About this project
$120K: Graphical authoring software
Clyde comes with switchable modules, and is programmable via the Arduino IDE, but we’d like to add even more easy-to-use customization abilities. If we hit $120,000 in funding, we’ll create a graphical user interface for authoring your own light sequences, and associating them with trigger events from our personality modules.
For example, Clyde’s “Afraid of the Dark” module triggers a sunset sequence when you turn the lights off. But what if you want him to just glow yellow until you turn him off? Or flash pink for five minutes? Our authoring software would allow you to create these new behaviors by simply dragging and dropping sequences of colors, with no programming required.
We’d expect this authoring software to ship in March 2014, as an upgrade to Clyde.
$150K: Clyde gets an internal clock
Clyde reacts to his environment, but wouldn’t it be awesome if he could respond to the time of day? If we hit the $150,000 reward level, we’ll embed clock software into Clyde along with easy-to-use authoring software for time-based behaviors. Here are a few things this would enable you to do (even if you don’t want to program):
• Make Clyde chime every hour, half hour, or 15 minutes.
• Make Clyde turn on automatically when you want to wake up in the morning.
• Make Clyde shine in different colors depending on the time of day.
We’d expect this software to ship in May 2014, as an upgrade to Clyde.
He’s a kind of a character. Clyde is a versatile, expressive lamp that’s made to be tinkered with. Here’s what he’s got going for him:
- Unique, organic design, crafted from high-quality materials.
- High-intensity, energy-efficient LED task lighting. At about 6W, our LEDs output more light than a 40W incandescent.
- Soft, colorful ambient lighting.
- Point him where you want: Bendy legs can rest on or hang off of almost anything.
- You decide: add "personality modules" to make Clyde react to his environment in different ways.
- Arduino compatible and easy to program to do whatever you want.
Clyde is the first offering from Fabule Fabrications.
In the Press
"Clyde’s makers, Fabule, were among the standouts from a largely impressive group of startups, considering few were little more than an idea just 15 weeks ago... Fabule’s Amanda Williams said that she wanted to create an object that was “not just smart but expressive and delightful”. It’s a nice contrast to the more staid, robotic spins on the smart home."
"The Clyde Lamp is best described in a few words as cute, clever, and quirky. It is a great conversation piece for your desk or home that has a multicolored LED light with a bright personality."
Lots of personality
At Fabule we think that “smart” things are great, but we also need warmth, welcome, personality, and creativity. Our home is a place for the people, pets and things that we love. Clyde is the kind of device that we’d want to invite in.
We spent a lot of time designing a delightful, quirky personality. Our whole process was driven by questions like: what does he look like when he’s laughing? Purring? Sleepy? As you get to know Clyde better, you'll be able to shape his behavior by adding and changing his "personality modules".
How to use Clyde
- Touching Clyde's squishy silicone "eye" will turn him on and off, and switch between ambient and task lighting.
- Touching Clyde's legs will make his ambient light cycle through many colors. Stop touching him when you find the color you want.
- We also supply an "afraid of the dark" personality module that will make Clyde sensitive to ambient light levels. Install it to make him light up softly for a while when the room goes dark.
We've mentioned these "personality modules" that you can give to Clyde. Here's what that means. Clyde responds in certain ways to his owner and environment: to your touch, to light levels, etc. His personality modules contain sensors that allow him to perceive all this stuff, and respond accordingly. You get to use these to determine how he acts. Don't worry! It's all very easy.
Easy to customize
Even if you don’t know anything about programming or using sensors, you can simply twist off Clyde’s top, pop in a new personality module, and then close him back up.
We will deliver Clyde with the following personalities for you to choose from:
- "Afraid of the dark": A small light sensor attaches to the end of Clyde's leg, covered by one of his translucent silicone feet. When the room goes dark, Clyde will light up in a sequence of gorgeous sunset colors, then over the course of 20-30 minutes he'll slowly fade into sleep.
- "Touchy feely": A touch sensor inside Clyde's head attaches to his legs and makes them touch sensitive. When you touch him steadily, he'll cycle through all of his colors. You should also tickle his legs and see what happens.
At the $150 reward level, we'll give him a voice and infinite customization abilities, too!
- We're currently developing a "Loudmouth" module with a small speaker to allow Clyde to make some sounds.
- We will also supply a "Multiple Personalities" module with a mini-breadboard, so you can add your own sensors and personality designs to Clyde.
We'll do our best to support your tinkering efforts, and that starts with choosing an easy and freely available programming platform for anyone interested in customizing Clyde at such a deep level.
If you do want to program, or to learn how, Clyde is Arduino-compatible, which means you have endless possibilities and great community support. He’ll work with any standard Arduino shield, so you can set him up with Wifi, Bluetooth, or XBee connectivity.
