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This DIY kit helps analyze materials and contaminants. We need your help to build a library of open-source spectral data.
This DIY kit helps analyze materials and contaminants. We need your help to build a library of open-source spectral data.
This DIY kit helps analyze materials and contaminants. We need your help to build a library of open-source spectral data.
1,633 backers pledged $110,538 to help bring this project to life.

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    1. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on December 16, 2013

      Et Tu Erik?
      We shipped out your screws today.
      ~Noah Hochman
      Public Lab Fulfillment

    2. Erik Ashby on December 13, 2013

      Missing the Screws as well...

    3. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on November 22, 2013

      Yikes Rob! looks like your kit missed our quality control check. We'll get everything in the mail immediately.

    4. Missing avatar

      Rob Engler on November 21, 2013

      Hi Jeffrey, I just got my kit in the mail. Looks good! I got most of the way through assembly before realizing I didn't have long thin double-sided stickies (so I cut up the square white ones) nor could I find a bag with the screws in it. Can I get the screws sent to me so I can finish this up, please?

    5. Lisa Thorell on November 15, 2013

      Hi @jeffrey. FYI I didn't receive mine yet for iOS.

    6. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on November 14, 2013

      Yours shipped yesterday. I've sent you a private message with your tracking #. As jeff said, except for a few problematic addresses all the kits are in the mail.


    7. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on November 14, 2013

      I believe so -- I left a message for the Portland shipping team this morning and we'll see what they say. My understanding was that only those backers with accents and other characters (which KS does not handle well) have not yet been shipped too, pending collecting their finalized, corrected info by email. Yours should have been and I'll ask for the mailing logs to confirm.

    8. Brett Trout on November 14, 2013

      Have all the kits been shipped?

    9. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on November 13, 2013

      @morten - I'm sorry you're not happy; what about the build quality are you dissatisfied with? Surface finish? Was your device malformed? If so, we are happy to ship you a replacement part.

      The smartphone spec is not as shiny as an iPhone, we admit, but it is a very high precision device if assembled correctly -- our most precise yet, by wavelength resolution. I think it's a little unjust to call it "junk"; we designed it for functionality, not aesthetics.

      I also want to help if you aren't finding information on how to use it with your phone. Did you go to Were you able to click on the "Capture" button and see the upload page? What trouble did you encounter? Note that there is a discussion list with hundreds of other DIY spectrometrists ready to help you troubleshoot -- you can sign up from your dashboard, and if you explain your problem, I'm sure we can help you resolve it.

      If you are having trouble, we'd like to help, but please keep things civil. Our community is built on collaboration and respect.

    10. Missing avatar

      Morten Hedegaard on November 13, 2013

      I've just received the smartphone edition. The build quality is pretty crappy, and I cant figure out how to actually get it to work with my phone. There's no information on this, at least I can't find it.
      Really regretting spending 75$ on this junk. Should have got the webcam edition instead...

    11. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on November 12, 2013

      @beppox - Hi - some browsers don't yet have a feature for changing which camera you're using; but if you go to, you can select or take a photograph with the native camera app. I hope browsers will continue to upgrade and improve their webcam support.

      @Lisa - yes, all smartphone spectrometers are shipping - they are compatible with *all* smartphones with a rear-mounted camera, although they are sized best for an iPhone-like phone, and live capture is only available on Android (Chrome/Opera) until other browser makers fully implement the new webcam API.

    12. Lisa Thorell on November 11, 2013

      Clarification on iphone support here: Only iphone 5?

    13. Lisa Thorell on November 11, 2013

      Hmm.. forgive me if this farther down the thread..but are the iphone spectrometers available yet? ETA?

    14. Missing avatar

      Beppox on November 10, 2013

      I received my Smartphone Spectrometer but when I go to I can't take photo with the smartphone camera (only with the front camera -Nexus 4-).
      I do something wrong?

    15. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on November 6, 2013

      Yes -- *most* of the kits should be shipped by now. We will also post an update when they are *all* shipped, but we are waiting on responses from some folks with accents and other characters in their names (Kickstarter did not handle those well).

