Smack Attack: The drum set for your steering wheel
Smack Attack: The drum set for your steering wheel
Put cover on any steering wheel, start the smart phone app, & wirelessly play drums with your music over your car's existing speakers.
Put cover on any steering wheel, start the smart phone app, & wirelessly play drums with your music over your car's existing speakers. Read more
About this project
An instrument for your car
Red lights, traffic jams, and tailgates will never be the same again because tapping on your steering wheel just got way more awesome.
Introducing the company Smack Attack Corporation and our product “Re-Inventing The Wheel” (RITW). With RITW, you can drum away on your steering wheel with any song you wirelessly stream from your smart phone's music library (iPhone or Android phone). Use an FM transmitter to hear both your drumming and your song on your vehicle's existing speakers. It’s Rock Band for your car!
How does it work?
- Cover fits over any steering wheel
- No installation required… just put it on your wheel and turn it on
- Wheel cover has 8 different sensors which correspond to 8 different drum sounds
- Smack any color-coded sensor and hear a different sound from a standard drum kit
- Choose your music using the smart phone app
- Option for “solo drumming” without music if desired
- Hear your drumming (with or without background music) through earphones, mini speakers, or wirelessly through your car stereo using an FM transmitter
- Newer cars don't even need an FM transmitter. Just plug your phone directly in your car's “line in” to listen through the car speakers.
Safety: RITW fights highway hypnosis
You probably already know that zoning out at the wheel is a serious safety problem. Even drivers that are well-rested can exhibit sleep-like behavior in a mental state known as “highway hypnosis” – a condition which can cause even good drivers to make mistakes and, according to the DMV, causes many accidents. Experiencing highway hypnosis firsthand while driving across the US inspired me to design something to fight it and keep drivers alert. Sleep researchers are finding the best way to fight highway hypnosis is through auditory or tactile stimulation… and this product provides both!
Click here for more on highway hypnosis and how it inspired the invention of Smack Attack RITW.
For added awesome...
- NBC news says Smack Attack could be “the next big thing” (19 second excerpt)
- The pros love it! Dave Herrmann, a drummer in LA for 15 years, gives his thoughts on Smack Attack (1 minute, 51 second excerpt)
- Also check out what Wired Magazine (UK) has to say about the product and The Discovery Channel (Canada)
- Solo drumming without background music
- Jamming with your iTunes
- Sending drum performances to your car speakers
- Drum karaoke
- Multiple drummers on the same song
- Alternative drum sounds and sound effects
Demonstrated features for the week of May 12, 2013:
- Customize Smack Attack with your own sounds (like the sound of your pet!)
- Record your performances
- Overdub old drum mixes to add even MORE drums to the performance
- Post recordings on the website
- The online Smack Attack community
Read below for more detail on product features and click here for more detail on the videos. We plan to release a new video every week of the Kickstarter!
I want to hear “Chewbacca” when I hit my steering wheel
With the help of the Smack Attack website, customize your RITW with:
- Alternative drum sounds
- Sound effects (including farm animal sounds and a dog barking the do-re-mi melody notes of a scale)
- More personal sounds you provide. If you ever wanted to hit your steering wheel and hear the sound of your pet cat, now you can do it!
Any sound you see on the Smack Attack website is automatically available at the touch of a button when using the smart phone app.
I need drum karaoke – I'm the only drummer that matters!
Tired of the other drummer in the song cramping your style? The Smack Attack website has songs with all drums removed. Play RITW with these songs and you will be the only drummer... true drum karaoke!
Much like the sounds, all drum karaoke songs you see on the website are available at the touch of a button when using the smart phone app.
I want to record my performances!
Really like the drum solo you just played? Any RITW performance you create is automatically recorded with the background music. Listen to your performance later or post it on the Smack Attack website for the world to hear. Smack Attack will award prizes to the best steering wheel tappers!
Become an advanced user: Overdubbing
So you just created a “mix B” of Prince's “Raspberry Beret” by adding an amazing drum solo... but now you want to add even MORE drums to that solo. You can do it! Let “mix B” be your background music and use RITW to create a “mix C” in which you overdub extra cymbals. You can even make a “mix D” and “mix E” to make the song even more drum rich. By the time you get to “mix J” Prince may want you to tour with him for a month. Tell your boss you need time off!
Can I play with other Smack Attack drummers?
Yes you can! This is definitely a popular option for tailgates since it allows multiple party-goers to get involved.
Using the smart phone app, you can host a song or join a hosted song as an additional drummer. You don't even need a steering wheel cover to join in! Anyone with the same smart phone app as the driver can wirelessly play drums with the driver by hitting buttons on the app. If you use FM transmission, all additional drums will be played with both the driver's drums and the background music together on the car's existing speakers.
