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Sense / The First Device to Truly Understand Your Sleep

“We’d all like to get more sleep. Sense helps you to get better sleep.”

Your Sleep Story

James Proud, founder of Hello, set out to change the way we think about sleep. “Sleep. We spent a third of our lives doing it. Each day is dependent on it. But we still neglect it,” says James. He founded Hello as a combination hardware and software company to help people understand how conditions in the the bedroom impact sleep.

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Sense, by Hello, is a simple system that tracks your sleep behavior, monitors the environment of your bedroom, and reinvents the alarm. The team launched a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, raising over $2.4 million by 19,000 backers.

The system is comprised of three distinct parts. Sense sits on your nightstand to monitor conditions in the bedroom: noise, light, temperature, particulates in the air, and other disturbances. The Sleep Pill clips to your pillow, tracking your activity throughout the night. Finally, the mobile app ties it all together and includes a smart alarm to wake you up at the right time.

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The Making Of Sense

When the team began designing Sense, they set tight constraints: create a beautiful object that feels at home on your nightstand while working seamlessly with the complicated technology inside. They wanted to create an object that, even if it did nothing more than look pretty, people would be still be happy to display in their bedroom.

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As opposed to more typical tech products, “it’s much harder to design a device that feels at home sitting beside your bed every day,” says Industrial Designer Rob. To complement something as natural as sleep, the team decided on an organic, nest-like structure.

Sketches

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They pulled initial inspiration from architecture, as they saw how “a single design could be wrapped around an entire structure and lit up in ways that illuminates a whole building with a beautiful glow.”

Inspiration

To achieve a similar effect, the team created hundreds of prototypes. The 3D printer, which ran 24/7 for months, has spent over 1500 hours and 16,000 grams of resin developing parts.

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In addition to logistical challenges (the 3D printer broke down at least 17 times), the CAD modeling itself proved to be challenging. To get the exact look they wanted, the team actually wrote their own software to build an algorithmic modeling program just for Sense. From there, the team moved to a parametric modeling program to focus on the details. The outer shell was created with 2,745 lines, manually edited in order to manufacture it as one solid piece.

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A total of 90 individual pieces make up Sense, all designed to fit seamlessly together and tested extensively for durability. “It’s like a beautiful puzzle fitting together perfectly to become strong, sturdy, and to protect everything inside,” says Mechanical Engineer Rosalie. “Objects shouldn’t just be designed to look good, they should be designed to last.”

The Makers

“We’re a team of designers, engineers and operations experts who collectively have built products and services that millions of people around the world use and like.”

[Makers]

Pre-order Sense.

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Are you a maker? Request an invite.

Photos via Hello.

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Peloton Cycle / The Only Indoor Bicycle with Live Streaming Classes

Peloton Cycle has built an entire tech-enabled ecosystem that brings the energy, instruction, and motivation of an indoor cycling class to any living room. 

The Inspiration

The idea for Peloton came to John and Jill Foley when they realized that they loved spinning classes, but could never find the same energy and motivation when working out at home.

John, then a President at Barnes & Noble, was simultaneously taking note of trends in the tablet market. The content available to a tablet is more valuable than the tablet itself, and he realized that indoor cyclists want good content as well–the invigorating experience of working out in a studio. He set out to find a way to utilize technology to transform the home workout, quickly assembling a team to help realize the ambitious goal.

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The team spent about 18 months developing and prototyping the system. The result is a combination of stationary bike, computer system, physical studio space with great cycling instructors, and software to connect it all as well as integrate key gamification and social elements. The team launched a Kickstarter campaign in mid-2013, to large success, and raised another $10.5 million in 2014.

The Making Of

The design of the bike itself is pretty impressive all on its own. The chain is replaced with a smooth and quiet belt drive. A magnetic system is employed in place of typical brake pads. The compact frame is constructed with carbon steel, and the micro-adjusting seat easily accommodates any rider.

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As for the computer, the sweat-resistant screen is 4x the size of a typical tablet–plenty large enough to watch the instructor while video chatting with other cyclists. The system is sleek and quiet, and made to fit right in to any living room –no more hiding in the basement!

Here are some photos documenting the design and prototyping process that went into making Peloton Cycle:

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Evaluation boards in the early days.
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Team members Graham Stanton, Chris Sira, Rich Couzzi, Swarna Anananon, and Yony Feng testing the streaming system.
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Yony Feng and Scott Milstein unveiling the first official prototype.
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Tom Cortese setting up the sound and streaming system.
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Above, John Foley with a later official prototype. Below, palettes of bikes mid-assembly.

