Category Archives: Projects

Birthday Party

Happy Birthday to Mia & Phoebe!

We attended our first birthday party with PhotoBot today. It was a great hit with the kids. Thank you for having us.

Download your photos here!

Please contact party organizers for password to access photos.

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We won the award for best Dropbox API usage @TechCrunch Hackathon!

We won! Thanks to amazing teamwork this weekend, we walked away from the hackathon smarter, more experienced, dirtier, and as champions! We were also showered in iPad Minis and hundreds of free gigabytes of cloud storage. Thank you so much Dropbox!!

Our plans for a Kickstarter campaign are well under way. Keep an eye out for announcements in the weeks to come.

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Having fun with the Dropbox guys and Photo Bot, thank you Dropbox!!

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Update: Techcrunch hackathon disrupt

We finished giving our pitch on stage (and on a live online feed) to thousands of fellow developers and designers, as well as the media, judges, and the general public. Rick did an excellent job describing the appeal of the Photo Bot in under 60 seconds while Sophie demo’d the app on stage.

Watch our demo here.

Here’s the collage taken from the stage:

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Techcrunch Disrupt Hackathon 2013

We’re showcasing a PhotoBot app at the Techcrunch Hackathon. We developed an Android app that functions the same way that our previous PhotoBot did. It is mobile, inexpensive to set up, and easy to use. After 24 hours straight of coding, building a physical photobooth, graphic design, learning about the Dropbox API, and figuring out how to print wirelessly we had a functioning app!

People love photobooths, but it sucks to set one up. Either you waste a lot of time building a Frankenstein booth that breaks halfway through the party, or you pay thousands of dollars for a one-time photobooth rental that still breaks halfway through the party. PhotoBot will change that, providing high convenience and quality at a low cost. We’ve developed a simple Android app that allows the Admin to select custom green screen backgrounds to create a truly unique experience for the User. Now everyone can enjoy their own photobooth!

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See here for details: PhotoBot: How it works

Unsuccessful Kickstarter Campaign

Unfortunately, we did not meet our goal on Kickstarter. We only reached $7,490 out of our $15,000 goal with 123 backers. This was our first crowdfunding campaign and we definitely learned many valuable lessons not only about product design and development, but also about the impact of PR and targeting the right niche.

No worries though, we plan to re-launch in the coming months. We will take a step back and redesign our D.Bug Kit that will appeal to a larger audience. We also plan to dig deeper into identifying the niche of enthusiasts who love D.Bugs. We met many of you at Maker Faire and through our campaign, and we will keep you posted on our progress!

Our Kickstarter page can still be found here. Please stay tuned for more information later this year.

A Message from the Creator

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I created the first D.Bug while taking a Power Electronics lab class (6.131) at MIT. After each lab we’d tear out all the components from the breadboards and throw them into an unsorted “use at your own risk” box. I felt bad seeing the old components get tossed, so like a student, I collected all the free stuff and brought it home.

One night to avoid doing problem sets, I was watching some mecha anime and examining all my harvested scrap electronics. When you combine the two activities, you start to notice that ceramic capacitors look like fingers, old PS2 mouse connectors look like eyes, and electrolytic capacitors look like hair curls. I still had my Weller soldering iron out from 6.131, so I made some hands from a few capacitors and TO-220 transistors, then a face, a body from an old transformer, and after about an hour I had finished my first D.Bug! He didn’t have a name, I didn’t call them D.Bugs, it was just a cool figurine that I could put on my desk and look at instead of doing homework.

Many people ask me “Does it DO anything?”, and I always answer “No”, and they look disappointed. I am not an artist. I am an engineer. I spend 10 hours of my day making things that do things. Sometimes you just want to look at something without interacting with it. I collect vinyl toys, build Gundam models, and buy anything that has a face on it. None of these things do anything, they are just fun to look at and put into a display case.

The best analogy for D.Bug models is origami. The most common applications of paper and electronics are completely flat. You write on paper just like you solder components onto a circuit board. You can create a lot of great work on paper and create some amazing circuits, but you should not be bound by convention. When you see an origami masterpiece, your first reaction is “Wow, that’s really cool!” but then you look deeper and you realize, “I can’t believe that is made out of one sheet of paper!” I want D.Bugs to have the same feel. You should first enjoy the aesthetics and then appreciate the materials that created it.

At the end of the day, nobody asks about what is written on the origami paper, “Can I read your origami model?” The model speaks for itself. Nobody asks why you are wasting paper folding it instead of writing on it, “Why did you use a NEW sheet of paper to make that?”

D.Bugs are the next level of sculpting with common materials. A major challenge for this campaign has been breaking down the ivory tower holding up electronics as sacred and purely functional materials. I never meant to offend any of the engineers by hacking electronics into art, but the purpose of this campaign is to show that electronics don’t always have to DO something to be enjoyed.

Only 11 days left on Kickstarter!

- Donald