Is this designed just for home use?
Yes and no, while Flickerstrip’s primary purpose is home use. We’ve predicted interest in taking Flickerstrip on the go. To that end, we’ve included a “Mobile” backing level where a USB battery pack and appropriate converter cable is included with the rewards. This will let you take Flickerstrip with you wherever you are and you’ll still be able to configure Flickerstrip and load patterns using the Wi-Fi network that it produces. (Though, obviously, you won’t have internet connectivity.)
How important is the app for this product?
The app is very important in providing the value and novelty of Flickerstrip. Being able to customize your own patterns and upload them to Flickerstrip is definitely one of the key features. That said, Flickerstrip will function just fine without the app. Each unit comes preloaded with a number of our favorite patterns that you can cycle through using the physical button. This will allow new users to plug the unit in and immediately start enjoying Flickerstrip without even owning a smart phone or computer.
What were the challenges in making this product?
The biggest challenge for me (a Software Engineer by training) was branching out into the Electrical and Mechanical design aspects. In particular, over the last few months I’ve been learning through trial and (lots of) error about injection molding. This is my first project that will use an injection molded case, my previous hardware product, Reflowster, used a machined case.
Fortunately, I’ve had some valuable help from some friends and the engineers at my manufacturing company in making iterations and improvements on the case design. I’d still venture that it took me a few more rounds of fixing minor errors and irregularities in the CAD model, but I’m quite happy with the current version of the case design and I’m really excited to see it in production.
How did your background influence you?
My work at a software company doing frontend work has inspired me toward making software that is extremely easy for the average person to learn and use. Coupled with my passion for all things blinky from past participation in various light-up art faires, I was inspired with the desire to make it so that anyone can create their own dancing LED patterns. I sincerely hope that Flickerstrip allows the untapped potential of a bunch of very artistic but non-technical people to become unleashed on light patterns and sculptures.
What other applications do you see this being used in apart from event based?
There are a few different places that I see Flickerstrip being used:
- Incorporated subtly into your home decor in a way that lets you instantly transform your lighting from warm white illumination to dramatic party or mood lighting.
- Add some flair to a DIY project such as a customisable infinity mirror or a glass coffee table.
- Holiday lighting.
- (‘Nuf said, Americans love their blinking lights around the end of the year)
- Drawing attention or providing unique and dynamic lighting to a booth or exhibit.
- Using the API, Flickerstrip could be used as a unique home automation indicator. For example, a wall sized thermometer or a color-based weather indicator.
What do you think will be most difficult after the kickstarter campaign is finished?
Honestly, I’m pretty optimistic that things will go smoothly. I’ve already started working with my manufacturers and haven’t seen that looks like it’ll be unduly difficult. I do plan on spending a lot of time ironing out the app. I think that it’s extremely important for the release version of the app to be top-notch. Too many products launch with an app that barely functions at the best of times. I want Flickerstrip to be different and plan on spending a lot of time refining the base feature set so that my backers get a polished experience.
Any other products lined up?
Haha, I’m not sure if “lined” up is quite the right word, but I do hope to develop a version 2 of Flickerstrip based on backer feedback and some of my wish list items. I’m definitely hoping to continue to create products, Flickerstrip is just the beginning!