What is AirDock?
AirDock is a low-cost revolutionary car windscreen dock for your iPhone 4S or 5 that allows you to access Siri faster and more safely than ever before!
The prototype looks ugly and huge, is that what the final design will look like?
No, because I'm running on a very very low budget I have built the first prototype entirely by hand. I will soon be posting renders of what the final build we be like. I promise it will be smaller, cooler looking and yet still contain the same great functionality. The purpose of the prototype was to get the mechanism working and tested.
Why would I need an AirDock?
Siri is a fantastic application to use when driving. You can plan routes, send messages or emails, set reminders, make calls and even play music.
The one drawback of Siri however is that it requires you to push the 'home' button on your iPhone for 2 seconds in order to activate it. This often requires looking away from where you're going due to the location of your iPhone or because the poor tactile nature of the 'home' button requires you to look at it to locate it correctly.
Sure you could place your iPhone really close to you but in all likelihood that would impair your driving vision and in some vehicles the low profile dashboard prevents most docks from fitting behind the wheel.
AirDock gives you the confidence to use Siri whilst driving and encourages you to not look at your phone anymore. That said it is always vital you follow any highway and law enforcement rules when operating any electronic device whilst in control of a moving vehicle.
Is there a market for the AirDock? What are the alternatives?
Absolutely. Just recently Apple licensed wireless access to Siri to a select few car manufacturers which allows them to place what they call an "eyeless" Siri button on the dashboard or steering wheel. Not everyone can or wants to buy a brand new car. Alternatively you could buy an expensive new head unit (if possible as some cars do not allow for third party head units) which use complex Bluetooth connections.
AirDock is a cheaper, easier and low tech alternative to any other solution out there and it's using the native way to access Siri so there's no Bluetooth to configure or settings to play with. AirDock is an extension of your own finger.
Better yet it's significantly cheaper, can be used in any car, requires no electronics, complicated installation or software. Simply stick it to the window, choose where you want to put the highly tactile button, insert your iPhone and go!
How does it work?
The clue is in the name. AirDock uses a very simple low cost mechanism which utilises air pressure to activate the home button on your phone. Connected to the dock is a thin plastic tube which carries air to a small rubber button which can be attached anywhere you please using either an included adhesive pad or it can be screwed in place for a permanent mounting.
It's then simply a long press for Siri and a short press to cancel.
The plastic tubing is detachable and can be cut to length. Also it can be attached to either side of the dock depending on which side of the road you drive on and can also be attached to the underside if you wish to run the cable into your dashboard as part of a sightless installation.
The best part about AirDock is that it uses so few components that it's durable and will last a lifetime!
How would I fit it into my car?
You can place it anywhere in the car you choose but the best place would be on the windscreen out of your peripheral vision. The button can then be placed anywhere. I've found the best place to be next to an indicator stalk or just to the right or left of your steering wheel; anywhere where you don't have to stretch or overreach to access it. The tubing can be attached to the dashboard with transparent plastic tape which will be supplied or you can have it professionally fitted into your dashboard by any mainstream after market accessory fitter.
In all cases the AirDock must be placed in a way which does not interfere with the operation of your vehicle and the makers cannot be held responsible for any accident or injury that is caused by a misuse of the product or failure to obey driving and traffic laws applicable in your country.
At what stage is the product in the development cycle?
- Prototype is built (see video).
- Prototype has been tested thoroughly and successfully.
- It has been confirmed that the air powered mechanism can be greatly reduced in size which bring the AirDock cylinder down in size by ~30%
- Reduction of cylinder also means a lighter and thinner tubing can be used and the change in air pressure will allow for a smaller more ergonomic activation button.
- A render is being produced of the final product. Functionality will not change apart from additional sockets for the air tube to accommodate for right-hand/left-hand drive, as well as underside socket for discrete installation.
- Committed talks have taken place between myself and a UK government back design company with regards to patent, design and production.
Why do you need Kickstarter funding?
I'm not a rich man and I barely survive on minimum wage, however I'm very passionate about my idea and will do anything to develop it and get it into the hands of the general public. The crude prototype you can see in the introduction video was built entirely by hand using store bought parts and moulding plastic.
I'm currently in a good relationship with a UK based, government backed design company who are very very confident that the product can be manufactured easily at a low cost and mass produced. With Kickstarter funding I can refine the prototype into a final design which will be smaller, slighter and more pleasing on the eye.
The remainder of the funds will go towards mass manufacturing and packaging.
If the product is a success I have many more ideas for the AirDock technology, namely creating an accessory that would benefit disabled iPhone users and offering a unique case for iPhone and iPad that would make using Siri on the go more entertaining.
I have an iPhone 4S and 5. Does that mean I need to buy two different AirDocks?
No, AirDock is compatible with both models of the phone as a result of some clever design work.
Will it damage my iPhone?
No. The mechanism which interacts with your iPhone is a soft plastic which produces force just strong enough to press the "home" button. With a surface area the same as your little finger it will add no more wear to your iPhone as your own hands would.
Will my accessories still work?
Yes. The underside of the dock has access space for the standard iPhone charger and the lightning connector. There will also be space for the headphone socket (iPhone 5) and for both devices sections will be left clear for the speaker and microphone.
So that's my idea and I hope you like it. Please feel free to ask me any questions and I'll do my best to answer them.