Purpose of the Kickstarter / manufacturing plan
Funding from this Kickstarter will be used for:
- Development of app for all smart phones (including Android phones)
- Equipping a factory to start producing the plastic parts
- Equipping a factory to start assembling plastic parts and circuit boards into finished products and package everything up
- Cost / unit for all materials and labor necessary to produce RITWs for all Kickstarter backers that want one
Equipping a factory to produce plastic parts
RITW has two major plastic components which will require factory tooling:
- Split wheel grips which hold sensors
- Enclosure for the electronics: the plastic shell
We are trying to decide between two experienced factories to do the 3D plastic injection molding necessary for the plastic parts. Both of these facilities have design services on hand to tweak the design of these parts for mass production, but require a significant investment to start the process.
Assembling components into packaged and ready-to-ship finished products
One of the two plastic injection molding companies under consideration is almost a complete one-stop-shop and will assemble molds and circuit boards into the final product for us and package everything up. If we decide to go with the second molding company, we have an additional firm in mind to do the final assembly and packaging.
Cost / unit for all materials and labor
The Smack Attack team has been using the company RushPCB for our circuit board needs. For mass production, we will have them fabricate circuit boards and place components on the boards. RushPCB would then send the boards to whomever we choose for final assembly.
Total cost per unit includes the electrical components, circuit board fabrication, placement of components on the circuit board, the price of producing the plastic parts (including the plastic itself and the labor), packaging material, shipping costs, and the labor for final assembly. Both factories believe that manufacturing could begin in 6 months and hence the estimated delivery date of December.
Smack Attack RITW
Special thanks to...
Directors of Photography:
- Frederic Chaignat (LA footage)
- Gregor's Mom (East Coast footage)
- Julia Aks (lead female role in features video part 1)
- Carolina Correa (lead female role in features video part 2)
- Christina Marie Leonard (lead female role in features video part 3)
- Henry Ramirez (lead male role in features video parts 1, 2, and 3)
- Anna Douglas
- Bill Gienapp
- Gregor's Dad
- Amber-Nicole Papadakis
- Rego Sen
Wardrobe (Scarf made of fake animal faces / fake fur):
- Leesa Thompson
Video editing assistance:
- Trysta Bissett
- Frederic Chaignat
- Rego Sen
- The band “Zen Finger Painting”
Original rap lyrics:
- Albert Andres
- Dave Herrmann
- Douglas “Dougal” Maclise
For their support and suggestions:
- Gregor's parents, especially Gregor's Mom
- Daniela Tzvetkova
- The Stonehenge hacker house in Palo Alto, especially Katy Levinson, but also Garrett Dunham, Liam McLoughlin, Bruno Cabral, and Paul McInnis
- Roy Abdo
- Rego Sen and Veena Singla
- Domenique "Dom" and Christian “Bub” Clark
- Bill Gienapp
- David Gustafson
- The Casher family
- Taariq Lewis
- David Krippendorf
- Andrea Schiralli
Risks and challenges
It is true this will be my first time doing large scale manufacturing, but I have mentors and business school colleagues with experience I can draw from. Being an efficient hard worker with a decent head on his shoulders should help as well. Read my bio to get an idea of what I've been able to accomplish in the past.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
I had a couple people make the analogy that using RITW while driving is like texting while driving, but it's really not at all. I've found (and most would agree) that tapping on your steering wheel does not require your full attention and definitely does not distract from watching the road. Your eyes never need to leave the road while tapping. Obviously texting requires you to look away from the road and that behavior is a completely different beast entirely.
People already tap on their steering wheels while driving... even without specialized steering wheel covers. When I use the product while driving I keep the left hand stationary on the wheel and tap with the right. Both hands are always at the wheel, ready for adjustment if necessary. Obviously, people must be aware of driving conditions and act responsibly. You don't take a sip of your coffee when you're taking an exit, adjust your radio / climate control when you're trying to switch lanes, or play with / look at your GPS while making a sharp turn. As a driver, you shouldn't ever set your GPS while you're moving and you shouldn't play with the iPhone app while you're moving either. There's really no reason to anyway.
If Smack Attack does not raise enough money on Kickstarter, anyone who contributed to the Kickstarter will get their money back. The Smack Attack team is very committed to the product and would like to carry it through, but if the Smack Attack campaign cannot raise the money it needs then the project will have to be put on hold until enough money can be saved up to resume. My guess is that it would take years to save up enough to resume.
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