UPLIFT | A spiralling solar sculpture to soothe the soul
Feel yourself unwind
Uplift creates a never-ending geometric spiral, which is mesmerising to watch as it flows upwards or down, depending on your preference.
Waking each morning as the sun rises and resting again when it sets.
Visualising the positive energy flow of the sun by instantly and elegantly transforming its rays into electricity and into motion, calming your mind and encouraging a natural flow state by… well, just being really hypnotic.
Watch the following video to learn what, how and why this project came to be.
Uplift loves light and works best positioned on a south facing window sill, but it doesn’t need direct sunlight and will work under an overcast sky or indoors beside a lamp.
In bright sunlight the wing rotates up to around 60rpm, slowing to just under 30rpm in lower light, gently responding to the available light while keeping a calm but energetic flow on the brightest day.
The wing is suspended at the top through the glass dome by a magnet while hovering at the base, providing an exquisite, efficient and finely tuned solar powered kinetic sculpture.
There isn't really a wrong or a right way. Steam rises, whirlwinds and smoke flow upwards — molten lava, water falls and whirlpools flow down.
If you live in the northern hemisphere the sun moves clockwise across the sky, in the southern hemisphere the sun moves the other way. So it’s up to you!
Using the wand provided, and stowed in the base, you can interact with the wing direction to please yourself.
Made from recyclable materials and operating entirely by renewable means, the precision balanced solar engine silently and gracefully turns the helical wing through the day, providing a gentle accompaniment to a more environmentally balanced life.
The key to Uplift's silent and super efficient performance is the 'solar engine' - a cleverly designed rotary drive system (or motor). Unlike most motors our brush-less axial motor design has no contacts or brushes to wear out, there is also no iron in the stator making for a super smooth and low inertia start up... and it only consumes a tiny 1 MilliWatt (1000th of 1 watt) in operation!
Uplift has been designed to work for decades to come with minimal maintenance - with only one moving part (the centre shaft) and no batteries to worry about. The digital electronic control chip housed in the solar panel enclosure has been optimised to pulse the single coil at a fixed frequency at all light levels so it can't ever over-spin in bright sunshine.
The product is designed for disassembly at the end of its useful life and can be easily recycled - but in truth - we don't know how long they will work for? A lifetime? Perhaps!
It's all an experiment and this venture is as much art project as product design so we're starting by restricting our production capacity to a limited edition batch. But rest assured we know what we're doing. We've built dozens of these to refine the design and several units have been in perfect daily operation for many months.
Limited edition design hand-made with love
Hand assembled and finished just for you by creators Tom & Ben - and friends. Uplift stands at around 12 inches tall. Carefully packaged and delivered anywhere in the world late summer for the first 250 units. Pricing will be subject to shipping charges.
We are limiting overall production to 2,000 units so these will all be limited edition pieces. Let's see what happens.
Well, to make each unit relatively affordable and not super niche we need to make a mould to produce the glass jars and the minimum order run for doing so is 250 pieces. It wouldn't be practical to hand manipulate each glass dome as we have done for our prototypes.
We are comfortable with this volume too... it means we can gear up to a batch production and make advantage of bulk purchase and assembly. But no doubt, it's going to be a big job and one that we want you to be a part of... by backing this project you are enabling us to make things in a new way - you are empowering us to do it ourselves in our hometown.
If you live locally to Malmesbury, Wiltshire or you can travel this way you are more than welcome to come and complete final assembly of your own product - it's an incredibly satisfying and ultimately rewarding experience. We'll post details how if we are successful.
Normally the tendency is for Kickstarter projects to scale up straight into far eastern production. Well, this project is different - we like it too much to let it go out of reach. For now, it's the best way we can guarantee the most sustainable and ethical production line - to do it ourselves! Let's see what happens if demand rises more than a few thousand units...
Each of the first 250 units will be individually branded with it's production number and you will receive a certificate with the product to warrant your ownership. We will start at 001 for whoever backs first.
A limited edition print of Uplift is also available as a reward.