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The Makers

The term “peloton” refers to the main pack of riders at the front of a road cycling race. Riders in a peloton work together to conserve energy and perform better. At Peloton Cycle, based in New York, the team is comprised of technology and cycling enthusiasts working together to deliver on their ambitious goals.

[Makers]

Buy a Peloton Bike.

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Are you a maker? Request an invite.

Photos via Peloton.

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Oru Kayak / The Folding, Origami-Inspired Boat for Urban Dwellers

Combining traditional art with new technology, the Oru Kayak team is committed to connecting urbanites with the outdoors.

The Inspiration

The idea started in 2008 as a personal project of designer Anton Willis. Anton had recently moved into a studio apartment in San Francisco and had to put his kayak in storage. Around the same time he read a magazine article about origami, and was inspired. Why not make a kayak that can similarly fold like a piece of paper?

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Anton started folding paper models in his apartment.
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He gradually moved on to building prototypes in a friend’s garage.

A TechShop Collaboration

Anton immediately joined the SF TechShop when it opened in 2011, enabling him to fast track his design and prototying process. There, he teamed up with partners Ardy Sobhani and Roberto Gutierrez. They made many more prototypes using the shop’s advanced equipment, and launched a very successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012.

The team continued to work out of TechShop for a while after the campaign. They continue to use the space to develop their core product, design new kayak models (to be released soon), and brainstorm future plans to expand their product offering beyond kayaks.

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Anton speaks highly of the relationships built with other makers at TechShop: “It feels like we’re in a class of companies that grew out of there. We all stay in touch and ask each other for advice.” Some of his favorite TechShop “classmates” include LumioOpenROV, and Mark Roth of SF Laser, who laser cut the pieces for many kayak prototypes.

The Making Of..

The kayaks are completely manufactured in the US, in a facility near Los Angeles.

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Anton, at the factory examining the first prototype.
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The body of kayak is made of one single sheet of white corrugated plastic. The orange plastic is the floorboard when assembled, and the lid when folded.
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Cutting the corrugated plastic.
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Tim, Oru Kayak’s manufacturing consultant, inspects the floorboards.
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A long piece of plastic is extruded and soon to be bent into shape.
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Cutting and screen printing hulls, as well as building bulkheads, footrests, and seats.
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Final assembly, packaging, and shipping.

 

The Makers

Meet the team behind the Oru Kayak.

[Makers]

Buy an Oru Kayak.

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Photos via Oru Kayak.

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Navdy / Head-Up Display for Any Car

“Drivers are 3x more likely to get into an accident when they take their eyes off the road to look down at a touchscreen.”

Feels Like Driving in the Future

Navdy, an aftermarket Head-Up Display (HUD), makes it easy to drive and use your smartphone without taking your eyes off the road. By combining projection display with voice and gesture control, you can navigate, communicate, and control your music seamlessly, without fumbling with your phone.

How does it work? Navdy projects an image so that it appears to float above the road ahead of you. Your eyes focus on the virtual image the same way they focus on a license plate. This allows you to shift focus from the display to the road in milliseconds.

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The Making of…

“We started by completely rethinking what the experience of using apps behind the wheel should feel like. Navdy is built from the ground up to be the safest and most intuitive way to make calls, use navigation, listen to music or access notifications without ever looking away from the road,” said co-founder and CEO Doug Simpson.

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Alex Halikias, President, and Jesse Madsen, VP Design, sketching mockups of Navdy’s display.

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Various iterations, from an early foam core prototype to more recent versions and components.
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In addition to prototype development, the team experimented with hundreds of vehicles to ensure that Navdy works in even the toughest of scenarios.
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Navdy’s headquarters in San Francisco’s Mission district.
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Paul Michalczuk, Director of Electrical Engineering, and designer Patrick Mulcahy hard at work; Karl Guttag, Co-Founder, explains the product to a group at Limelab.
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Jesse Madsen with the Navdy combiner: a curved polycarbonate lens that takes light from the projector and makes it appear to float 6 feet in front of you.

Meet the Makers

Navdy was founded by entrepreneur Doug Simpson and serial inventor Karl Guttag. They boast a highly accomplished veteran team of designers, engineers and other experts.

[Makers]

Preorder your Navdy here.

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Photos via Navdy. Video by Sandwich Video.

