About this project
The "Genius" Strap
The GeniusStrap is the easiest, fastest, quietest and most versatile utility strap in the universe. It is one-piece, self-locking, elastic and truly adjustable. It's more than a utility strap. It's also a GeniusShoelace.
(IMPORTANT NOTE: The GeniusStraps used in the photographs and videos are all prototypes. The consumer GeniusStrap will be way thicker, stronger, one piece, and one solid color.)
The GeniusStrap's Uses
The GeniusStrap can be used as utility strap, tie, cable/wire organizer, hair tie, flip-flop/slipper strap, lace keeper, rubberband-substitute, eyewear strap, non-slip strap, scroll/diploma holder, household tool, arts & crafts tool, fashion designer tool, math & science tool, shoelace and many more.
The GeniusStrap As A Shoelace
The GeniusStrap is also GeniusShoelace. It can turn your kicks/shoes into instant slip-ons whether you have a tiny, slim, wide or large feet. As part of my research, I heard so many people complaining about shoelaces and Velcro straps. I also experienced some of these issues myself and know some people with dexterity issues. This is where the idea of GeniusStrap came into fruition. Regular shoelaces always untie. If you want a snug fit, you have to tie and untie them in every use. Loose laces are especially hazardous to kids. When kids play their Velcro shoe straps in class, it can be irritating to teachers. They have a lot to teach so let's give them less stress. Most complaints about slip-ons are either they are too loose and too tight. Research shows long-term effects of wearing too loose or too tight footwear. The GenuisStrap solves these problems by being truly adjustable.
(IMPORTANT NOTE: The GeniusStraps used in the photographs and videos are all prototypes. The consumer GeniusStrap will be way thicker, stronger, one piece and in one solid color.)
Two or three GeniusStraps are more than enough to lace up one shoe. You can add new lacing patterns that nobody has ever seen before. You can also cut the Genius Strap to have a custom shoelace length.
The GeniusStrap's Background
At work, my laces always untie almost everyday. Most of it happened in restrooms. I think I only noticed them there because I'm always staring at my computer screen. When you have deadlines or meetings, every second counts. Also imagine the bacteria that we carry along when we wear our shoes inside the house especially when an infant is crawling around. From what I have observed from other people, first borns were or are treated like they the most delicate human being in the world. I'm no different. So I thought to myself that this is a problem and this needs a solution.
My first criterion for the product was simplicity. My initial idea was to make it a coil-type that wraps around the bows and secures it. I researched and pondered. I bought a oven-bake ready clay from an arts and crafts store. Created a crude clay mold and baked it. This was my first time using a gas oven and had a slight fear of something catching on fire. Placed cut pieces of regular rubberbands into the deformed oven-baked clay mold, baked it, it was not a pretty site, and it had a very hazardous smell that stunk the house. I threw it in the garbage.
After this initial experiment and because I'm left-handed, I added "ambidextrous design" to the criteria list. You can use any hand or any direction. No manuals needed.
Bought Shapelets (stretchy band design system where you can bake supplied rubberbands into shapes similar to Silly Bandz). Baked and burnt some rubberbands. Baked, melted and burnt some more. Baked, made and just kept curly flimsy coil.
Researched silicone and molds. There were too many steps, time consuming, expensive, and too much extra materials just to create a small and simple prototype.
Tied knots on single regular rubberbands at regular intervals. They worked but very crude design.
Researched and pondered some more. Rummaged through the pantry and found few great quality rubberbands that were used as produce ties. Those were for broccolis. Bought quarter-inch rubberbands. Searched arts, crafts, school and office supplies stores and bought a regular hole-puncher but it was not very sharp and effective. It was the type that's used to punch train ticket holes. Searched the web, found and bought revolving six-spoke hole puncher. It was the near perfect tool. Punched holes on rubberband and its body looked good. Knotted each ends, worked great but ends design was not market ready.
Researched for better end designs and materials, found and bought self-setting rubber, Sugru. Punched holes at both ends and placed the self-setting rubber spheres/balls around ends. I waited for around 24 hours just to make sure it was really set and tried strapping the shoelace bows. It worked and looked great!
Researched 3D printing options but they were too expensive and the material won't be as flexible and tougher as rubber. Researched existing products, their strengths and weaknesses.
Came across elastic shoelaces, their strengths and weaknesses. Experimented with different sizes, widths, lengths and uses.
It was an easy choice for the strap's product name because the strap's utility more than exceeded my expectations. I said to myself "It's genius!" so I called it the "GeniusStrap."
While I was doing the product development, I was also developing the website's landing page. Last year, I became a TIMEOCer. Technology Innovators Monetizing & Executing - Orange County (TIMEOC) is meetup group that was started to help people get technology ideas made into reality. Mastermind format and is run by a great and very knowledgeable person, Jeff Duncombe. While getting positive and negative feedback from others, I also give others the same thing thus helping my and their projects.
