Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 21.

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Protect your data and wallet with the little cloud device that does more than just file storage

Because news like this is UNACCEPTABLE...

We need a new solution...

Imagine...

A device that securely stores all of your digital content, and keeps growing as you need more storage.

A device that fosters collaboration, allowing you to synchronize or comment on documents, and automatically back up prior versions as you make changes. 

A device that hosts entire discussion boards within it, facilitating secure communication and easy socializing.

A device that creates an interactive storefront for you, with built-in payment processing, inventory management, and CRM.

A device that provides an affordable and secure alternative to using online services like Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Microsoft Sharepoint, Facebook, Amazon et al, without the complication of setting up a NAS box or your own server.

What is the Pixeom device?

Pixeom is a new kind of personal cloud device, which allows you to do more with your data. 

Each box owner is in control of a device that scales seamlessly as they need more storage space, without having to pay subscription fees or understanding how to setup and manage a server/NAS box.

Think of it as a hardware box that runs apps for you, that we refer to as "exchanges". 

You start by uploading your files, but unlike most other cloud products today, our device is not just for file storage - the exchanges do different things for you like facilitating file collaboration, or hosting discussion boards and interactive shops. You can also organize cloud playlists or broadcast your content to nearby devices!

Your device can stay private, where you just invite trusted friends to collaborate and play in a secure environment, and optionally it can join a global network of Pixeom devices, advertising their public content.

Your device can contribute to a collection of public content for anyone to browse and discover, beyond your circle of invited friends!

Interesting, tell me more...

All of your content stored on the Pixeom device is automatically encrypted with the latest security (AES-256), and you can specify all of the keys and passwords.

Hand drawn diagram of Pixeom dimensions and measurements
Hand drawn diagram of Pixeom dimensions and measurements

Each Pixeom device is expandable, so you can attach USB hard drives and connect multiple Pixeom devices together to indefinitely increase your storage space. And with multiple devices mirroring the data you never have to worry about losing anything important ever again – not to mention reducing downtime in the process.

CAD drawing of Pixeom devices stacked up and connected together
CAD drawing of Pixeom devices stacked up and connected together

The Pixeom device is designed to save you money. It is remarkably low power, and will always be a one-time cost to you. Compare that to the subscription based model of cloud storage options today, and the choice is easy.

When turned on, the internal LEDs shine through the semi-transparent top cover.
When turned on, the internal LEDs shine through the semi-transparent top cover.

No more subscription fees, no more security breaches or privacy concerns, and no more restrictions by third party service providers.  

That sounds cool, but why do I need this?

We live in an age of online services. Some of the more popular ones include Dropbox, Google Docs, and Facebook. These services are convenient and make our lives better, but they are far from perfect.

They are all built on the foundation of the datacenter. Big buildings with many servers that you connect to when you type in a URL like www.dropbox.com or www.facebook.com into your web browser. 

Datacenters cost millions of dollars to build and maintain, so the service providers need to make it worth their while. They lure us in with free stuff under the guise of making our lives easier (free cloud storage, free social networking, free picture sharing) and then find ways to take control and profit off of us later, usually by charging subscription fees or selling our personal data. In the end, everything is actually for their benefit, not the customer.

Datacenters suffer from constant security breaches, regular downtime, and lack of privacy. It's time someone brought control back to users everywhere. We should be allowed to own our data, make our own rules, and keep our privacy when we want it. So we decided to give each person their own little piece of a datacenter, that they control and can use privately, or choose to publish content to a free global network. Let's challenge the datacenter together.

Technical Specifications

The underlying computer board is a Raspberry Pi, to which we have added the storage and created a custom enclosure. The Raspberry Pi features the following specs (with our added internal storage):

  • Embedded Linux
  • Broadcom BCM2835 system on a chip (SoC)
  • ARM1176JZF-S 700 MHz processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 16 GB Internal Storage
  • 2 USB Ports
  • 10/100 LAN Port
  • LEDs for Power, Storage Access, Ethernet
  • Low Power, Green 5V/1A Power Supply - equates to about $5 per year in electricity costs to the owner
  • Can perform at high temperatures well above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Does not require an air-conditioned environment hence having zero cooling cost.
  • Easy to setup and connect from anywhere in the world. It has a self configuration software built in that will perform a self installation without any human inference.