    16. Brett Trout on November 6, 2013

      Any update on shipping?

    17. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on October 24, 2013

      Update: Packing and shipping has been in full swing for a few days now; everyone is understandably pretty busy but we will do a more formal update as soon as we catch our breath!

      Animated gif of lots of shipping labels and cardboard boxes:


    18. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on October 15, 2013

      Yes. Noah and Mathew tell me that all parts are now at the Portland space and are ready to be packed. I've requested a photo and will post as soon as I get it. Exciting!

    19. Brett Trout on October 1, 2013

      Did you receive the backpacks?

    20. Brett Trout on September 22, 2013

      Great. Thanks for the update.

    21. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on September 21, 2013

      Hi, Brett -- sorry, i was traveling over the past few days, but good news! Louis sent us a tracking # on Thursday for estimated 9-day shipping. Not the originally promised ship date but we are happy to have it on the way. We're seeing "3 business days left" on the UPS tracking page.

      We've also ordered mini screwdrivers to help folks assemble their devices quickly. The molded parts may now beat those to Portland, but that's OK -- we can still begin boxing.

    22. Brett Trout on September 20, 2013

      ProtoEdge promised a turnaround time of 3-4 weeks 7 weeks ago. Any word on whether they have shipped the backpacks?

    23. Brett Trout on September 12, 2013

      Thanks for the update.

    24. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on September 11, 2013

      No, in fact... today they said they've been running samples and have an issue with "swirling" -- an aesthetic issue only. As we'll be covering that surface with an adhesive label, we responded immediately that it wasn't a problem and that we'd like them to proceed with the run.

      Fingers crossed that they'll still be out the door shortly.

    25. Brett Trout on September 11, 2013

      Has ProtoEdge confirmed they shipped the backpacks?

    26. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on September 7, 2013

      Update: Louis just emailed me saying they'll be shipping "early next week" which is a little disappointing but not too bad IMO. More as it unfolds.

    27. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on September 4, 2013

      Yep, Louis said to expect them shipped on Friday the 6th, and to take 9 days to arrive (it's a big shipment). Instructions are being printed now, too. If we hear more, we'll update you as well; I hope they'll keep to that schedule, though.

    28. Brett Trout on September 4, 2013

      Any idea when ProtoEdge might have the molding completed?

    29. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on August 27, 2013

      ProtoEdge shipped them yesterday, overnight -- so they should arrive today. We'll photograph and post then -- also, Mathew's been doing build photos using grating material and such, so we should have more details on assembly soon as well. Thanks for your continued patience!

    30. Brett Trout on August 27, 2013

      How did the nylon samples look?

    31. Brett Trout on August 21, 2013

      Thanks for the update.

    32. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on August 20, 2013

      I believe so, yes -- I am speaking with them in a couple hours because -- very exciting -- sample molded parts just arrived via overnight shipping:

      Bigger update soon once we hear from them about final details!

    33. Brett Trout on August 20, 2013

      Is ProtoEdge still confident it can make Monday's promised four week turnaround deadline?

    34. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on August 15, 2013

      @Jeff Flowers - the smartphone spectrometer is designed to fit most phones -- we've sized it so that no matter where the camera is on your phone, should still work, and if you want a removable one (likely) you can adhere it to a phone case which fits your phone. It works especially well on the iPhone, however, so I hope you'll be pleased.

    35. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on August 15, 2013

      Hello Matt - I'm worried that your messages are increasingly attempts to harass us into issuing a refund, and that saddens me. We have acted in good faith and have provided regular updates on the progress of the project, and the backpack spectrometers will be shipping shortly. It has taken a long time, however, and I understand that you're frustrated.

      Initially the staff was split about refunding you, since Kickstarter is "not a store", and your support was not used simply to manufacture the backpack spectrometer which is currently in production, but also to support the development of, the mailing lists and community,, all of the other spectrometers we've designed and delivered, and much more. As a result, we (the staff of the nonprofit) reached a consensus not to issue you a refund, and told you so, respectfully.