You’re not limited to our personality modules either. With just a little bit of coding, you can add LEDs to the ends of his legs, accelerometers or microphones inside him, and anything else you can think of. We're committed to creating great documentation to support all of our fellow tinkerers.
Limitless Tinkering Possibilities
Want to add and program your own sensors? Here are a few ideas...
Add an XBee shield for easy local wireless communication. Control Clyde from your computer: turn him on and off with a button press, or choose his color with a click of your mouse.
Add a moisture sensor at the tip of one of Clyde's hollow legs. Run the wires up into his head and get him to glow red when your plant needs water.
- Add an accelerometer and make Clyde wake up when you shake him.
- Or with that same accelerometer, make Clyde change color when you tilt him.
- Add a WiFi shield (or a Spark Core!) to hook Clyde up to the internet and make him display stock market activity, today’s temperature or air quality, or just blink when you have new mail.
Limited Edition Wooden Clyde
We're planning to make a limited run of 100 wooden Clydes, CNC milled from cherry wood and finished in tung oil for a warm natural glow. Each wooden Clyde will be engraved with a number out of 100.
Changes from the current prototype
The prototype that you see in the video and photos here is very close to what the final product will look like. We are planning to make the following improvements to Clyde before delivering him to our backers:
- The piece on the lower portion of Clyde's body, which contains the high-power white LEDs, will be made from aluminum instead of plastic. This will dissipate the heat generated by the LEDs, which is the leading cause of shortened LED life.
- We've already received manufacturer samples of different colors of gooseneck to use for Clyde's legs. In the video, and in most of the photos, his legs are brass. If you back us, you'll be able to choose brass or black legs for Clyde -- just send us a message telling us which you want.
- Did you notice how Clyde has five legs in the video? We'll deliver him with six.
- Clyde's head will come off with a simple twist. For the limited edition wooden version of Clyde, we'll use magnets.
- We're working with a lamp manufacturer to add a 38 degree lens to Clyde, for a great focused, bright task light.
- We've also sourced 12V direct current power supplies, so you won't end up with the thick cord that sometimes appears in the video.
We're pretty detail-oriented about making sure that you receive a really awesome, high-quality, durable product.
Amanda Williams is one half of Fabule Fabrications. She's in charge of creating beautiful interactions and hardware. She has a PhD in Information and Computer Sciences and has worked at Xerox PARC, Adobe, Intel, and Microsoft Research. She has been accused of eating like a trucker.
Bruno Nadeau is the other half Fabule Fabrications, in charge of product design and software wizardy. With a degree in Computation Arts, he's made some gorgeous physical computing pieces, and can fix a rice-cooker with a toothpick and a strip of duct tape.
- Arduino-compatible "brain" with LED drivers.
- RGB LED strip.
- High-power white LEDs.
- Infrared interrupt board (detects when you press on Clyde's silicone "eye").
- "Touchy Feely" personality module with MPR121 capacitive touch sensor.
- "Afraid of the Dark" personality module with photoresistor.
- Optional: "Loudmouth" personality module with mini speaker.
- Optional: "Multiple Personalities" module with mini breadboard.
- Power Consumption (white LEDs):6.5W
- Brightness (white LEDs): 600 Lumens, 3 Cree XPGs at 200 lumens each.
- Power Consumption (tri-color LEDs): 4.2W
- Arduino Compatible
- Power: 12V DC, comes with cable and wall wart.
- Body: An alloy of ABS and polycarbonate plastics. (Or, for the limited edition Clyde, cherry wood.)
- Eye: Shore 60 translucent silicone.
- Feet: Shore 20 translucent silicone.
- Legs: 30 cm steel goosenecks.
- Screws and nuts for fastening Clyde's eye and legs, respectively.
- The limited edition wooden Clyde will also contain magnetic fasteners.
Brand New Photos!
(as of June 8)
We had a request in the comments to show photos of the newest Clyde prototype (with the aluminum LED enclosure) with lights on and off. You ask, and we supply! These were cropped and resized in Photoshop, but we haven't retouched them in any other way. We photographed him in our office, with windows open during full daylight, and all of our overhead lights on. Also, his arms are up in the air because he's super excited that he just got funded.
We’ll ship in November and December of 2013. Here’s our schedule:
- June: Refinements to product, optimizing for manufacturability.
- July: Finalize our arrangements with light, PCB, and enclosure manufacturers.
- August: Order all the necessary components.
- September - October: Assembly and quality assurance.
- November: Ship Clyde with "Touchy Feely" and "Afraid of the Dark" personality modules.
- December: Ship Deluxe Clyde with all of the above, plus additional "Loudmouth" and "Multiple Personalities" modules.
