mass production as well. Anyways, there is one thing we all have in common: a love of music! It is that shared interest that led us to create flashy so that us and everyone else could enjoy a better listening experience.
This project was born mid November of 2013 from a simple thought: wouldn't it be wonderful if we could make lights in our apartment flash to the beat of our music? Although it took time and money, it turned out the answer to our question was yes and our results were down right exciting!
In any case what we have now is a product that is:
- Easy to use. flashy's design is simple, one button and three wires. You definitely don't have to be a rocket scientist to hook flashy up.
- Works surprisingly well. The effect flashy had when we plugged in a few strands of blue LEDs was powerful and dramatic.
- Flexible. Right now our flashy has blue LEDs plugged into it. However any electronic device that runs on a wall socket should work with flashy. In the past Kyle has plugged in lava lamps, regular lamps, LEDs, and even Christmas lights. All of these flashed in sync with the music.
- Fun to use. flashy is a blast to use and a real hit at parties, as well as helping to pump up your jam. If one turns on a relaxing song, flashy helps out there as well.
Start by plugging flashy into a nearby power outlet. A good wall socket is near your sound system and the device you want to flash. This way you can avoid running long speaker wires or power cords through your home.
In order to get flashy working you will need to turn it on by pressing the push button switch on top.
Step three is very easy. Now that flashy is hooked up to a power outlet and turned on, just make sure to link flashy to your sound system with speaker wire.
Now your ready to plug in a device of your choosing! It could be a lamp, a strand of Christmas lights, LEDs, really anything you can think of. However, what you can not do is plug in an excessive number of items. flashy will power thousands of LEDs but if you plug in enough incandescent bulbs they could draw to much current and break flashy.
A few lighting ideas...
Let's get flashing!
If we reach our funding goal of $5,000 (after everyone calms down) we will be able to afford our first production run. If we can pull this off all donors will be able to buy a flashy and a limited number of flashys will be for sale online! Our first stretch goal is $20,000. Meeting this goal will give us the chance to greatly increase the quality and number of production run flashys. Stretch goal number 3 is $50,000. Reaching goal number 3 will allow us to buy parts in bulk and meet our price target for flashy: $24.99! Stretch goal number 4 is a whopping $80,000. When goal 4 is meet production run flashys will come in black and white plastic as well as a more expensive wood option instead of just black plastic. This will help eliminate the need for custom flashy orders and increase the quality of mass produced flashes. It will also give us the some extra funds to begin development of a wireless version of flashy.
A look at the Internals
Below we have a clear view of flashy's insides. Out front is the potentiometer, this is the silver structure is concocted to the knob on the wooden box and is what allows for the adjustment of light levels. The large black flange is flashy's heat sink. Although it operates at low temperatures, the heat sink ensures that no amount of use will overheat critical components like the BT136 Triac. Below the two tan resistors is another essential part: the MOC3021 Opto-triac. Both triacs work to replace a solid state relay and reduces total cost of production.
It was in late December when we started working on the first flashy prototype. Over a dozen tries later we were able to develop a product that works well and is easy to manufacture. To ensure that ABK Technologies can deliver on our promise we plan to work closely with a manufacturer located nearby. This gives us added flexibility and the ability to visit the manufacturing site.
February: In February our team finished the final flashy prototype and conducted product research. After several tries we were able to develop a prototype that could be manufactured for a reasonable price.
March: The flashy kickstarter campaign is scheduled for the month of March. At the same time our team will be collecting research data on flashy for marketing purposes and raising awareness of flashy.
April: April is dedicated to ensuring that flashy is safe for all users and in compliance with any laws. April is also the month we plan on working with product designers and local artists who can help us improve on flashys looks. In late April some of our time may be used to create flashy DIY kits and fill custom flashy orders.
May: May will be spent building custom flashys, DIY kits and fulfilling our rewards program. Any contributors entitled to a flashy tee shirt may get theirs in the mail in early April.
June, July and August: We have dedicated three months to our first series of production run flashys. By dedicating ample time to this key step, our team will be ready and able to face any unforeseen production problems.
September: If all goes according to plan, the production model flashy will be made available for purchase online. Contributors with priority access will be first in line to buy a flashy.
Kicking It Forward:
Guess what everybody, Team flashy is now Kicking it Forward! What is Kicking It Forward? Well it simply means that we will put 5% of our finished product profits back into other Kickstarter projects. The fact that Kickstarter makes so many things possible for such a wide range of people is reason enough alone to do this. If you are interested you can learn more about Kicking It Forward here: http://kickingitforward.org
If you are a creator as well please consider this option for your project too.
Heres how we hope to design the T-shirts, as you can see there will be a design on both the front and back. In a few days we should have a few of the actual shirts in from our test orders.
Risks and challenges
Creating a new product and bringing it to market is never easy. Although flashy excites us, we understand that we are going to run into obstacles. Thankfully flashy is simple to make and, believe it or not, our team has developed a knack for overcoming challenges. Not only are we confidante that we can fulfill our promise, we have also agreed to make transparency one of our top goals on kickstarter. Plan on getting regular updates from the flashy team and thanks again for all your continued support.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
As much as we want to get flashys out to our European backers, the reality is that the current flashy is designed to run off the 120 volts that come out of a standard wall socket here in the US. Now that is not to say that if you live outside the US you can't get a flashy. If you were to select one as a reward you would also need to purchase a step-down transformer converting 220v to 110v because thats what flashy runs on. You should be able to buy a voltage converter for about 10 to 20 dollars. However, there is also costly shipping involved. If you live outside the US and really can't wait, we simply ask that you pay for as much of the shipping as you can. It usually ranges from about 10 dollars to ship a kit up to around 20 for the assembled flashys. We know this is an inconvenience and are sorry for that, but if you do go to such great lengths to support flashy, than let me just thank you now: you guys are a the greatest backers we could ask for!
The song we used in our video was "Two Million" by Avicii. That song was put out for free when the Avicii Facebook page reached two million likes and can be found on sound cloud. However, if you are looking to find some free songs for a project of your own, I would suggest browsing the "SuicideSheeep" youtube channel. Many artist upload music there that is free for anyone to use.
- (31 days)