      However, it seems to me that you are not interested in any of what we do at Public Lab, or what our community is trying to achieve together, and were really just looking for a product -- one which you are not interested in waiting any longer to receive. This is understandable and fair. Therefore, I think that the best thing for us to do at this point is to send you a check for $65 (or $75 if you do not also want a foldable spectrometer -- we weren't aware that yours did not arrive) and to part ways.

      It sounds like you have a great deal of knowledge about injection molding. I wish that we had been able to collaborate to develop this device, in the way that we have with so many other Public Lab contributors. Maybe some day that will be possible. In the meantime, please accept my apologies once again for upsetting you.

      Please be well,

    36. Missing avatar

      Matt on August 14, 2013

      They've already gone into tooling which means they designed something and who knows what it fits. You certainly can't revise the design now. Responding to Jeffrey, it is immature to blame toolmakers for refusing to take a project on- viewing your files they're very primitive, no offense, when it comes to an injection molded part, so I'm sure they found plenty of geometry that wouldn't work and probably offered to fix the problems for the regular going rate (since they are doing work for you). Molding is expensive, as is tooling and designing and everything else, but it doesn't give you an excuse for not delivering, which is why I would like a refund, because I do not have what I was promised.

      Plenty of other Kickstarters who didn't deliver have given refunds either out of realizing they did not deliver, had poor media exposure, or were legally compelled to do so. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

    37. Jeff Flowers on August 2, 2013

      Thanks again for the regular updates - things happen, and it makes me feel good just knowing that you're keeping us up to date.

      One question - and may be a bit pre-mature - will there be an option for folks to select a backpack for the android Vs. iPhone users. (My votes for an iPhone ;-) )

      Cheers, Jeff

    38. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on July 18, 2013

      Hi, Matt - I'm sorry you're disappointed. I know you backed for the molded plastic "backpack" model, and that's been the reward which has taken longest to make. Over the past 8 months, thousands of people have used a spectrometer for the first time because of this project. But we apologize -- essentially every other backer has gotten their rewards -- for the most part, on time -- and the injection molding process has been a complete nightmare.

      The designs have been sent back to us for revision *dozens* of times, and the companies we've worked with have not been very helpful or responsive. We are working hard to get this last reward completed.

      That said, I do think it's unfair to paint the whole project with the same brush -- many of the other devices are on their second or even third revision already, contributions to are regular and plentiful, and we've built a solid community of DIY scientists at

      Still, we are as frustrated as you with this last reward -- and the injection molding process as a whole. We can only humbly apologize and ask you to be understanding as we continue to work with the molding company.

    39. Missing avatar

      Matt on July 18, 2013

      I'm really underwhelmed at how poorly this has gone. I hate to be critical of a project I was once interested in but perhaps they jumped into territory they had no experience in and cannot fulfill the idea.

    40. Brett Trout on July 6, 2013

      Thanks for the update.

    41. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on July 5, 2013

      Hi, Brett - the files are at the molders (we have had to choose a new company) and we are expecting to hear from them either today or Monday. In the meantime we've been ordering boxes, packaging, etc to be sure everything else is ready, but this process has been so rocky that we're just crossing our fingers and hoping that this is the last revision. We will of course post as soon as we hear from them. If we ever do another molding project we're definitely going to hire a professional injection molding designer to help us anticipate these kinds of pitfalls.

      Thank you for your patience.

    42. Brett Trout on July 5, 2013

      Any update on the backpacks?

    43. Brett Trout on May 23, 2013

      Great. Thanks for the update.

    44. Brett Trout on May 22, 2013

      Jeffrey, any update on the backpacks? About five weeks ago you mentioned scrambling to resolve some molding issues. I was just wondering if there was another update.

    45. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on May 8, 2013

      Indeed - and i think that you might come up with a way to not introduce any material in the beam path at all -- say, a hole in the shelf through which light passes could work if you know exactly what sample containers you'll be using.

    46. Missing avatar

      Joseph C. Ellett on May 7, 2013

      Marvelous, Jeffrey. Thank you. Those photos and list show that the countertop base uses very inexpensive off the shelf components, except for the stage, and I have some window glass and a glass cutter, so I'm thinking that might be an alternative.

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