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Mark One / The World’s First 3D Printer to Print with Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is 20x stronger than the plastics usually used in 3D printing.

Mark One is the world’s first 3D printer designed to print with continuous carbon fiber. In this video, the makers tell their story, and explain how this technology will change the way me make things in the future.

The Mark One Process

MarkForged, the company behind the Mark One, plans to revolutionize the way we use carbon fiber. Despite the benefits of carbon fiber’s strength and light weight, it’s traditionally labor intensive and hard to work with.

MarkForged developed a new type of continuous carbon fiber material that can be printed with their beautifully designed Mark One—a printer any designer would be proud to display on their desktop.

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The idea is to help simplify the design, iteration and creation of composite parts without the use of bulky equipment. To achieve this goal, the printer uses two print heads to build with plastic or nylon, as well as MarkForged’s carbon fiber or fiberglass filaments.

Early prototypes can be printed using only the cost-efficient plastic or nylon. The MarkForged software then aids in determining where carbon fiber can be used as a reinforcement. The final product is then printed, using both materials, in one seamless process.

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The MarkForged team imagines that this is only the beginning of a revolution in 3D printing, and is excited to see real-life applications in aviation, robotics, prosthetics, space and countless other fields.

The Makers

MarkForged was founded by Greg Mark, an aerospace engineer who until recently worked on high-performance race car wings. After years of designing and manufacturing composite parts, he understood the limitations of traditional methods, and set out to develop 3D printing hardware to automate it.

“There’s a lot between an idea, and a product. That gap is filled by a team,” says Greg. The team is made up of mechanical engineers, scientists, plastic experts, and a creative director for “art, marketing and sexiness.”

[Makers]

[color-button href='https://markforged.com/pre-order-mark-one/']Preorder a Mark One[/color-button]

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 Are you a maker? Request an early beta invite.

Photos and video via MarkForged.

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Ugmonk / Inspirational Apparel for Modern Makers

“I founded Ugmonk in 2008 with a mission to produce high-quality products with a minimal design aesthetic and intense attention to detail.” –– Jeff Sheldon, Downingtown, PA

The Story of Ugmonk

We recently spoke with Jeff about his inspiration, favorite makers, and how he took Ugmonk from a fun side project to a brand with a worldwide following…

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The Ugmonk name began as a joke. “All of the names we came up with initially were too bland,” says Jeff. “We threw “Ugmonk” out as a joke. Then we started checking which URLs were open and Ugmonk wasn’t taken, so we grabbed it. Now if you search the word ‘Ugmonk,’ all 90,000+ Google results are somehow linked back to our brand.”

However, those 90,000 results are no accident. Jeff grew up practicing all types of traditional art, and transitioned into design in college. “I quickly fell in love with typography, and realized how integral type is to all design.” He launched Ugmonk as a side project in 2008, and his first four shirt designs started selling out within a few months. Jeff continually invested all of his profits into the company, built momentum, and finally decided to pursue Ugmonk full time in 2010. “We’ve now shipped tens of thousands of products to over 60 countries around the world. It’s been a wild ride.”

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The Making Of…

Jeff has since expanded his offerings into into other product categories, including his favorite make: a giant 18” wood ampersand.

“I originally made just one piece for an event that we were doing, but several people were really interested in buying one. From the polished natural wood grain to the rare-earth magnet that’s inset in the bottom to make it balance, it embodies the essence of the Ugmonk brand and attention to detail that I put into everything.”

Jeff does a great job of documenting the making of many of Ugmonk’s products, most notably their Messenger Bag

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Meet the Maker

Jeff is constantly absorbing inspiration from new cities he visits, classic mid-century design work, and simple Pennsylvania hikes. “Inspiration often strikes in the weirdest places, so I try to jot down ideas as they come.”

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Ugmonk is pretty much a one-man shop, with help from his brother, mom, and wife, as well as collaboration with Bandwagon Merch and Black Anchor Workshop. Jeff counts Quoddy ShoesMast Brothers Chocolate, Everlane, Tartine Bakery, and Ebbets Field among his favorite makers.

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What’s next for Ugmonk? “More new products both apparel and non-apparel. I have lots more ideas that I hope to execute as the Ugmonk brand continues to grow.”

Shop for Ugmonk t-shirts, leather goods, bags, and other accessories.

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 Are you a maker? Request an early beta invite.

Photos by Horace and Mae Photography and Ugmonk.