Project image
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$1,225
pledged of $96,000pledged of $96,000 goal
39
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Aug 24 2019

HiakBricks, a better US state Puzzle Map with real terrain (Canceled)

The first raised relief United States map puzzle that snaps into a LEGO(R) compatible baseplate—touch the terrain, learn the states

HiakBricks, a better US state Puzzle Map with real terrain (Canceled)

The first raised relief United States map puzzle that snaps into a LEGO(R) compatible baseplate—touch the terrain, learn the states

$1,225
pledged of $96,000pledged of $96,000 goal
39
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Aug 24 2019

About

What are HiakBricks? (Hiak like "kayak")

HiakBricks* are the 3D terrain version of a map puzzle that snap into a LEGO(R)+ baseplate.  Touch the terrain,  learn the states.

*HiakBricks(TM) are patent pending.   +HiakBricks are not affiliated with LEGO(R) or The LEGO(R) Group.
 

 30 seconds of your time could make the difference in growing the HiakBricks community. Hit one of the buttons below and tag a kid, big kid or kid-at-heart who learns hands-on!

 "When I developed the idea of HiakBricks, I wanted kids of all ages to be able to hold a state in their hands and imagine themselves at the peaks of the mountains.  I wanted us to see how our nation's land flows from state to state and appreciate its diversity.  My dream is for a child to put together the puzzle and to plan the next family road trip with a HiakBricks model."--John Christiansen, inventor of HiakBricks 

 Who is HiakBricks for? 

 Touching is key to learning...and playing 

Studies show that engaging more senses (sight, sound, touch...) into a single learning activity improves comprehension and memory because your brain is able to make more connections related to what you are learning.  So, what better way to learn about the land of our nation than by making it a tactile experience?

HiakBricks US allows us to experience the terrain of the land.  It lets you touch the peaks and valleys; to understand the difficulty of the western expansion of the United States, first past the Appalachians and then the Rockies; to touch the huge valley floor in California that allows the state to produce vast supplies of almonds and avocados; to understand the breadbasket of the United States and how the entirety of the region drains into the Mississippi River making it the largest in North America.   

Don't just imagine how the terrain shapes our lives.  Touch it.

Every state plays its part in the puzzle and every state's history is guided by how it fits into the puzzle.  Putting together the puzzle will challenge you to combine your tactile senses, logical reasoning and geographical knowledge.  With HiakBricks US, you will learn with a stimulating toy and grow your appreciation of how geography affects our lives and history.

Tactile learning is great for you...but don't just take our word for it 

Here are some articles that tell us more about the importance of tactile learning:

How Tactile Learning Enhances Your Child’s Education 

Importance of Touch and Tactile Skills

Hands-on is Minds-on

16 Characteristics of Kinesthetic and Tactile Learners 

And it's not just kids who benefit from this type of learning:

What are the Best Kinesthetic Learning Strategies? 

Ten Great Multi-Age Tactile Learning Toys

Everyone knows this game...jump right in

Oh the satisfaction of the snap of a brick finding its tightly-fitted home with other bricks!  The LEGO(R) format of building bricks is familiar to...well just about everyone.  It's an understatement to say that it’s the world's favorite construction toy.  Thanks to this, anyone who picks up HiakBricks will know what they are and how they work.

The state pieces in HiakBricks are not building bricks themselves--you cannot snap more bricks onto them.  This makes them a unique supplemental product to your brick collection.  Mix HiakBricks with your creations and see what happens.

What it can teach...

For starters, give HiakBricks to kids and they will put a lot of things together on their own.  The fact that state boundaries have to match elevation adds a clue to analyze with every puzzle piece.  You will learn a lot about geography just by putting together the states with the clues of the puzzle.   Here are some specific lessons to be learned by playing with HiakBricks:

  • The initial English settlers were limited by the Appalachian mountains
  • Rivers form where water has to flow downhill
  • The Mississippi river is great for navigation because of the very gradual slope of the central United States toward New Orleans
  • Saint Louis, Missouri became known as the "Gateway to the West" because it was easier to travel by boat up the Mississippi River to the city and embark west than to travel overland from the east coast
  • Where can we snow-ski in the United States?
  • Where would we go if we wanted to whitewater raft?
  • The toughest part of the the United States to build railroads was the Rocky Mountains
  • The North American bison once had an open range between the Rockies and Appalachians
  • Agriculture in the United States depends on flat land and available water
  • If you could ride a razor scooter downhill and on a long trip, where would you start?

