Helios Bluetooth Light Controller (LC1) is definitely a bright idea that is being featured on kickstarter. Will they reach their $300,000 goal with only 18 days left and only $8,197 raised for an all-or-none campaign?
The project definitely has merit and they have a reasonably good video. So, why don’t they have the support necessary to reach their goal?
This scenario reminds me of a question I had when at our first Crowdfunders of LA meetup. What’s more important the video or the marketing. I immediately answered the marketing of the site and everyone quickly came on board. The video can be amazing but unless someone sees it, then it is worth anything. As soon as the right people see the video and can propagate it, you’re golden.
So, why has the Helios Campaign reached its goal of $300,000? You tell me but we have our strong suspicions.
In any case, check out the video and here’s what they had to say about their project:
“A lot of people have been talking about smart-light control with Bluetooth. We’ve done it.
What if your environment responded to you? Imagine waking up in a gently lit room in the middle of winter instead of the pitch black. Or your office lights turning on as you arrive in the morning and off when you leave at the end of the day. At Helios we envision people living and working in such a world and it is our mission to make this a reality.
Our light controller, the LC1, lets you control your lights from your smartphone and allows your environment to detect your presence and respond to you. We currently support iPhone, iPad and iPad mini models with Bluetooth 4.0 and will be adding support for Android devices in early 2013.
The LC1 can:
Turn your lights on, off, and dim them
Turn your lights on when your smartphone is detected
Turn your lights on, off, and dim them based on the orientation of your smartphone, e.g. rotate your smartphone to dim the lights
Activate based on time (circadian-friendly mode)
Be controlled from a wall switch if your smartphone is not present
Flash your lights when sound is detected, a.k.a. party mode!
You don’t need to hire an electrician or IT specialist to get started. (Read: no wiring or network configuration is required!) It’s literally as easy as screwing in a lightbulb. Just follow these steps:
Remove the bulb from the light you want to control
Screw the LC1 into the light socket
Screw the bulb into the LC1
Download and run our app on your smartphone
Click on your LC1 in the app
Control your light!
R&D and production plan
We successfully built the first LC1 6 months ago. Since then our attention has been focused on the details to ensure that we deliver the product on time and on budget. We’ve dug into every dark corner, stress tested the prototype, identified suppliers and manufacturers and reached an agreement with a local company to assemble, test and package the product. We’ve also partnered with Finger Food Studios to develop the next version of our mobile app. We have over 30 years of hands-on experience and are ready to start production and deliver a high-quality product to our supporters.
Here’s a more detailed description of what has been done up to this point in time.
The process began when we ordered a development kit from Texas Instruments to evaluate the Bluetooth low energy (BLE) interface to the iPhone 4s. Preliminary schematic and PCB designs were completed and parts, including rev A PCBs, were ordered to build 10 prototype devices. With the prototypes in hand we began developing firmware, revising the hardware design and thinking about the enclosure. We contracted an experienced mechanical designer to work on the enclosure and obtained 3D printed samples that were evaluated for fit and finish. The completed prototypes were submitted to the FCC for radiated and conducted emission pre-scan and the CSA was contacted to discuss the safety and regulatory requirements of the LC1.
With the design well underway we turned our attention to production of the device. This included: sourcing and costing all hardware components; evaluating the assembly process including testing, labeling, packaging and shipping; issuing a request for quotation to select vendors to assemble, test and package the LC1; and determining the best method to ship the product. The result was us selecting a vendor, touring their facility and checking their references. Basically, we’re ready to go!
Once we achieve our funding goal on Kickstarter we’ll establish contracts with our partners and vendors to set up the production-line tooling and begin manufacturing devices. A preliminary batch of LC1s will be produced and sent to the CSA and FCC for testing in May 2013. Any required changes will be made and the beta version of the LC1 will be manufactured and shipped to our beta-level supporters in June 2013. Once the results of beta testing have been reviewed, required changes will be made and we’ll begin production of the final LC1 and limited edition devices. These will be delivered to our supporters in August 2013.
Model: LC1 (to be given a better name by you upon successful funding!)
Description: Wireless light dimmer for Edison Standard E26 light fixtures
Input: 120 VAC 60 Hz 60 W max.
Output: 120VAC 60 Hz 60 W max. (non-inductive load)
Standard: Bluetooth 4.0 – Bluetooth low energy
RF transmission frequency: 2402 to 2480 MHz
Range: 30 m
Material: high pressure injection mold thermoresin in accordance with UL 746C
Colour: pure white
Dimensions: 49 mm ∅ x 56 mm H
Weight: 45 g
Extends bulb by: 35 mm
Safe operating conditions
Ambient operating temperature: 0-50 deg. C
Relative humidity: 5-95% (non condensing)
Regulatory compliance: CSA/UL and FCC
Current supported devices
Apple devices with Bluetooth 4.0 (iPhone 4s and newer, iPad 3rd generation and newer and iPad Mini)
Steve shows off some of the LC1′s features in our tech demo.
Greg builds a batch of LC1s from scratch in our assembly video.
RISKS AND CHALLENGES Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
To mitigate the risk of components not being available we’ve identified reputable vendors that will deliver on time.
We’ve partnered with experienced professionals to create a preliminary design of the tooling and assembly line. The design is driven by volume and will be finalized upon successful funding of the project.
We’ve obtained material samples from suppliers, built prototypes and evaluated their quality and durability.
We’ve developed a great product for you and now we need your support to bring it to market!