About this project
Thanks to all our backers! Missed the Kickstarter? You can still order a Range.
Everyone loves an artisan who can brew an excellent ale, smoke the perfect side of ribs, or make some amazing chocolate truffles. These culinary masters are what makes local restaurants great. But you don't have to devote your life to the craft in order to make better food. With Range, you can take the guesswork out of cooking and perfect your kitchen craft.
Clip it on or stick it in and set an alert for the desired temperature with the Range app for iOS (we include presets for common uses). While you run to the store or sip a well-deserved glass of wine, Range graphs the temperature over time so you can learn and improve from each experiment. Once the roast has reached temperature and achieved perfection, Range tells you.
You already know how to use an iPhone — Range can help make kitchen craft just as easy. Soon, your homebrew will be the talk of the neighborhood. Better throw some meat in the smoker to feed all your newfound friends. Welcome to the internet of poultry. And candy, and chocolate, and beer...
Enter the quantified kitchen.
Correct temperature and time are critical to making so much good food (and drink). With recipe graphs, you'll be able to watch temperature over time, share and compare with past batches. Combined with temperature band templates for common kitchen activities like candymaking and meatmaking, you'll be able to see where your recipe went wrong or so very, very right.
After talking to many of our Twine backers who cared about monitoring temperature, we realized that many of them made food and drink as both professionals and enthusiasts, and wanted to do it better. This struck a chord with those of us who love experimenting in the kitchen, or tinkering with old family recipes. We realized that we could make a useful kitchen tool for food makers who care about perfection.
There's nothing out there that feels as good as our other kitchen tools. We've seen a lot of creaky plastic gadgets and unimaginative apps. We wanted to design something that belongs in the jar with your other kitchen utensils. No batteries or wireless troubleshooting, and a durable silicone clip-on handle. Range is a tool, and tools disappear into the task.
We've worked hard to miniaturize the electronic guts so that what you see looks deceptively simple. You’ll use Range to craft the perfect meal; we crafted Range to let you do just that. Range is simple to use, but rich in information when you want it; we designed the app and thermometers with your needs in mind.
- Aqua Range has a 6-inch rounded tip (when the handle is clipped onto something, that's a total of 8 inches). Designed for many tasks including candy making, beer brewing, and cheese making. (Planned retail price: $59)
- Ember Range has a 3-inch pointed tip. Ideal for cooking meat. (Planned retail price: $59)
- Coal Range has a 3-inch pointed tip. Made with higher-temperature materials that make it ideal for heavy grill use.
- Range (including the cable) is made of food-safe, eco-friendly, good-feeling, free-range silicone that can be handwashed and withstand temperatures up to 450ºF.
- Thermometer reads from -40ºF to 450ºF (-40ºC to 230ºC), with 0.5ºF accuracy at 135ºF (about the temperature of a medium rare steak).
- Designed to allow you to clip it onto the side of a pot or on a rack. Use your hands for cooking, not fussing with technology.
- Plugs into the headphone jack of your iOS device for maximum reliability. A long cable keeps your device safely on the counter where you're using it for recipes.
- Stretch goal achieved: All Ranges now have a 4.5-foot cable. Aqua and Ember have a thin silicone cable good to 450ºF, and Coal has a thicker extreme-temperature cable that can withstand bursts of direct flame.
- Stretch goal achieved: Magnetically pin the cable onto any metal surface to keep it neat and out of the way. (Aqua and Ember only.)
- Have an old iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch sitting in a drawer? Connect it to Range to send notifications to any iOS device with the Range app.
- Use with any iPhone, iPad or iPod touch on iOS 5.1 and newer (iPhone 3GS and newer, iPod touch 3rd generation and newer, any iPad).
- Send push notifications to any iOS device with the Range app.
- Set alerts at multiple temperatures with a flick of your thumb. Get notified when temperatures rise or fall past your mark.
- Use presets that have custom notification sounds.
- Switch to gourmet temperature recommendations for juicier results.
- Use recipe graphs to see how the temperature changes over time.
- Use Range-Finder templates to view temperature bands to target for meat, candy, and other classes of edible items.
- Stretch goal achieved: Create your own Range-Finder templates for your favorite, finicky beer or chocolate recipe.
- Save and share visual results as a counterpart to your recipes, and use them as a guide to get repeatable results the next time you recreate that beer recipe.