What will HiakBricks teach you about your state? 


We can do it!

Yes, we've done this before.  No, we haven't made HiakBricks before.  We have developed an idea and manufactured it.  The product is the YOYOdrone LAUNCH (see it here: https://www.amazon.com/LAUNCH-YOYOdrone-flying-yoyo/dp/B01I8EC3ZE ).  From a manufacturing perspective, the YOYOdrone LAUNCH is a lot like HiakBricks.  It is a thin-walled, injection-molded plastic toy.  Like HiakBricks, it required expensive tooling (a thousand pound mold) and a lot of investment.  While the YOYOdrone LAUNCH was not a business success, it taught us a ton of lessons--lessons that provide assurance to our backers that we can deliver a high-quality product.  Here's what we did and learned with YOYOdrone:

  • Prototyped a great product and improved it throughout the sourcing process.  The mass-produced final product is a sleek, well-designed flying yoyo
  • Secured a utility patent (US patent number 9,993,738) and US trademarks for YOYOdrone(R) and LAUNCH(R)
  • Worked with a manufacturer to source the mold
  • Worked with our manufacturer to solve a lot of problems, including how to manage our decision to manufacture with polycarbonate instead of ABS when we found that ABS was not strong enough to withstand the inevitable throws of the yoyo straight into rock-hard objects.  The mold was designed for ABS so we made costly modifications to make it work for polycarbonate
  • Developed the packaging design with a packaging company and designer
  • Sourced packaging, and other components from several suppliers
  • Managed the assembly of the final product by our supplier
  • Obtained passing professional laboratory tests for the CPSIA standards (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, the federal act related to product safety)
  • Sold online and wholesale, fulfilled orders and provided attentive customer service
  • Managed a business like adults: we set up an LLC, got the right product liability insurance, business licence, managed the books, paid sales tax and all our bills, etc.

We know how to do this and we will give it our all to send you a product you will enjoy.

Where are we now?

We have an awesome prototype and a pending patent for HiakBricks.  We have begun analysis of bringing HiakBricks to market by talking to manufacturers.  From our YOYOdrone experience, we know that developing the process to manufacture HiakBricks will require some modifications to the design.  For example, to allow the molten plastic to flow in the mold, we might need to smooth out some of the mountains.  We would love your thoughts on how the final product should look.  Right now, we think the resolution of the terrain should be something between the detail of the prototype in our video...

...and the smoother US clay model also featured in our video: 


The tentative colors we have selected are the light-green for the states and the classic blue for the baseplate.  We look to our KICKSTARTER community to help us finalize the colors and other design elements which will make HiakBricks the best product possible.

Labels and hints: we did not want the puzzle aspect of HiakBricks US to be too easy.  However, we also realize there is value for early learners to have some hints as they solve the puzzle.  To strike a balance between the two, we will not put any labels on the state pieces.  Instead, the baseplate will come with an ink stamp ("painted") with the outline of the states and each state's abbreviation.  This will give users the option of using the pieces on the baseplate provided or using an unmarked baseplate to make the puzzle more challenging.

A novice puzzle solver will have the option of using the outline and state abbreviations on the included baseplate.
A novice puzzle solver will have the option of using the outline and state abbreviations on the included baseplate.

HiakBricks will have 42 state pieces due to the need to combine the small New England states and group NJ and MD with PA.  The manufactured product will be close in size to the prototype and will include a baseplate to snap to.  The pieces will be made of ABS plastic, just like LEGO(R) bricks.

The final product will be about the size of our prototype, or bigger.
The final product will be about the size of our prototype, or bigger.

We know the steps in the process and we have set a timeline that we believe we can deliver on.  Thank you for your confidence in us!

$96,000!! why so high??

Each HiakBricks US will have 42 unique pieces plus the baseplate.  To make the pieces will require 4 or 5 smaller molds or one huge mold.  The molds are expensive.  $96k is a threshold at which, if funded, we believe  we can break even on the initial campaign, or at least pay for the molds.

Made in the USA or...

OK, there is irony in a US map with a "Made in China" label.  However, the reality is that manufacturing some products in the United States is challenging.  There are plenty of injection molding companies but few operations which can assemble a labor-intensive low-cost consumer product economically.  We made YOYOdrone (see above) in the USA and ran into these exact challenges.

