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Monday, September 9, 2013

Fos - A truly wearable, Bluetooth LED display system | Kickstarter

Staying active in a big city means rubbing shoulders with cars, buses, trains and wayward tourists. Bike lights are often ignored or stolen, and reflective tape and shoes only make you visible when light reflects off them. Accidents can happen in a crowded bike lane at dawn or when the sidewalk ends at dusk.
Fo̱s is a new paradigm in visibility. It's a Velcro®-lined fabric patch that contains a super-bright LED grid you can program through your phone, wirelessly. The LEDs' brightness will keep you visible and its video-stream capability will keep you noticed. You may not realize you're wearing it since it weighs less than a golf ball and feels like normal fabric.
At the same time Fo̱s is keeping you safe, it also engages those around you. Inspire others by letting them know you've reached your fitness goal, how many calories burned as you burn them and who it is you're running for.

The Designer

The technology inside Fo̱s is remarkable, and using it is beautiful. Your clothing and accessories can now bear the ever-changing, radiant designs you've been dreaming of. With 64K shades of light for each and every pixel, gradients, 3D objects and other artwork are at your command. The 60+ frames-per-second processing power makes all movement smooth as the fabric it's mounted to.

The Developer

Our Android®-based demo application and library package lets you get started quickly. Using the API, your smartphone or computer application instantly becomes connected to any number of Fo̱s units. Your app now can send arbitrary video, graphics and text to the user’s body at any time, in real time. Extend our demo code or import the library into your own application. A demo and library for iOS® and desktop OSes will follow shortly, all downloadable from the developer webpage.

What is Fo̱s made of?

Fo̱s was designed from scratch. The custom embedded system inside contains a powerful 32-bit microprocessor, flash memory, a sophisticated LED matrix driver and a very efficient power supply. The LED grid has elements that allow it to be extremely durable when flexing constantly. Everything had to work to an awesome standard but be extremely low-profile. Oh and low-cost, too.
Fo̱s' architecture is a big departure from my previous, mostly bespoke work. All the controls, circuitry and LEDs are inside the fabric which makes it really easy to apply. Fo̱s can be tiled both horizontally and vertically to make seamless, larger displays. No SD cards or thick wires, just awesomeness.

What are my options?

  • Single-height Fo̱s patch. This is an ~11 inch by 3 inch, black fabric patch with Velcro® around the perimeter. You can choose white or blue LEDs for the 32x8 pixel grid. For $30 more you get a long-sleeve athletic top prepared for Fo̱s.

  • Double-height Fo̱s patch. This is an ~11 inch by 5 inch, black fabric patch with Velcro® around the perimeter. You can choose white or blue LEDs, and the larger 32x16 pixel grid gives you room to draw stuff with greater detail. For $30 more you get a long-sleeve athletic top prepared for Fo̱s.

  • Triple-width Fo̱s belt. This is a 36 inch by 3 inch belt made with black genuine leather. Fits waists from 26 inches to 31 inches (size 4 to size 12) and is adjustable. The 96x8 pixel grid is a rich amber color and it goes with everything. It really is spectacular.

How will my pledge help?

Your pledge will not only manufacture an insanely great product, it will complete the remaining few items that require a lot of overhead. These include:
-Power pack modifications. I want to take existing USB power-banks that are made by the zillions and modify them just a bit to work with Fo̱s. This requires the design and production of a new boost convertor to stick in there and a tweak to the plastic housing. It's not difficult, it just takes a big order to get it done right.
-Mobile apps for cyclists, runners and the fashion scene. Fo̱s should be useful to you out-of-the-box. The visual design for these apps is already done as you saw in the video, we just need to finish the guts. Outside developers will probably beat us to it (yay!) but I want to guarantee you get the full experience from day one.

The Manufacturing Plan

Fo̱s is real, and you can get one. Here's what needs to be done before I send yours out:
October 2013
  • Complete programming of advanced Fo̱s device features (firmware upgrades, BTLE profile, performance optimizations)
  • Begin development of mobile apps, non-Android SDK packages and developer portal

November 2013
  • Create tooling for production
  • Procure electronic components
  • Begin Fo̱s PCB fabrication

December 2013
  • Test and verify protective surface treatments
  • Begin production of battery packs

January 2014
  • Begin Fo̱s product assembly and regulatory testing

February 2014
  • Begin delivering Fo̱s to backers

Who is this guy?

I'm Anders Nelson, originally from outside of Detroit, Michigan. I'm 30 years old, love disco-house music and I began working on the precursors to Fo̱s in 2005. It's been a very long journey and I'm really excited to see what you do with this neat technology.

Tech Specs

Single-height Fo̱s patch:
Dimensions: 10.75" x 3" [27.3cm x 7.6cm]
Weight: 1.13 oz [32 g]
Display area: 8" x 2" [20.3cm x 5cm]
Battery: Rechargeable lithium ion, 2600mAh, 4" x 1" x 1" [10.2cm x 2.5cm x 2.5cm], runtime approximately 4 hours per charge.
Power Consumption: 2.7W max
Double-height Fo̱s patch:
Dimensions: 10.75" x 5" [27.3cm x 12.7cm]
Weight: 2.26 oz [64 g]
Display area: 8" x 4" [20.3cm x 10.2cm]
Battery: Rechargeable lithium ion, 2600mAh, 4" x 1" x 1" [10.2cm x 2.5cm x 2.5cm], runtime approximately 4 hours per charge.
Power Consumption: 5.4W max
Triple-width Fo̱s belt:
Dimensions: 36" x 3" [91.4cm x 7.6cm]
Weight: 6.8 oz [96 g]
Display area: 24" x 2" [70cm x 5cm]
Battery: Rechargeable lithium ion, 2600mAh, 4" x 1" x 1" [10.2cm x 2.5cm x 2.5cm], runtime approximately 2 hours per charge. 2 batteries provided.
Power Consumption: 8.1W max
All Fo̱s systems:
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 (EDR + Low Energy)
Display fidelity: 65,536 greyscale shades per pixel
Onboard storage:
262,144 frames at 1-bit depth (145.6 minutes at 30fps)
32,768 frames at 8-bit depth (18.2 minutes at 30fps)
16,384 frames at 16-bit depth (9.1 minutes at 30fps)
Pixel pitch: 0.25 in (6.35 mm)
OS compatibility: Android®, iOS®, Windows®, OSX®, Linux®

Risks and challengesLearn about accountability on Kickstarter

I’ve already been through most of the engineering challenges. The product was run through a full production environment successfully after 15+ months in development. I made previous wearable systems for professional entertainers, marketing agencies and athletes around the world.
Fos has a strong and reliable supply chain, strengthened by the contract manufacturer's long experience in high volume consumer electronics production.
Are there risks? Of course there are! Manufacturing delays, material delivery slips and customs clearance issues are the norm, not the exception. We have gone out of our way to select a delivery date that accounts for the worst while we hope for the best.
No matter what, I believe in communication. All you wonderful people who pledge will be kept updated as production moves forward because after all is said and done, we're partners.


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