- Can display temperatures in Fahrenheit or Celsius.
What we've done
As with any good recipe, our process gets better with every repetition. Range is the latest result of our recipe for making great products.
We've prepared for several production scenarios, and have picked and vetted most of our suppliers. As much of the work as possible is done locally in Texas and the US — not only because it's important to support our neighbors, but because it produces more reliable results, especially when demand grows but the schedule doesn't.
The video and images here show some of the work we've done so far. We have a solid design after many iterations of sketches as well as carved, printed, and cast prototypes. We've built and tested several prototypes of the electronics, making them smaller each time. And we've been building an iOS app that already looks at home in iOS 7 (we're just ahead of the curve like that).
What we do next
This Kickstarter will fund the remainder of our development, allow us to meet the minimum order quantities for parts, and help us secure equipment needed for production. Your Kickstarter pledges help us fund electronic components, the tooling and materials for injection molding the silicone parts, assembly, certifications, packaging, and shipping. The more funds we raise, the quicker we'll be able to make Range better.
Here's our timeline:
- We are finalizing the electronic and industrial design in August.
- In September, we'll be able to buy components in quantity as soon as we receive the funds, and we'll start beta testing and tooling for the parts.
- By October, we'll have hardware we can commit to production.
- By the end of November, we should have the first Ranges to assemble and test, and we'll start packaging and shipping this first batch in time for the holidays.
- After a breather to make perfect turkey and caramel for our families, we'll then be able to ramp up full production and fulfillment in the first months of 2014.
- Making things doesn't always unfold so neatly, but we've built in some padding in case something happens (it always does).
If you like what we do and want to be part of it, contribute to our project with your dollars, word of mouth, and creative ideas. Let's get cooking!
Supermechanical is making a new generation of everyday objects that connect people. You may remember us from Twine, a little square that's the easiest way to get your objects and environments talking on the Internet. Our work, started at the MIT Media Lab, has been featured on The Verge, Wired, Engadget, the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and Cool Hunting. We want to give soul to electronics, and make connections between us.
Music written and performed by Russ Bonsall, a brewer and a patriot.
We've done this before.
This is not just a pre-order! Kickstarter is not a store. Yes, you'll be among the first to get an original new product; but on Kickstarter, you're helping us finish the product as well. As both project creators and backers, we embrace the process with all its ups and downs. Big companies have the same challenges, but they don't open their doors to you until they're ready to sell — this is part of the fun with Kickstarter. Read this — we believe it.
That said, we learned a lot about the challenges of building and shipping hardware from Twine, and we’ve put that knowledge to use with Range in everything from the design and development, to how we interact with you, our backers. This Kickstarter will feature even more communication, less naiveté, and an equal amount of passion.
Risks and challenges
Every hardware product has a supply chain. Different companies may provide components, make custom parts, and assemble electronics. Each link in the chain can be a failure point — a part has to be redone because it's not up to our specifications, an overseas shipment gets delayed, etc.
We've already vetted and picked suppliers, many of whom we've worked with before. Most of them are in the US, which makes things faster and more reliable (and because we like to support our neighbors and keep a smaller carbon footprint). We’ve separated rewards into anticipated delivery dates based on production runs so that we’ll be able to get everyone their rewards when promised, even if we need to make more than expected.
In addition to the risks involved in making hardware, we'll be at the mercy of Apple for approval in the App Store.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We'd love to, but we're a small team. Right now, we need to focus on one platform to be able to maintain our standard of quality. You can register your interest in future Android support at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1SOpw_pnnitD1ixKt0Sc9qgJbAHGrdkfNjp_mqDq805I/viewform
Yes! We've specifically designed Range to be left in your food while it's cooking. There are limits, of course, but Range is rated to handle extended exposure to 450ºF/230ºC.
We use a cable plus your device's connection because it's more reliable than Bluetooth over distance — if you miss that notification, your dinner is burnt. We don't think you should have to be tethered to your kitchen! With Range, if you have more than one device then you can walk away worry-free, and get push notifications from anywhere you have Internet (not just the finicky 30-50' range of Bluetooth). We think that's cool.
Our cable is silicone that's heat-resistant up to 450ºF and long enough to reach the iPad that's on your counter doing recipe duty. Other benefits: No batteries to worry about, compatible with more iOS devices (pull your old iPod touch out of the drawer) — and significantly more affordable.
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