That being said, we are committed to exploring a viable way to make HiakBricks in the USA.  A guiding sentiment for us is something that you might not be aware of.  The Constitution of the United States grants us all with the right protect our innovations with patents.  We love this country and the economic rights it grants its citizens.  If we can pay our country back by creating manufacturing jobs here, we will.

Feedback?

Got a creative idea you think we should implement with HiakBricks? Don't hesitate - let us know! HiakBricks US is being made possible by you, and we want you to be a part of the creative process as well.

International Backers

This project isn't just for backers in the United States. We'll be shipping HiakBricks US worldwide!

That being said, there are unique processes that apply specifically to international backers that we'd like you to be aware of.  Please note that there is no way for us to charge any additional amount on our end for any applicable VAT/duties that may be a result of a specific country's local tax code.  Therefore, these fees may be incurred upon receipt of your reward. These fees are the responsibility of each backer.

The Ultra-Important Legal Statement that makes it absolutely clear that HiakBricks is not affiliated with the LEGO(R) brand or The LEGO(R) Group.

LEGO(R) is a registered trademark of The LEGO(R) Group.  While we at HiakBricks think LEGOs(R) are really cool, HiakBricks is not affiliated  with The LEGO(R) Group in any way.

John Christiansen, inventor of HiakBricks, is not directly related to Ole Kirk Christiansen, the founder of LEGO(R).

Final Thoughts

As an inventor and creator, I love bringing new ideas to life, especially ideas that enrich the lives of others.  I believe HiakBricks US is just such a product.  However, I do not get to decide that.  You do.  I hope you and others will see the potential of this product to enrich kids' lives and back HiakBricks.  From YOYOdrone, I learned that I should listen to the market (aka "the collective you").  If the market doesn't tell me that there is a strong demand for this, I will probably not make it.  If the market says yes, to the tune of $96,000, I will deliver a product we will all be proud of.

Thank you for your support.

Best regards, cheers!

John

Risks and challenges

The most important issue to you as a backer is manufacturing logistics. Sourcing a product requires making the tooling (primarily molds) and working with a manufacturer to produce the final product. Many things can go wrong along the way. We've seen it and lived it and will do everything we can to rise to the challenges as they emerge. The brewing trade wars will factor into assessing the risk of manufacturing domestically or abroad.

Not that you should have to worry about it, but knock-offs worry us a bit. We hope we have an idea that is so good that others want to copy it but we don't want them to steal our idea. IF this happens, we will do what we can to limit it. Our backers, who believe in our idea and see its possibilities, deserve to be the first to have this product in their hands.

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Support

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    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1

    So you wanna be a backer...

    You love the HiakBricks US product and you get it. You want to be a part of the story. But you can't pledge for the full product. We appreciate your support and at this level we'll keep you in the loop with updates as we continue the journey! And of course, we will send a BIG thank you your way!

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    HiakBricks US Early Bird

    This special, limited quantity reward is for backers dedicated to spreading the word about HiakBricks. This can include sharing on your favorite social media channels, with a friend, or even submitting a tip to your favorite blog.

    You'll receive ONE (1) HiakBricks US at the early bird level.

    HiakBricks US will retail for ~$30 and includes one baseplate.

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    1 X HiakBricks US

    You'll receive ONE (1) HiakBricks US. You're a #bricknationbuilder.

    HiakBricks US will retail for ~$30 and includes one baseplate.

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    2 X HiakBricks US

    You'll receive TWO (2) HiakBricks US. One for you, and one for a friend. You want to be an awesome friend, right?

    Includes:
    • HiakBricks US
    • Baseplate
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    5 X HiakBricks US

    You'll receive FIVE (5) HiakBricks US. A HiakBricks US you and four to share! You have the next four birthday gifts covered!

    Includes:
    • HiakBricks US
    • Baseplate
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    Pledge US$ 165 or more About US$ 165

    10 X HiakBricks US--The Classroom Pack

    You'll receive TEN (10) HiakBricks US. Enough to start a learning revolution.

    Includes:
    • 10× HiakBricks US
    • 10× Baseplate
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    Pledge US$ 1,160 or more About US$ 1,160

    80 X HiakBricks US: Store & School Pack

    You'll receive EIGHTY (80) HiakBricks US. If you’re a distributor, retailer, school, or a corporate office looking for a great gift for your team, this one's for you.

    Includes:
    • 80× HiakBricks US
    • 80× Baseplate
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Funding period

- (55 days)