For those of you who are planning or developing your products/ideas, get feedback as early as you can so if it's not worth pursuing then you can do or pivot into other productive and better things.
One of my biggest challenge was determining which size/configuration to choose first. Research never ends. Finally, I decided to choose the size with the most utility and most importantly, a shoelace replacement that transforms a regular shoe into a slip-on. Specially great for people with dexterity problems.
I already got quotations from rubber manufacturing companies and in one of the TIMEOC meetings, I met Dr. James R. Zarian, PhD, MBA who knows about polymers and other great stuff. We talked and discussed further the green benefits. We both went to a manufacturing company a few days later. After doing more research including material feature and benefit comparisons, I found out that rubber is expensive and requires more production steps. I decided to go with another elastomer material for its strength, durability, recyclability, UV resistance, color vibrance, simple production process, etc.
One of the GeniusStrap's Great Feature
Even if the GeniusStrap is cut (accidental or not,) it still works! You can link the cut pieces together and still have a good working length that's close to the original.
The GeniusStrap's Dimensions
As noted, the GeniusStraps used in the photographs and videos are all prototypes. The consumer GeniusStrap will be way thicker, stronger, one piece, and one solid color. Genius Strap's length will be slightly over 7 inches, similar to a regular rubberband's circumference, and can stretch around twice its length. We can use this as a handy bracelet. Width is around a quarter inch.
As a shoelace, it can easily lace up two pairs or rows of eyelets.
The GeniusStrap's Ease And Speed
My kids, Marie Claire (MC) and Elijah Ollince (EO) were able to fasten using the GeniusStrap in one count and unfasten even before I can finish saying "one." It is also very easy to link up two or more GeniusStraps.
The KickStarter Genius Backers
You, the Genius Backers are the key in making the GeniusStrap a reality. Your pledges will pay for the first production including tooling. Please see the Rewards.
Your name will be forever listed in http://www.GeniusStrap.com KickStarter Genius Backers list.
Thank you very much for your life changing support!
The GeniusStrap's Creator
My name is Lionel P. Castro. I was born in the Philippines. My background is in software engineering. I came to the U.S. as an I.T. consultant and worked with one of the world's largest hospitality companies and some Fortune 100 companies. I was mostly living around the East Coast and recently moved with the family here in Sunny California. I'm a Math-Science-Engineering-Technology enthusiast, invents as a hobby, and more.
I adopted and am an advocate of the the Learn Startup movement. This helps you, me and other people cut our process wastage in terms of time, money and effort. May it be personal or business processes.
I also have a complete experience with product concept, design, manufacturing through delivery.
The GeniusStrap's Production Plan
I had experience with my previous company, design to delivery of playing cards which were manufactured overseas and fulfilled here in the U.S.
This time, the GeniusStraps will all be "Made in the U.S.A." Everything will happen and be done here locally in California to prevent delays and ensure quality. No outsourcing to other countries. I have chosen an experienced company that already manufactured some of the successful KickStarter funded products. The funds will be used to pay for the tooling and first production run. GeniusStraps will be injection molded and it's one solid piece so there should be no complications.
Sampling will be done to test quality. If quality passes then full production starts.
For this project, I will personally fulfill the orders so I'll know the issues first hand and immediately remediate them. Wishfully thinking, I can hire family and friends if ever I cannot cope up. After the GeniusStraps are delivered to me, I'll pack them in USPS boxes and ship them to you, the Genius Backers. Free shipping is provided for U.S. addresses only.
Here's the timeline:
(NOTE: A delay buffer was added. If all goes well then delivery may happen in July.)
The GeniusStrap Possible Color Choices
(NOTE: The color choices below are not final.)
Please tell all your family members, relatives, friends, colleagues or whoever so we can have more color choices.
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Spend Your Time On What Matters To You Most
I used this phrase because I really believe that the GeniusStrap will save a us a lot of our and other people's time. The time that can be spent with our love ones and the time to spend on doing more productive things.
Risks and challenges
I designed the GeniusStrap as simple as possible so there should be no delays in tooling. It will be "MADE IN THE U.S.A." so there's no need for out of the country factory delivery.
The number of color choices will depend on the project's total pledge amount.
The color list will be provided after the project is successfully funded. Red is the GeniusStrap's signature color.
If total is $10,000 or more and below $25,000 then a minimum of 3 colors can be chosen including Red. The other two or more colors need to be voted on.
If total is $25,000 or more and below $50,000 then a minimum of 8 colors can be chosen including Red. The other seven or more colors need to be voted on.
If total is $50,000 or more then we will have a maximum of 18 colors to choose from including Red. There's no need to vote.
Please tell all your family members, relatives, friends, colleagues or whoever so we can have more color choices.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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