We have already spent three months in Shenzhen prototyping and establishing relationships with manufacturers. We have a supplier lined up for Clyde's legs, and have already selected manufacturers for his body and internal electronics.
A few notes for our international backers: You may get charged customs and duties fees if you're outside the United States. Make sure you know what you usually get charged in your own country, since it will be your responsibility to cover these fees.
Clyde's power supply has a Type A plug, which is typically used in the United States and parts of Asia. If we have enough UK or European backers to meet a minimum order quantity for another plug type, we’ll go for it. Either way, we'll keep you posted during our development process.
If you're in Canada, we'll ship to you for no additional cost over US shipping. Simply select the "US" backing option. We'll still deliver Clyde to all our backers up in the True North Strong and Free!
If you're short on cash but you want to support us anyway, let us give you an idea of what our thank you gifts look like at the $10-$30 level:
Paul Detjen from PCDProductions made our amazing video. And many thanks to Sean McCabe for the adorable logo! Angela Gabereau has ensured that our website is in great shape, and Silvia Lindtner helped us figure out Shenzhen and get over some language barriers. All of these people were an absolute joy to work with. Our work on Clyde would not have been possible (at least not at this level of quality in such a short time) without the help and mentorship we received at HAXLR8R.
Risks and challenges
Backing a project on Kickstarter always carries some degree of risk inherent in product development. You're investing in us, so we want to do everything we can to minimize that risk.
The biggest risk in any product design project is that it will come time to mass-produce a prototype, and we'll discover that some aspect of it is a poor fit for production methods like injection-molding or vacuum forming. We've already been working to minimize this by doing our prototyping in Shenzhen, at the very center of our supply chains. This means that we've already spent a couple months collaborating with factory engineers during the prototyping phase, and designing for manufacture and assembly from the very beginning. They have already approved our current models as manufacturable.
The opportunity to visit factories has also given us a chance to check out the premises and ensure that we're only collaborating with businesses that provide decent working conditions. If we smell gross fumes without ventilation, don't see safety procedures posted, see people working in poor lighting or eating at their workstation because they don't have anywhere to take a break, we don't work with that manufacturer.
Another risk, for projects involving hardware, involves changes in the availability and lead-time of our electronic components. This is mitigated partly by the fact that we've been able to prototype with the very components we'll use in production. We have also been working with Seeed Studio (http://www.seeedstudio.com), which has extensive experience helping entrepreneurs produce electronics, and who can provide us with some guidance regarding cost and availability of components.
If this project is successfully funded, we'll be able to return to Shenzhen for 4-6 weeks to oversee production and quality assurance, working face to face with our manufacturers in order to discover and solve any problems very quickly. In all matters we will keep lines of communication with our backers open, and update you about any developments.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The Electronic Kits (both the regular and Deluxe) contain only the electronics, power supply, and the aluminum piece (which dissipates heat from the LEDs). They do not include the plastic enclosure or legs. These kits are intended for backers who are pretty comfortable making stuff themselves -- the aluminum piece can be attached to your own creations with normal screws.
If you want Clyde in all his weird, jellyfish-like glory, as pictured in the video, he will deliver at the $120 reward level.
We use a power supply that gives us 12V DC into the lamp, and works with 110-240V, 50-60Hz AC. That should work anywhere in the world, at least everywhere we've ever been.
At worst, you’ll need an adapter (but NOT a transformer) for the shape of the plug. However, we will do our best to negotiate favorable miminum order quantities for our power supplies, enabling us to buy several different plugs for different regions. This is something we shouldn’t make promises about until we work out the breakdown of all our backer locations, but it is the exact sort of thing we’ll include in our updates during the fulfillment process.
No, you’re not.
We'd never actually seen or read War of the Worlds, so we didn't realize at first that there was a resemblance. We were drawing our design inspiration from marine invertebrates, like octopuses and jellyfish, to create shapes that were organic without quite being anthropomorphic. We’re probably not the first people ever to think of that trick. :) We’ve also heard that Clyde looks a bit like the Sentinel from the Matrix Trilogy.
We maintain, however, that Clyde will only turn into an evil predator if you feed him after midnight.
We threw at least 30 different names onto a piece of paper, including "jellyfish" in several different languages, several plays on the word "lucid", every possible variation on the latin root for "light", and some really anthropomorphic pet names. Then we argued about it for a long time. Then we'd ask other people, and argue some more with them. "Clyde" was the name that we ended up liking best collectively, since it's cute and personable and feels like a good pet name.
We've noticed that people sometimes associate the name with Clydesdale horses, which is cool. We like the association with a working animal, since we're aiming for something in a similar vein: a useful device that also inspires care and affection.
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