About this project
Follow us on Twitter @nixsensor
Check out our story on CHCH http://www.chch.com/grad-gets-grant/
Nix is a patent pending device that allows anyone to become a color expert. Just grab Nix from your pocket, purse, or bag, touch it to an object and magically watch the exact color appear on your iPhone, Android, PC, or Mac. Once scanned, you can keep palettes of your favorite colors, match the color to real life pigments, and even receive directions to the nearest store where you can purchase the color.
Nix is perfect for interior designers, graphic designers, model makers, makeup artists, hobbyists, photographers, fine artists, crafters, hackers, makers, museum curators, painters, land lords, and even… engineers…
Help support Nix and become a color expert today!
We first came up with the idea for Nix™ while working with a few interior design friends. They thought that lugging around tote bags filled with paint decks was a huge pain in the butt and so did we! It’s the 21st century! We didn’t think it made a lick of sense that you should have to pay hundreds of dollars for a big bulky paint deck system that only worked with one company’s paints. To make the situation worse, this expensive “solution” was still greatly affected by ambient lighting conditions and human error. We discussed the idea of a product that could solve all of these problems and everyone we spoke to in the industry thought it was a great idea, but it never really got past much more than a design on the back of a napkin until the next major milestone in our story.
A colleague of ours was doing incredible work at a local hospital with burn victims and patients with other severe skin disorders. Her business was to consult with patients and manually create custom makeup that perfectly blended with the patients’ natural skin tones. Interestingly enough, at that moment she was actually looking for an accurate and inexpensive color sensor to remove the costly manual color matching routine from the procedure. It would revolutionize her business model while allowing her to help patients from all over the world. We thought this was a noble idea and it inspired us to start full time research and development on the product. There was just one problem: as recent engineering grads we didn't have the necessary funds to do the project justice.
We decided to apply for a R&D grant to help get the ball rolling. It was a grueling process as every last detail of our business plan had to be scrutinized by government analysts. After two months of revisions we finally secured the funds! It was a ton of work, but looking back it was worth it just to come out with such a rock solid business plan. The grant allowed us to hire our first employee and set us into motion working our asses off doing science.
Six months after our initial funding, hundreds of Red Bulls, too many man tears, and countless prototypes later, the final Nix prototype that you see in this campaign was born.
Currently Nix works with our development PC and we have built all the graphic assets for the iOS/Android application. We need to take the logic from the PC application and combine it with the graphic assets to finish the application.
Here is a video of Nix working with our development PC for reference.
The application allows users to actually scan an object but the fun doesn't stop there.
With your backing we will be able to finish the app!
In the final version you will be able to:
- Save a scanned color to a swatch, with notes.
- View a color in RGB, HSL, HSV, Lab, XYZ, HTML, or CMYK.
- Convert the color to a multitude of media such as: interior wall paints, oil paints, makeup, watercolor, hobby paints, wood stain, automotive paint etc.
- After you have selected a particular media you can select a particular brand.
- Get directions to the nearest store where you can buy the paint!
Our mission is simple: supply a cutting edge, intuitive, scientific grade instrument to anyone who wants to become a color expert.
Matthew Sheridan is a serial entrepreneur, sailor, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechatronics Engineering and Management. His hobbies include exploring advanced PCB manufacturing techniques, renewable energy systems, lithium polymer battery systems and watching documentary after documentary on YouTube when he should be sleeping.
Andy Li is a third-year electrical engineering student at McMaster University, specializing in electronics and control systems. He is involved with the McMaster Solar Car Project, where he does design work for the battery and telemetry systems. In his spare time, he enjoys camping trips, video games, and making burnt offerings to the circuit gods.
James Strack is a PhD student in Engineering Physics at McMaster University, specializing in nuclear safety and thermal hydraulics. He is also a technical advisor for the McMaster Solar Car Project, having previously participated as a driver and electrical systems leader for the team during the 2009 World Solar Challenge in Australia. In his spare time, James enjoys writing about himself in the third person, but is also an avid collector of vinyl records and an amateur photographer.
Innovation Factory helps advance Hamilton, Ontario’s innovation community. They serve as an inspiring, expert resource for entrepreneurs. They also foster connections across the community that accelerate growth for all.