The hardware is low power, but with our optimized software is also capable of running dozens of simultaneous connections (100+ in our tests!). One device can support you sharing and collaborating with all of your friends!

Accessing the Pixeom Device

You are able to access a Pixeom device through simple and easy to use mobile applications (Android and iPhone) as well as through any web browser. 

Accessing your data on a Pixeom device
Accessing your data on a Pixeom device

Video Demo

This is an older demo from a build back at the end of November, and we are working on uploading a more recent demo with the new Market Exchange. Until then, hopefully this gives you a good idea of what it is like to connect to your Pixeom device and with other people!

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I still don't get how you are different from your competitors?

Our competitors offer one simple workflow:

  • Upload your files to a limited storage space
  • Access them from anywhere (and some let you share them with friends)

We decided in addition to almost unlimited storage space, you should be able to do more with your files and data. Things like: 

  • Commenting and streamlining the collaboration of files. No more exchanging emails to figure out what to do with which file.
  • Hosting discussion boards and interactive storefronts that work on top of your data to facilitate all of the types of data exchanges in your life.
  • Broadcasting your content to local devices on the network (phones, tablets, computers) on the fly. Teachers can now push tailored and personalized content to each student's smartphone from one Pixeom device. 
  • Almost infinitely increase your storage space as much as you want by connecting multiple devices - this enables you to mirror your data locally or remotely, providing fault and disaster tolerance.
  • Many more usage possibilities, as with this device we are building a platform for you to do anything with content that you create. Imagine hosting live games or podcasts off of your device, using it to it can become the device that represents your lifestyle and everything you are passionate about! 

The Story of Pixeom

We started Pixeom as brother and sister co-founders, two people who are very passionate about technology and the latest gadgets. 

Sam Nagar
Sam Nagar
Sam is a former software engineer from Microsoft. He worked primarily on Windows and Virtualization, but during his time there he teamed up to code everything from low level OS products to high level web services. Before that he interned at various cloud and virtualization start-ups doing product management work. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Computer Engineering and a minor in Business. He currently lives in the San Francisco bay area, California.
 
Karishma Nagar
Karishma Nagar

Karishma is a senior studying industrial engineering at USC as well, with numerous internships at tech start-ups where she did UX work and product design for cloud computing products. At college, she is a resident advisor and board member of the entrepreneur club on campus. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

 

The inspiration for Pixeom came from a discussion we had, about the wealth of online services available, and how they have greatly improved our lives – everything from search engines to Cloud storage. We love them, but they are not perfect.

We decided that the main problem with the status quo is that in order for these online services to run, the service providers must build large data centers. These data centers cost millions of dollars. In order to make it worth their while, they take control, and find ways to profit off of users in whatever way possible. Like selling user data or soliciting subscription fees after luring users with free stuff. 

So we set out to make a product that is for the benefit of the customer, not for the service providers. A product that gives control back to the users with all the convenience and utility of what they already know and love. 

We have an experienced team of developers, product managers, and advisors that understand technology and pay attention to customer needs. We all have past experience with shipping real products that people use today, and more than ever we want the world to be able to use Pixeom. We will ensure the Pixeom device gets produced and delivered in a timely manner...this is a personal project which is close to our hearts.

The Evolution of the Pixeom Device

We always knew that we wanted to build a personal cloud device that gave more utility than just accessing your files on the go. What wasn't really clear at first was how we were going to build the device. We originally were thinking about using an Arduino board. What ended up changing our minds was one day when Sam had received a Raspberry Pi as a gift from Amy, his girlfriend.

A Raspberry Pi
A Raspberry Pi

Realizing we could use the Raspberry Pi to power the Pixeom device, Sam spent hours tinkering with it, coding and debugging. Eventually he finally got a working OS on it with an archaic looking web app that uploaded a file and allowed him to share it with someone.

Early version of the app to access a Pixeom device. See video demo above for what it has become today!
Early version of the app to access a Pixeom device. See video demo above for what it has become today!
 
