About this project
If you missed the Kickstarter, we'll have information on where to buy blink(1) mk2 at: http://blink1mk2.thingm.com/
Update: We have cool Stretch Goals, check them out!
blink(1) mk2 is an updated version of the blink(1) super status light. The original blink(1) made it easy to connect any data source in the cloud or on your computer to a full-color RGB LED so you can know what's happening without checking any windows, going to any websites or typing any commands. blink(1) mk2 maintains backward-compatibility while adding better functionality and great new features.
We’ve been astounded at the success of the original blink(1), thank you! Over the past year, over we’ve sold over 7000 blink(1)s and people have done some amazing things with them, from using them to let their kids know where they are, make an "ambient orb", to light up when their packages arrive, to tracking server status.
Here's our original video describing the concept of blink(1)
And while it has been a success, we wanted to make blink(1) better.
BLINK1 MK2 IMPROVEMENTS
blink(1) mk2 improves over the original blink(1) in three main ways.
Better USB support!
First, blink(1) mk2 uses a more powerful microcontroller that works on more USB systems. This includes compatibility with the latest USB 3.0 systems.
Brighter with Dual RGB LEDs!
We’ve also added a second RGB LED. Not only does this make it twice as bright, but it means we can make the design symmetric. Light comes out both sides so you’ll always be able to see your notifications. We’re redesigning the enclosure to take advantage of this aspect and we think it’s looking really cool.
The LEDs are both RGB and individually controllable. [footage - cu blink1 led1, led2] This is like having two blink(1)s in one package, and it’s great for when you want a visual indicator for others and one for yourself. Like a “busy” indicator for your coworkers and a “new mail” indicator for you. It’s also great for making cool color patterns.
To take advantage of this new feature, we’re updating and redesigning the Blink1Control app. We’re also making the app work better with IFTTT. Both the blink(1) mk2 and the original blink(1) will work with this app, in case you have both.
New Blink1Control app with improved IFTTT support!
We've learned a lot about how people are using their blink(1)s and we're creating an updated Blink1Control app that's easier to use and more powerful. It extends the current blink(1) functionality with IFTTT to support the blink(1) mk2's new features and works on more systems than the current app.
But with all these changes, blink(1) mk2 is backwards compatible with all existing blink(1) code and examples.
In the original blink(1) we wanted it to feel substantial, to feel good in the hand, yet allow maximum light output. We wanted to explore making an enclosure made of metal and translucent plastic.
For blink(1) mk2, we are again mixing metal and plastic, but we’re also redesigning the enclosure to take advantage of the dual RGB LEDs. We’ve come up with a design that is simple and goes together without extra fasteners or adhesives. This simple design is very strong yet you can take it apart if you want to hack your blink(1) mk2 into your own projects.
OPEN SOURCE HARDWARE
We love open source and blink(1) has been open source from its very beginning. You can see all the source code and design files for the original blink(1) on the ThingM blink(1) github and as we finish blink(1) mk2 we'll be putting those files up there too.
If you are a developer, hacker, or like to poke around on the command-line, there is an API for you. So far, we have blink(1) APIs in:
- C / C++ / Objective-C / Qt
- Java / Processing
But of course, many others have simply used the blink1-tool command-line application to control their application. This application (as well as many of the libraries) are extremely portable and shown to work on:
- Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
- Mac OS X
- Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, etc.)
- Raspberry Pi
- Beaglebone / BeagleBoard
- DD-WRT routers
- Chromebooks running Linux
- and just about anything else with a USB port!
And we try to help people who want to get blink(1) working on new devices.
We are ready to go into production now, but we need your help. We have a production-ready hardware design and finished firmware that's been in beta test for several weeks. We have an enclosure design ready to go into the design for manufacturing (DFM) tuning phase.
During the Kickstarter we will be getting quotes from our existing manufacturers and potential new ones. We will also be contracting as soon as possible with a company to help us with enclosure DFM.
Your funds will be used to pay for tooling as well as for our batch manufacturing. These tooling costs cover not only the molds for the enclosure, but also the NRE (non-recurring engineering) expenses of setting up a new PCB manufacturing run.
On the application side, we have hired an outside software development team who specializes in cross-platform applications to help us create the new Blink1Control app. They are currently working on the first iteration of that new app and we'll be sharing the growth of it with backers so it becomes a tool people love.
And to make sure our international backers get a good experience, we will be looking to hire a fulfillment house that specializes in international shipping.
We're really excited about the new blink(1) mk2 and we can't wait to share it with others.
Risks and challenges
ThingM has produced thousands of LED products over the last several years and we've had good success with the original blink(1). We understand the costs of producing electronics at Kickstarter quantities. However, even though we have contingencies in place, we can be affected by delays in manufacturing outside of our control.
Our biggest challenge is that we are relatively inexperienced in retail enclosure design and packaging. We have done this a few times before and have contracted experts in DFM (design for manufacturing) to help us tune our design. We feel confident we can deliver, but there is always the possibility that any additional design iterations could add delay and manufacturing cost.
Finally, while we will make a best attempt to ship to non-US addresses, our previous experience has shown that some shipments will be delayed or kept at customs, outside of our control. We will be investigating international fulfillment houses to minimize this issue.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes, and it's the most flexible and easiest to use one, anywhere. To make it all work, there's also a tiny USB controller with our firmware to make it easy to program and control, but basically yes.
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