Project image
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£15,930
pledged of £2,000pledged of £2,000 goal
93
backers
37hours to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, August 22 2019 3:16 PM UTC +00:00.

£15,930
pledged of £2,000pledged of £2,000 goal
93
backers
37hours to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, August 22 2019 3:16 PM UTC +00:00.

About

And so, this Kickstarter is to launch our EarGear! We aim to make the best animatronic ears in the world. Using our knowledge acquired in pursuit of the ultimate tail, these ears will be unlike any you can find anywhere.

Every EarGear set features:

  • Bluetooth connection to your phone.
  • Ears turn, and they also tilt!
  • App controlled, allowing notifications.
  • They can respond to sound automatically.
  • Covers can be changed easily.
  • Built in rechargeable batteries.
  • A pattern will be available to make your own covers.
  • If you have a DIGITAiL you can sync your tail and ears together!

Supporting our EarGear project here gets you not only the happiness in making this happen, but also special pricing! These backer reward levels are less than our projected price in the future. So please do support us now and get your new ears at a special price!

The app will let you move EarGear in all the ways! You can choose individual moves of course - we estimate there might be 12 or so. But you can also set them to "Casual Mode" which has been very popular with our DIGITAiLs. Here you select moves that you like, and range of seconds to pause in-between moves. And off they go! Its a very natural, easy to use mode that we use with our Tail all the time.

And remember, if you do have a DIGITAiL, you can control both at the same time! Its important to note though, that you dont need one of our tails to enjoy EarGear.

Our app is currently on Android, and is just about to launch on iOS! So we will support both OSes right from the start.

One of the most exciting things about our EarGear is Hear Mode. Set the switch in the app, and let your ears do the hearing! A tiny microphone in your new ears listen for noises around you, and respond immediately, turning to "hear" it - just like real animal ears! This one is for set-and-forget - let them do their ear thing, moving and responding to the world around them.

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We want to make the best ears you can get. So rechargeable batteries are a must. No fiddling with AAA batteries, or fur flaps. And it will make the ears lighter too. Our DIGITAiLS already use rechargeable batteries - with EarGear we have found a super-light battery to fit snugly inside.

We will make four different covers to choose from - each EarGear set comes with one pair of covers. Obviously, if you choose a Reward level with extra covers, you can get a spare set of covers in a different colourway. And for those Backers who choose some of the higher pledges, you can get rare custom covers too!The images below give you an idea of the covers you can choose from.

Our handmade ear covers are made from super soft long haired faux-fur which we trim to shape. You'll be proud to have them on your head. We have been sourcing faux fur for a very long time, and have a very wide range of pile lengths and weaves to choose from.

Its important to us that you can change the look and feel of your gear from the Tail Company. So our EarGear, just like our tails, will have removable covers that can be changed. And we can even supply a pattern for those that want to make covers themselves. So get a set of red fox ears, and change them up anytime!

If you have a DIGITAiL from the Tail Company, you can simply add EarGear to your look, and they will sync together! Using the same app, you can sequence moves, as well as include our EarGear in the really popular Casual Mode, too!

Casual Mode is a "set and forget" mode, where the app sequences moves to your EarGear (and your DIGITAiL if you have one) - commanding them to do natural moves over time. Its the mode most Tailers use frequently. Of course, you can always tell them exactly what you want them to do, or build a special Move List. We are adding new ways to control your Tail Co gear all the time too. Things like health bands so your gear could respond to your heart beat, or music response too are planned.

Most importantly though, you wont need a Tail Company Tail to enjoy EarGear!

All kinds. From Foxes to Wolves, from Sergals to Huskies. They all move too - either controlled by a remote with our Classic tails, or via an app with our DIGITAiLS.

In fact our last Kickstarter allowed us to create the DIGITAiLS - raising £14,564 (about $18,573) and 200% funded! We are proud to say our tails are worn all over the world.

Have a look at The Tail Company website for the whole shebang.

For a few years, we have also been making ears. As all our tails are customised for free, we currently offer ears with a Tail, so they could be made from the same fur.

But without doubt the most common question we always get asked is "Those ears you make, do they move? Why not!"

For about 12 months we have been developing the new EarGear system. Some of those experiments are shown in the prototype images and video below. They involve the creation of a teeny-tiny pcb, which is mainly complete (red PCB below left), and the 3d shapes that will house the electronics and rechargeable battery, which is ongoing. 

Our early work began by fusing some open source work with our own animatronic systems, experimenting until we found a good balance of lightness, expressiveness and control. The videos below show early tests of each of these elements.