The Rapberry Pi was fast, affordable, and low power, everything we wanted out of our device. The next thing we needed to do was design the final physical look and feel of the device. We went through many iterations, not able to agree on one that we liked for the longest time...
Pixeom Concept 1
Pixeom Concept 1
Pixeom Concept 2
Pixeom Concept 2

Until one day when Karishma came up with the idea to make the device shaped like a P, just like the name we had come up with earlier that day, Pixeom. So Sam drew a concept for her right then and there, at the Jamba Juice that they were hanging out at.

The freestyle hand drawing of what would become the Pixeom device
The freestyle hand drawing of what would become the Pixeom device
Later that night a CAD drawing of the final Pixeom device was born. A device which would house our Raspberry Pi and become as symbolic as our logo itself.

The final shape is decided!
The final shape is decided!

We went ahead and added the holes and feet for stacking, and soon we had produced our first SLA prototype of the device.


After we verified that our design worked, we went ahead and produced a more realistic prototype.

It was a little too transparent for our tastes, and the material wasn't right, so we changed it up a bit (making the top cover darker and slightly less transparent, as well as getting a stronger plastic) before producing our final prototype. Oh, and we added a sticker to it!

 
We've come a long way, but our journey is just beginning. We hope you all will join us as we continue onward to build and mass produce the Personal Exchange Device!

Current Status of Project

  • Device - We have completed the design of the product, and have a fully working initial prototype. The OS running on it is fully functional, with only optimizations for performance remaining.
  • Web Browser App - This is the furthest along of the options available to access a Pixeom device. It is fully functional and needs a few aesthetic tweaks, like adding in more themes (some of them will be decided by our backers!)
  • Android App - Currently has 30 minor bugs in our database, being fixed at a rate of 4-5 per week. Will also add in the same aesthetic tweaks from the web browser app as well.
  • iPhone App - We just found someone to work on this. The iPhone app is not fully functional at this time and expected to be completed by the start of Beta program, at the end of our Kickstarter campaign. 
With your help, we can take the product to mass production!

How will the final version of the product be different?

The final hardware will be a little more compact (overall shorter and thinner), since for the initial prototype we left extra room for cooling, and to accommodate a slightly larger computer board that has diagnostic hooks. We are also going to offer it in 3 standard colors: Black, White, and Orange.

The software will come in more color schemes, and likely get more app icons at the top, (see video for software demo) as we hope to add additional exchanges for the final release.

Our Awesome Rewards 

We have 11 reward levels, which start with basic things like T-Shirts and small trinkets, all the way up to a fully customized Pixeom experience...where we allow you to select the colors for the device and customize the UI color scheme to your liking!

And no matter which level you choose your name will be forever put into the credits of our product, visible by anyone who clicks on "settings"!

Thank You

We hope you have enjoyed learning more about Pixeom, and we look forward to you joining us on this incredible journey!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Pixeom's risks and challenges lie first in the completion of the product, then in the delivery of the product, for both the hardware and software.

The most significant challenge of the hardware is managing the suppliers of the multiple components of the Pixeom device. Although we have already began prototype trial runs and established existing relationships with the suppliers we intend on partnering with, they are an external factor. Based on our working relationship, we are confident in our selection of vendors, however, to mitigate any risk that may arise, we have selected a minimum of one backup supplier for each component. In addition, we have already negotiated the pricing of components with both primary and backup suppliers.

With the software, the biggest challenge is in accurately predicting the completion time. Bugs and unexpected behavior can not only be difficult and time consuming to find, but also to fix. Luckily, based on where we are on our software timeline, we have selected a very conservative estimate of when Pixeom delivery can be expected. We also have an experienced team of people with deep knowledge of software and hardware development, with past experience shipping complete consumer products on time for big companies like Microsoft, as well as for start-ups which were later acquired by VMware and EMC.

Additionally, since the device has low-end specs, performance tuning is one of our biggest challenges overall – the performance has to be good enough to deliver a responsive user experience or else users can get put off. We already have our cloud software and native apps tuned to be very responsive and are working on the web version to do the same. One of the startups mentioned earlier that several of our team members have worked for, prior to their acquisition by EMC, had successfully delivered consumer networking and storage products running on similar low-end hardware under license to Nokia and 3Com.

We have not yet delivered more than a few dozen beta units, but once we do start distributing more, we will need to scale this process. This will begin by establishing a dedicated group of people to support customer issues that may arise.

