About this project
Hello Kickstarter! Thanks for visiting our project page and helping take B-Squares from prototype to product.
This project started on January 26, 2011 with a quick sketch while both myself and Shawn were trying to prototype another solar product. We were getting frustrated that it was so difficult to integrate solar energy into our professional and for-fun ‘electric graffiti’ projects. So, after three months of intense development, with B-Squares we now think we have a technology that can bring solar, energy storage, and interactivity into a range of projects, instantly. And we need your help to complete the journey.
B-Squares is a 3D modular electronics system with an emphasis on (but not limited to) solar power and expandable energy storage. Each Square has a magnetic contact on each of the corners which allows the Squares to easily snap together without wires. The magnetic contacts are also used to transmit electric signals between the Squares. This design allows users to quickly assemble Squares into arrays, with power flowing through the array via the corner contact, without wiring or soldering. Also, due to the use of multiple magnetic contacts on each Square, the overall circuit of the array can quickly be changed simply by rotating one of the Squares – for instance, the color of the LED Square can change with a flip or a rotation.
What is “3D” about B-Squares? The Squares aren't restricted to being connected side-to-side in a single plane, but can also be stacked on top of or perpendicular one another. Think of it like a deck of electric cards that you can use to make 2D or 3D card houses and have the electricity flow through the entire array.
From the moment we developed the first crude foam prototypes of B-Squares, we were surprised to discover new applications and combinations of Squares each day. We’d Skype each other at each new discovery:
“Woah, did you know these things can solar charge off-the-shelf rechargeable AA batteries, through their magnetic contacts!”
“We can use aluminum foil and paperclips to make a solar-powered clock array!”
“I just made a solar-powered iPod Square!”
Versatility, portability, and simplicity were our primary goals in designing B-Squares. Our hope is that these become a tool/toy/gadget for hobbyists, students, artists and anyone that's ever said "I wonder if that could be solar-powered!?"
To get B-Squares started we designed everything from scratch and went through several design revisions using SLS rapid prototyping and precision machining processes. We settled on, and redesigned for manufacture, six different B-Squares, which we are launching here on Kickstarter:
1. Solar-Square -- Includes 0.325W Solar Panel and a non-adhesive microsuction cup material for sticking to windows and other flat surfaces.
2. Battery-Square -- Includes three (3) internal rechargeable AAA batteries.
3. LED-Square -- Includes three (3) multi-color Light Emitting Diodes (LED).
4. Arduino-Square -- Includes a 3.3V Arduino Pro compatible microcomputer with easy access to the shield ports. (Don’t know what an Arduino is? Don’t worry, we didn't at first either. If you’re curious, see the FAQs for more information on this powerful Square.)
5. iPhone-Square -- Includes iPhone/iPod dock connector, PC USB connector, and stereo outputs.
6. Proto-Square -- Includes a standard 2.54mm pitch perfboard area on the printed circuit board (PCB). (Design your own B-Square!!)
This is just the beginning. With your support we hope to begin production of these initial 6 designs immediately as well as expand the B-Square line with more new and creative B-Squares!
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