In addition to the electronics we have also been looking at natural ear shapes (below right) as well as more geometric shapes to house the clever insides. What shape makes the best basis for our EarGear? After experimenting with a single servo per ear, we soon realised that twin servos gave us far more expressive ears!

Having designed, tested and shipped thousands of animatronic systems in the past, we have been able to hone our work relatively quickly, creating lots of prototypes in the process.

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From a technical point of view, our Classic tail system allowed us to develop really good ways to control servos. And our DIGITAiL system allowed us to get to grips with Bluetooth and get the app on a solid basis. In fact, there are thousands of our Tails around the world using these systems. 

The video clips dotted around this page are some shots of the EarGear going through its paces. These are not the final moves, and the size may change ever so slightly. Those details will be tweaked over the next few weeks. 

The wider range of movement that the ears have, the more they can express emotion. If you've ever watched an animals ears they can turn from left to right to hear around them. But they can also appear to tilt forward and backward. We wanted this ability with our EarGear so by design they can move in 2 different planes.

They can move forward and back, and any position in between..

  ..as well as turn up to 45 degrees in each direction. 

These 2 planes of movement mean we can create move patterns that feel natural and fun. The images below are what we have played with in our tests. Exactly how far each ear can turn in any direction is still not confirmed, but we think this is pretty accurate.

We will be making a custom pouch to hold your new favourite ears! It will come as standard with the higher pledges. If you would like to add it to any of the other levels, please add £19 to your pledge.

About a year ago, we met Crumpet, our Tail Company mascot, logo, friend and all-round naughty fox!

Its time to make her real!  We wanted to see if we can gather enough backers to immortalise Crumpet in a beautiful colour enamel pin! If we can get passed 60 backers we will make these up and include one with every set of EarGears! New backers and the current ones that already backed the project will get a little crumpet..

We think the pin will be die cut, to follow her shape exactly..

Now we have 70 backers! And so, for all those that choose "A Tail with that perhaps?" we will include our very popular travel and storage bag (which usually retails at $19.95) so you can store your new tail well, and also move it around when not being worn!

If we can get to a 100 backers - and in the last few days its possible! - we will include a stand with every EarGear set sent out!  Its simple shape and unobtrusive design will let it grace all manner of spaces, and display your new ears really well. It will fit in nicely everywhere we think. 

The composite image above shows a clear acrylic curved stand that will show off EarGear beautifully. We may be able to source them in black and white too, though we think  clear is the best choice. 

Please support us today! Every pledge will get us closer to creating the magical ears that we have always dreamt of. Thanks for your support, it means a great deal to us.

MT

Risks and challenges

We have a good understanding of designing new products and bringing them to market. We appreciate that with crowdfunding, you dont know exactly how many people will back us. So we plan accordingly, and make sure the minimum funding will be fine.

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    Pledge £1 or more About US$ 1.21

    Lend Us Your Ears

    Help us achieve our goal, and support the creation of our EarGear! Your contribution, however small, is so very welcome. Thank you!

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    Future Ears!

    If you would like to support our EarGear, but are not ready to get some now, pledge here. We will make sure when the time is right, we get you a special price on them.

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    Pledge £99 or more About US$ 120

    Get A Pair Of The First!

    Be one of the first to get a set of our EarGear! We will ask which one of the colour designs you would like once we get funded.

    Includes:
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    Pledge £125 or more About US$ 152

    EarGear set with extra fur

    Get a set of EarGear ears, with another pair of fur covers. We will ask which two of the colour designs you would like once we get funded.

    Includes:
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    • Spare set of EarGear covers
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    Pledge £160 or more About $194

    Get Two EarGear sets

    Get Two Pair of our magic EarGear ears. We will ask which two of the colour designs you would like once we get funded.

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    Pledge £199 or more About US$ 241

    Get Two EarGear sets + extra fur

    Get Two Pair of our EarGear ears, plus 2 extra covers! We will send all four of the colour designs once we get funded.

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    Ultimate Ears

    With two sets of EarGear Ears, 2 spare covers, (so all four of the designs) and a custom set of covers designed just for you, we will also include an EarGear case to keep your ears in, as well as our new T Shirt! Ultimate Ears!

    Includes:
    • EarGear set
    • Tail Company T Shirt
    • Spare set of EarGear covers
    • EarGear pouch
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    Pledge £299 or more About US$ 363

    A Tail with that perhaps?

    This reward will get you a DIGITAiL customised just for you, and EarGear too! We will customise the fur on both so they match beautifully. And it also comes with EarGear pouch to store your new ears in.

    Includes:
    • EarGear set
    • DIGITAiL!
    • EarGear pouch
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