Project image
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$10,881
pledged of $65,000pledged of $65,000 goal
20
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jan 30 2015
Last updated January 30, 2015

Arduino Bluetooth Nearfield Coin-Jar (Canceled)

Inexpensive wireless donation jar adds NFC capability to store checkout counters, fundraisers, snack rooms, lobbies, and more.

Arduino Bluetooth Nearfield Coin-Jar (Canceled)

Inexpensive wireless donation jar adds NFC capability to store checkout counters, fundraisers, snack rooms, lobbies, and more.

$10,881
pledged of $65,000pledged of $65,000 goal
20
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jan 30 2015
Last updated January 30, 2015

About

Coin-Jar Prototypes in security enclosure
Coin-Jar Prototypes in security enclosure

How did the Coin-Jar project start?

Coin-Jar had its humble beginnings at Cisco Systems in Research Triangle Park North Carolina.  Our CEO, John Chambers would regularly give presentations to explain about Cisco’s vision for the Internet of Things.

When our group’s manger was replaced our new manager told us he didn’t like cursing.  He suggested a foul-mouth jar, and that any money collected would be used for fun activities at the end of the year.   The jar, we joked, needed to be Internet connected.

After I left RTP and relocated in Philadelphia, I thought more and more about the coin-jar. I figured out how it might work in a secured network. I decided the jar needed to be Bluetooth connected to an app that would provide the functionality to the jar.  The app could send commands to the jar to display text on the screen, play recorded or live music or sounds, and control the colors of some nice bright RGB LEDs that would illuminate the plastic jar.  I thought there needed to be a way to identify who was paying, so I added nearfield capability to the coin-jar to read badges, tokens, and stickers.  “Why not use ApplePay, Paypal, Amazon, and others to add even more functionality to the coin-jar system?” I pondered. I imagined a musician sitting down on a bench in a park, playing a guitar accompanied by background tracks playing from his phone through Bluetooth to the jar, and the jar thanking each person as they donated.

In June, I joined NextFab  (an innovation gym for makers) in Philadelphia with the Coin-Jar in mind.  That summer I took 28 classes at NextFab to learn about computer aided manufacturing technology.  I used my membership to create a dozen prototypes.  Most use PLA plastic parts that can be reasonably well printed on a low-cost 3D printer.  Others were created with ABS plastic on high-end 3D printers at NexFab and will serve as prototypes for plastic injection molding and urethane resin casting for the Kickstarter samples.

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Stratasys 3D printer making a lid

I will be releasing the print files and schematics so people can 3D print their own Coin-Jars parts, and assemble them using inexpensive Arduino modules available on eBay or a variety of online electronics hobby suppliers.   I'll also publish a few example programs (such as a slot machine, jukebox, and snack-bar vending program) - that will help guide you in writing your own software.

Coin-Jar 3D rendering
Coin-Jar 3D rendering

Your contributions will be used to pay for the electronic modules, the circuit boards, assembly, and paintable cast resin parts.  If we get to the $150,000 mark I plan to pay for tooling to produce low-cost plastic parts in a variety of colors.  I'll sell the parts, kits, and assembled coin-jars, saving you the time and trouble of building your own.

LCD Options
LCD Options

At $250,000 I would expect to be able to hire a few employees to run the day to day operations as needed to make the hardware available to those who need it in quantity. 

What is the Coin-Jar Project?

One day I thought, wouldn't it be great if anyone in the world with some basic maker skills had access to open source plans to build a Bluetooth connected Coin-Jar?  It would be an inexpensive peripheral that makes possible accepting and tracking token payments on an honor system.

Wouldn't it be even cooler if you could upgrade the jar with good stereo sound,  illuminate it with RGB lights and make it work with nearfield devices like RFID cards, dongles, stickers, and new phones?   That way people could use it like a price scanner which suggests a donation amount..  or charge an item to an account when a badge is scanned. 

circuit boards
circuit boards

Teach a teenager to set goals and track progress for saving for college? You can do that.  Perhaps use your Coin-Jar to play an employee's Pandora music for a while when they drop in a coin-- sure, why not?  A slot machine? Got that.  Lucy's psychiatry booth in a Coin-Jar.? Sure, people will share spare change for your advice.  A tip jar?  Game of chance? Here's your chance to get that nickel for every time someone..  Coin-Jar possibilities are limitless.

The Coin-Jar project will release open stereo lithography (STL) files to build an inexpensive wireless connected computer that accepts US coins.    Other  versions include paper money, foreign currency and nearfield (RFID) wireless payments (cards, keyfobs,etc for iPay like merchant services), and eventually a fingerprint reader and microphone.

The coin-jar applications reside in a connected system, which operates in a Bluetooth connected phone, tablet, computer, or point-of-sale system.

What's with the hyphen?

The hyphen is also called a dash, which I'm using as an abbreviation of Digital Cash. You heard it here first!

Why a coin-jar?

Coin-Jars have found their way into many places.  They are commonly found near a cash registers, reception areas, snack rooms, and cafes.  They serve as an easy upgrade for an existing point of sale counter.  This design is built upon a jar with a standard 110 millimeter neck and a 400 pitch thread.  This screw lid design can be mated to other fittings for cashless inventory applications.

What's the big picture?

I want these products to enable people in the arts, charities, and honor based businesses to increase their income and provide better service by allowing timely collection of useful analytics. .  I want to increase consumer choice in payment providers by allowing an open-sourced hardware product to be developed.  I want to increase the percentage that charities keep of the donations that are made by providing increased transparency into fundraising events.

Pictures of rewards 

tote
tote
tote back
tote back
Patch
Patch

Risks and challenges

I've worked with the staff at NextFab in Philadelphia Pennsylvania since June 15th. Their staff is highly skilled in manufacturing technology. They're ready to assist me taking the product to a commercially available product that can be produced in high quantity for a very low cost. I've received several quotes to produce the molds and parts. Based on those estimates I believe $60,000 would allow for the tooling and a first production run to produce the required plastic parts.

I will open-source plans so that others will be able to build their own coin-jars which I believe will lead to open source plastic parts being commonly available.

I've already created and tested several coin-jar prototypes using the first generation circuit boards. I've created breadboards of future models with all the bells and whistles. I'm fairly confident that the stereo lithography models I've created can be used to create molded parts without too many costly changes. I am updating the next revision PCB with better mounting points and some of the updated circuit design changes from the breadboards. The breadboard prototypes have been running daily without failure for several months.

Fulfillment is provided at www.coin-jar.com. Merchandizing-type gifts for backers have already been designed and are and are fabricated at NextFab in Philadelphia, on demand.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1

    Register to be notified when the project files are ready for download at www.coin-jar.com. Thanks for your support!

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    What's in your Coin-Jar sticker and Coin-Jar Pioneer patch.

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    What's in your Coin-Jar tote

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    Coin-Jar Pioneer poster in tube

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Signed Coin-Jar Pioneer poster in tube. Coin-Jar bumper sticker, and Coin-Jar Pioneer patch.

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    Limited 2 backers
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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    Signed Coin-Jar Pioneer poster in tube. Coin-Jar bumper sticker, patch, and tote bag.

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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    Early prototype coin-accepting lid with Bluetooth.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Prototype coin-accepting lid with Bluetooth. Signed poster in tube.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Prototype coin-accepting lid with Bluetooth, sound, and lights. Signed pioneer poster in tube.

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    Tour of NextFab, lunch with the inventors.

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    Tour of NextFab, dinner with the inventors.

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Funding period

- (60 days)