Shipping units to international customers depends on regulatory approval, and may be delayed past the delivery estimates we have provided. This is an external process we don't have complete control over, but with the use of country-specific consultants we expect to minimize delays, if any.

We are committed to keeping you informed of our progress in the months following the campaign. In the event that unexpected issues arise in the delivery schedule, we will do our utmost to minimize the impact on our backers and keep everyone fully informed - we believe transparency is the best policy to build a relationship of trust.

FAQ

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    98 backers

    --Pixeom Pride Level-- Receive a special Kickstarter edition Pixeom T-Shirt, and a Pixeom sticker. Your name will also be in the credits of the product when we ship, visible in the settings menu by all future users!

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    8 backers

    --Pixeom Beta Level-- Reserve your username and receive exclusive access to our beta, with a special Kickstarter edition of the current build of our app to access one of our test devices. Your feedback will get to directly impact our final product! (Note: this reward tier does not get you a device, just temporary access to our test prototypes during the beta program) Includes all rewards from Pride level as well.

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    4 backers

    --Pixeom Enthusiast Level-- You will receive a SD card with our Pixeom software appliance package pre-installed to use in your own Raspberry Pi...just in case you already own one and wish to use your own hardware! (You will need to provide us some basic info about your Raspberry Pi, like the MAC address of the Ethernet port.) Includes all rewards from Beta level as well.

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    125 backers All gone!

    --Pixeom Early Adopter Level-- You get a special Kickstarter edition Pixeom device at a special price, in green and black colors with a gold logo. These will never be produced again, and are a thank you to everyone in the Kickstarter community who believed in us from the start. Includes beta access.

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  • Pledge $125 or more
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    67 backers

    --Pixeom Classic Adopter Level-- You receive a Pixeom Exchange Device in your choice of 4 color options - Black, White, Orange, or Kickstarter Edition Green/Black. Includes beta access.

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    15 backers

    --Pixeom Advanced Adopter Level-- You receive a Pixeom Exchange Device in your choice of 4 color options plus a 1 TB USB hard drive included to expand your storage. Includes all rewards from Beta level as well.

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  • Pledge $375 or more
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    9 backers

    --Pixeom High Speed Level-- You get a Pixeom Device with faster specs, meant for small businesses or anyone who plans on having 1000+ visitors connecting to their device simultaneously: Intel Celeron 1.1GHz, 2 GB RAM, 50GB mSATA. (Based on the NUC platform, and based on availability, your shipment may have better components than the minimum promised specs listed above). Includes all rewards from Beta level as well

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    1 backer

    --Pixeom Contributor Level-- You receive a Pixeom Exchange Device in your choice of 3 colors, or the coveted Kickstarter edition colors, AND you get to customize one of the UI themes for the software that we will be shipping with the final product to access your device. Want one with your school colors to show off your pride? Or one with your country's flag? Work with us to make this product yours! (Note: anything we deem inappropriate will not be distributed publicly, and be just for your personal use). Includes all rewards from Beta level as well.

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  • Pledge $750 or more
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    1 backer

    --Pixeom Custom Highspeed Level-- You receive a Highspeed Pixeom Exchange Device, and you get to customize one of the UI themes for the software that we will be shipping with the final product to access your device. Want one with your school colors to show off your pride? Or one with your country's flag? Work with us to make this product yours! (Note: anything we deem inappropriate will not be distributed publicly, and be just for your personal use). Includes all rewards from Beta level as well.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    10 backers

    --Pixeom Master Level-- You receive a Pixeom Exchange device in any color and style you want. You tell us what you want (even the logo) and we'll make it to your specifications. Additionally, you can customize one of the UI themes for the software that we will be shipping with the final product to access your device. Want one with your school colors to show off your pride? Or one with your country's flag? Work with us to make this product yours! (Note: Anything we deem inappropriate will not be distributed publicly, and be just for your personal use). Make the entire experience your own! Includes all rewards from Beta level as well.

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  • Pledge $5,000 or more
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    2 backers

    --Pixeom Launch Level-- You will get to meet Sam and Karishma personally at our launch party (free VIP admission), when we announce general availability of our device. We will acknowledge your contribution to our success and thank you publicly. You will also receive a special place in our product credits at the top (visible from settings menu of app), as well as all rewards from the Master Level.

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Funding period

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