After a year’s hiatus, it’s back! With your help, I will produce a new run of blinky badges for 2017.
This year’s blinky badge is a variant on the badge I made in 2015: a networked light badge with patterns that are programmed through virtual sex. Each badge has a virtual genome which controls traits such as color gamut, blinking rate, saturation, and cycling behavior.
Details of how this works have been written up on my blog and on Vice.
This year’s shape is designed to appeal to an audience beyond the Institute camp. As such, this campaign will be open to select individuals and theme camps outside of The Institute.
However, as with before, buyers should be aware they are purchasing small-batch artisinal electronics hardware, which means there will probably be some small bugs and annoyances. I will do my best to support the devices on-playa, but as there is only one of me, please use common sense when mounting/handling the badges. Like most electronics, they don’t take kindly to being repeatedly beaten with a dangling caribeaner, or being doused with beer. It’ll probably survive a week in the dust — but that’s an aspiration, not a guarantee.
Half the cost of this year’s badge is the injection molding tool for the protective case.
The badge has affordances to mount on a standard camel back using zip ties. There’s also a hole for pendant-style mounting, but the badge is heavy enough that this wouldn’t be comfortable for a whole night out.
The campaign closes on May 14th. Material lead time is about 8 weeks for the badge, which means production would spin up around July 14th. I’m hoping to ship finished goods to Crowd Supply by end of July. This means Crowd Supply should receive the badges by early August, and they typically dispatch all packages within a week. With standard shipping, this means you should get your badge by mid-August, just in time for the burn.
It’s hard to say at this point, but early tests indicate it’s sufficient to have blinkysex with people within casual conversation distance, but not within shouting distance. So about 1/4th the range of the 2015 badge, I’d say, and it really depends on how close the wire antenna is to e.g. your body or a ground plane of some sort.
The primary cost driver for the badge is the cost of the injection molded case. For safety and durability, I think a hard plastic shell is a must; a naked lithium battery pack is a safety hazard and the PCB won’t last long in the dust without some protection. However, you do get a decorative light diffuser bezel in this year’s badge, which will cut back on the leading cause of problems on the 2015 badge, namely shattered OLED screens.
The cost also includes \$5 for domestic shipping, plus another \$5 to get the badges from China to the US in bulk, as well as all other handling fees charged by various service providers.
No. Sorry, I need to amortize the tool cost across as many people as possible.
The badges are made at cost. As such, I have no margin to scale up customer support. It’s just me. I also don’t want to spend the entire burn servicing sparkleponies. Thus I’m happy to make this for friends and friends of friends, but customer support is only pleasant when people treat you like a peer and not like a butler or slave.
Badges will ship from Crowd Supply’s warehouse in Portland, Oregon. I don’t make any money on the badges, but I’m endeavoring to finish them early enough that they can ship to you via the most economical method possible (which lowers the total product cost as expedited shipping can be very pricey). And yes, it costs more to ship international. And yes, you have to pay all import duties and taxes. If you don’t like that, don’t order it; or, ship to a friend in the US and figure it out from there.
This is a short-run production. The design basicaly works, but there will probably be small bugs and annoyances. I’ll likely bring a reprogramming jig to the playa, so you can get a firmware update to fix bugs on-playa, but you’ll have to find the jig at Phage camp to apply an update.
There’s always a chance something awful happens and production doesn’t finish in time for the burn. In which case, you’ll have a beautiful badge for 2018!!!