On Thursday (October 9th), creators of the Chicago-based startup AMPY hit Kickstarter with a crowdfunding campaign to raise $100,000 for its self-titled energy battery device. Not only has the new product attracted a lot of attention, it has been presented with the latest Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award.
The AMPY is a wearable kinective device that allows users to capture and convert their daily physical activity into charging power for their smartphones. The compact device can be strapped to a person’s arm, leg or hip. It can also be carried inside a backpack or messenger bag, where it charges anytime movement is detected. A user can then plug their smartphone into AMPY to restore a smartphone’s battery life.
CEO of the AMPY, Tejas Shastry stated, “A typical day of walking – about 8,000 to 10,000 steps – give syou another three hours of smartphone life, and if you add another 30-minute that day, you’d get around six additional hours.”
The company’s technical head, Mike Geier noted, “We developed all of the proprietary architecture for the internal conductor inside AMPY. It’s an area that we had to invest significant prototyping hours towards and equipment to create. The result is a product completely unique to the wearable space.”
Shastry, Geier and fellow co-founder, Alex Smith, are all Ph.D. candidates in engineering at Northwestern University in Evanston. Through the help of two accelerator programs along with their recent Proto Labs service grant, they’ve begun testing the device within an initial demographic of young, active urbanites.
The Cool Idea! Award provided the team with the tooling and subsequent low-volume injection molded production run for the plastic AMPY clip and housings. The parts will be used in devices shipped for pilot testing as well as upper-lvel crowdfunding perks for contributors. Shastry says they hope to follow the campaign with an early 2015 full-market release online.
Since 2011, the Cool Idea! Award has provided more than $750,000 in Proto Labs prototyping and short-run production services to entrepreneurs developing new products in the U.S. and Europe. Unlike other product awards that recognize products after they’re in mass production and on store shelves, the Cool Idea! Award is meant to help innovative ideas come to life.
Within the first few hours on the crowdfunding giant, the campaign has reached $26,458 from 81 backers. It is set to close on November 10th.
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