The VentureStart program helps technology entrepreneurs in Southern Ontario by providing access to Business Skills Training as well as Business Launch Support to enhance their ability to launch and grow a new start-up venture.
We would also like to thank:
Why do we need the funding?
Manufacturing a hardware venture as advanced as Nix can become expensive. Luckily our team’s wealth of experience working on large nonprofit engineering projects helps us to keep costs down. Nonetheless, we still need to raise $35k to get this innovative product into your beautiful hands.
Here is the breakdown:
- $9,500 for the molds, and the actual injection molding process.
- $5000 to optimize the PCB for maximum Bluetooth range, battery life, and manufacturability.
- $10,000 for the PCBs, components, and assembly.
- $2000 for the high energy density lithium polymer batteries.
- $3000 to professionally recode, and launch the app.
- $2000 for Kickstarter rewards above and beyond the actual product.
- $3500 for Kickstarter fees and payment processing fees (approx. 10%)
The next few months are going to be gruelling but we are used to this level of work and we are confident that we can stay on schedule.
- Oct: Kickstarter Ends
- Select winning quote to be immortalized on our production PCB.
- Nov: Send out preliminary rewards (stickers and past prototypes)
- Dec: We will make sure the PCB is optimized for lowest power consumption and best Bluetooth range by working directly with professional RF Engineers (from the manufacturers of the individual integrated circuits).
- Once PCB is optimized we will send the PCB gerber files to be produced. We will use the same manufacturer we made the prototypes with as we are comfortable with them and they have done a very good job in the past.
- We will also optimize our diamond enclosure for manufacturability. To do this we will slightly modify the plastic wall thickness as well as add snaps to connect the lid.
- We will start production of the diamond enclosures using a North American manufacturer that we have received quotes from and samples. .
- Jan: Receive assembled PCBs and Enclosures from our manufacturers.
- We will assemble the Nix color sensors (very easy as they only have 3 large parts) and we will test each device for quality control and calibration.
- Feb: Ship Nix to all of our loyal backers :)!
Risks and challenges
As we already have a working prototype, we have already taken out a large proportion of the risk associated with hardware production. We also have all of our suppliers lined up and ready to go in Asia as well as the USA. That being said, there will always be risks associated with manufacturing, such as lost shipments, manufacturing errors, factory strikes, etc. We will also have to have our design certified by the proper government agencies. We have assembled a team of the best advisors and will take every precaution necessary to mitigate these risks.
After successful funding on Kickstarter, the iOS application will need to be professionally recoded before launch. This will ensure that our customers (you) will receive a polished product with maximum accuracy, stability, and ease of use. We have our programmers lined up and ready to go so there is very little risk other than in the actual coding process which could experience standard delays for holidays, sick days, etc.
We will be at the mercy of Apple when we submit the app to the app store so there will be some risk involved there. We will mitigate this risk by working closely with Apple to abide by all rules and streamline the process.
We will maintain a high level of communication with our backers throughout the entire process and alert our backers of any unforeseen delays or problems as soon as we know about them.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
I already have an app on my Phone. It uses the phone's camera. Why would you need a separate sensor?
Nix is much much more accurate than the camera on your phone for two main reasons. The first is that our device is purpose built to accurately scan colors rather than being an afterthought and it is also calibrated to return exact/specific color values. The second reason is that Nix blocks out all ambient light and thus is not affected by shadows or changes in lighting conditions.
Yes they do, you get the android and the iOS apps!
We unfortunately made a typo where we only mentioned iOS but rest assured you will receive both :)
For fabrics, solid colors 100% yes. Since Nix has an aperture approx the diameter of a nickel it will average the colors within that area. If you have a very tight white and blue pattern, it will return a light blue as a result. If the pattern is bigger than a nickel then you can scan it as normal.
Haha very great question. The truth is we came up with that logo while doodling a long time ago. We liked it, and it stuck :)
I noticed a lot of smart, hot (and humble) guys on the Nix team. Is anyone on the team single and ready to mingle?
This is probably our most asked question. Unfortunately Matt is taken but you can contact James and Andy at email@example.com
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