I’m sure that most of you already know about Kickstarter, the platform that helps people like you and me get funding for various projects. Since its creation in 2008, Kickstarter has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs get their project started.
Today, we sit down and talk to Adewale Adeluyi-Adelusi and Bojan Smiljanic from Unique Design Solutions about their new project, Foco. They tell us what it is, why they created it, and hopefully you’ll like their project enough to pledge a few bucks…
What is Foco?
Anyone who owns an iPad 2 or 3 today can identify with the diminishing sound from the rear built-in speakers. We wanted to create a simple device to change that. Foco is a unique device that captures the sound escaping away from you via the rear speakers and refocuses the sound towards the front of the iPad. With Foco, you get a richer, more fulfilling sound experience when using your iPad.
How did you get the idea of Foco?
We use our iPads to watch movies and YouTube, listen to music, play games, video chat, for presentations and much more. Unfortunately due to the rear positioning of the iPad speakers the sound is directed away from you instead of towards you, and this can be somewhat frustrating.
It was at this point that we started looking into options to enhance the sound. There are other solutions such as headphones or portable speakers. However, you can only wear headphones for so long and speakers can be a battery drain or cumbersome to carry around everywhere. So, we took it upon ourselves to create a device to enhance the sound experience for consumers. A device that could be used for extended periods of time without causing fatigue or battery drain. Something simple, easy to use, portable with the iPad and not requiring magnets, batteries or electricity to function.
Trust us when we tell you we have tried almost all the options available, for example: cupping your hands, using sticky notes, modified cooking spray covers and even large kitchen mixing bowls (don’t ask). We knew there had to be a better way and created Foco as an alternative to devices that already exist. It is really a simple solution to a sound deficiency iPad users face.
What makes Foco different from similar products?
There are other solutions on the market that work but they do not compliment the minimal design of the iPad. They obstruct the screen, fall off the iPad when moved around, are too expensive or do not work with iPad cases. We looked at every single solution available and decided to create a device to solve all the areas that were lacking.
Foco compliments the minimal design of the iPad by blending in and not obstructing the screen and it works with most cases on the market. It was very important that our solution stay attached because we use the iPad in very dynamic and fluid ways (video games, presentations, in motion etc., etc.). Foco will not fall off your iPad once it is attached. It’s a simple, affordable solution that just works.
How Does Foco Work?
Foco is made from very dense plastic which is great for sound reflection. With our specially formulated PU sticky pad you are able to attach/detach Foco easily from your iPad without leaving any residue. Foco will stay on your iPad until you remove it and goes wherever the iPad goes. The sticky pad sticks around the speaker edges to capture and channel the sound. Our twin cup scoop redirects and focuses the collected sound from the rear to the front. Most iPad owners have a case to protect their investment so we designed Foco to work with most of the cases on the market today by acting as an overlay.
What is this PU pad?
Not many people are familiar with what the PU sticky pad is. The pad is a specially formulated polyurethane (PU) material that sticks to most surfaces, is reusable and leaves no residue. We picked this material because it is versatile and extremely durable.
In our last Capta project, we used the same type of PU pad with excellent results. Our PU pad sticks to more surfaces than a suction cup and works in more situations. Refreshing and removing built up debris and dirt from the pad can easily be performed using running water and allowing the pad to air dry. This is not a new technology as similar products exist in the medical industry such as reusable pads used for heart monitoring, physical therapy, etc.
It truly is an amazing material.
Who is UDS?
Two freelance designers, Adewale Adeluyi-Adelusi and Bojan Smiljanic, run Unique Design Solutions (UDS). In the past we have designed products for others and recently formed UDS to launch our own line of products.
Our first product was Capta, a hybrid accessory for smartphones that was successfully launched via Kickstarter and is now available for sale. Capta was our first product taken from sketch all the way through production.
At UDS our goal is always to deliver a top quality product and we received very good feedback from backers who now use Capta daily. It was a lot of hard work but we believe in quality and customer satisfaction. We plan to use all the lessons learned from Capta to make Foco even more successful and look forward to having it sold in stores.
Your goal is to raise $7,000. How do you expect to get there?
For a start up like UDS it is an enormous undertaking to raise funds through Kickstarter. The impression that you just post on Kickstarter and sit by as your backers pile up is very wrong. You have to be pro-active even prior to launching the project. It starts with an informative and easy to understand video which is followed by doing all you can to spread the word. These two tasks will make or break your Kickstarter experience.
UDS has limited funds so we do everything in house. Everywhere we go, we hand out cards and information trying to get people excited about our product. We spend hours upon hours sending our releases and emails to major websites hoping to get the word out about our project on Kickstarter. Additionally, we leverage Facebook, Google+ and other social media avenues to spread the word.
We have found the greatest catalyst of all is getting featured on popular websites like iDownloadBlog, TechCrunch, Gizmodo, Wired amongst others. If you get featured they can help spread the word to all their readers. At the end of the day, hard work pays off when you get featured and ultimately funded via crowd funding.
A lot of hard work has gone into getting Foco to where it is today and still have a long way to go. We have to introduce Foco to as many people as possible because even the best ideas go away if no one knows about them.
When will Foco enter production, where will it be made and how much will it cost?
Our Kickstarter campaigns ends May 25, 2012. We will move into production once we have received funds raised through Kickstarter. Foco was designed, prototyped and tested in the US and will be manufactured in China. Foco will have a list price of $14.95 but is currently available on Kickstarter for a pledge of $8.
Where will we be able to buy a Foco?
Foco is currently available via Kickstarter for pre-order through May 25th. Once manufacturing is complete, Foco will be available on the UDS website at www.udsproducts.com. We are also working with a few retailers and distributors to also make Foco available for purchase.
Will you give away a few Focos to iDB readers when available?
No, we are running a business. Just joking, we would love to give away a few Focos to iDB readers so they can experience it as well and provide us feedback.
Do you have other projects in the pipeline?
At UDS we have a variety of products we are currently working on. Our next product that’s close to release is “Vavo”, an accessory for smartphones and will be launched soon. Once we launch a new product, readers of iDB will be the first to know. We know they will love Vavo!
Interested in getting Foco off the ground? Pledges on Kickstarter start at $8, which will get you a Foco once available. You can also choose to pledge $21 or $31 that will get you several Focos once they are available. Go ahead!