Priced at £140 - each carefully boxed Uplift includes five important parts:
1. Wing - A laser cut black walnut wing, hand finished and assembled on a steel engine rotor with brass collar and neodymium magnet array
2. Base - A velvet lined hand turned black walnut wooden base with base magnet and electronic solar module
3. Glass - A custom moulded boroscillicate glass bell jar
4. Top Magnet - A neodymium top magnet (the thing you don't want to loose)
5. Wand - A magnetic wand
All parts are easily assembled together upon unboxing. It's a delightful experience to get to know your product as you care for it, occasionally clean and interact through the seasons ahead - you'll get to know how the sun moves about your living space. We'll be sure to post lots of how-to videos when the time comes.
Engineered to last a life time. Designed for a future world with zero emissions and no such thing as waste.
Be the flow my friend :)
Our dream is that once we start making Uplift we never stop. With your support pledging and sharing this campaign on social media we might just get this beautiful project off the ground. So please help us to get the word out there.
We have a network of suppliers already established for the parts and have arranged use of a pop-up factory space in a Cotswold stone skittle alley adjoining a legendary pub. So if you're coming to collect your Uplift in person then why not stay for lunch?
Now imagine a greenhouse adjacent to the little factory full of hundreds of Uplift’s flowing in the sun, waiting to be delivered to your door.
The design and development work is done but production is paused until we finish the campaign at the end of May - at that point we can ascertain final volumes and order all components. It will take us some time to get up to speed which is why we are phasing production in batches over a few months, starting at 50, then 200, then 500, then 1000.
The image below gives a guide to our expected timings.
We have ambitiously decided that Uplift should be available to anyone, anywhere on the planet. Each boxed unit measures approximately 50 x 30 x 30 cm, weighs 1.35 kg and will contain all parts carefully packed in the best way possible for us to get it safely to your door.
Costs are as follows:
- UK | £15 Next Day Special Delivery
- Europe | £20 5-7 Days Signed & Tracked Delivery
USA | £25 5-7 Days Signed & Tracked Delivery
Rest of World | £30 7-10 Days Signed & Tracked Delivery
Tom Lawton is an award winning artist, designer, inventor and environmentalist.
Tom is a winner of the Green Dot Award (Los Angeles) for environmental excellence in product design and 100% Design Sustainability Award (London) and has been published in numerous books and magazines on sustainable design, while also appearing on BBC television as an expert in planned endurance - as well as being the star of his own Channel 4 TV series 'Tom's Fantastic Floating Home' - www.tomlawton.com.
Ben Jandrell is an eco-innovator and renewable energy specialist.
Ben is a mechanical engineer and expert in micro power generation with extensive experience across DIY and professional renewable energy projects, collaborating with Orange, Nokia, Glastonbury Festival and LG. Amongst other innovations, Ben was the technical brain behind Orange Power Wellies, which were listed amongst TIME Magazine's 50 Best inventions (2010).
Bringing a project like this in to fruition isn't easy but thankfully we have had help from these clever folk.
Matt Judkins - Strategy
Jono Taylor - Engineering
Once upon a Firewinder
If there's something about this project that feels familiar you may not be surprised to learn that Tom created a spiralling wind powered light around a decade ago. Firewinder, the original windlight was an ornamental outdoor light that captured a breeze and transformed it in to a upward spiral of light to mesmerise and delight.
Uplift is in many way a reincarnation of that idea, reborn for your home or work space and now powered by the sun. If you're interested to learn more, make yourself comfortable and read the story of how it all happened.
This project is promoted by Jellop, a direct response online advertising agency specializing in Kickstarter campaigns on Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.
Risks and challenges
We have considerable experience developing products and have taken the time to get our design right before coming to Kickstarter with Uplift.
We have a lot of experience crowdfunding here too and have found success on the platform with our Million Mile Light innovation, twice.
However, this project is different and it's a different team. Normally we take time to establish a relationship with a single manufacturing partner who orchestrates production and assembly in partnership with us but this time we are overseeing manufacturing ourselves so it's a new way of doing things.
The big risk is suppliers, not in terms of quality of parts but in terms of meeting our timescales and introducing a possible delay. All we can do is endeavour to keep you up to date with any possible delay we face and keep fingers crossed these are minimal. This is why we are releasing Uplift in batches, starting with a small run to manage delivery expectations.
Shipping glass world wide also brings a risk of being damaged but we won't let a single unit ship with out being packaged as safely as possible. The packaging will be trialled and tested to give us all complete peace of mind. We want them to arrive with you in perfect condition.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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