We’re going to be at the Ann Arbor Maker Faire this Saturday (May 10.) If you’re in the area come drop by and say hi!
The manufactured 8Square – which we decided to call “Hypnosquare” – is now available on our store. They look quite nice! The lacquered wood case is much nicer than the Ikea shadowboxes that we were using for the kits; I’m going to see if we can’t use the same case for the currently-naked kits too.
These are functionally equivalent to the “basic” kit – they don’t have USB, but do keep the switches on the back for playback control. And just like the retail 4Cube, the UART header and interface are there so if you want to hack it to do your own displays you can.
Lots has happened since the last post, so long ago. Foremost: Chris and I have quit our day jobs to make a go with Hypnocube full time(!) What started as a simple project build on a lark, and morphed into a small after-hours operation, growing organically, is now finally our full time job. We’re now renting an office at the very awesome MakerWorks, which also gives us access to all sorts of neat tools. Living the dream, baby! We’ll see how far we can take it.
Of course there’s lots of work ahead – not least of which is to scale our operations to where it can support us long-term. To that end we’re working on broadening both our product range and our sales outlets. We’ve got a number of new products planned that should be pretty cool, and now that we can devote all of our time to Hypnocube, shouldn’t take years to bring to market (8Cube? What? I have no idea what you’re insinuating, Sir.)
Along those lines, we’ve put a retail version of the 8Square (re-branded HypnoSquare) into production, and have been working on wrapping up the 8Cube to get that particular monkey off our back. More details on both those projects very soon.
So recently we’ve started producing a manufactured 4Cube (as opposed to our previous kit and hand-built versions.) ThinkGeek carries them now. They’re much (much!) cheaper for those who can’t or don’t want to build a kit. Heck, they’re significantly cheaper than even the kits. Which is all pretty awesome. But as we hadn’t launched it on this site yet, information about it doesn’t appear here… Which has apparently led some of you to quite understandably confuse the new version available on ThinkGeek with the old still here. And for that I apologize. While the core Cube is much the same, there are some important feature differences, namely the lack of USB connectivity and forward/back buttons. So if you were expecting them on the new Cube, I can understand you might be upset. Sorry.
Now, for the hacking minded amongst you, we didn’t entirely cripple the new Cube in terms of hackability. The firmware on it still fully supports the protocol used by the old Cube, and while there is no longer a USB-UART bridge on board, the UART pins are exported on the PCB. So you can connect your own USB-UART bridge, RS232-UART bridge, or another microcontroller to it and have full control over it. I’ll write up a quick tutorial on how to go about doing that shortly.
As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact me.
To ring in the new year, we’ve got some new prices:
We recently updated the 4Cube to eliminate the expensive USB module and instead implement USB functionality through a second PIC microcontroller. Power is also now through the USB, and our international customers will be glad to find that the power adapter now accepts up to 240VAC so a transformer is no longer required (just a physical plug adapter if your outlets differ from the US style.) So we’ve lowered the price of 4Cube kits to $150. I’m going to make it retroactive to all December orders, so people who ordered recently will be getting a refund to the lower price.
We’re also knocking back the finished prices. In addition to the cost savings of the kit, I’m now having a friend of mine do the construction; it’s not China, but it’s cheaper labor than yours truly :). I will still be doing a final inspection to ensure everything is constructed well before shipping.
The 8Square design hasn’t been updated yet, since we don’t move as many of those units, but we’ve lowered the price to be in line with the 4Cubes since otherwise it would seem unbalanced.
My new year’s resolution: be more efficient at getting stuff out the door. Starting with the ^&@#$ oft-delayed 8Cube. I will have an update on that shortly.
We’ve been shamed by one of our customers to finally post a video of the 8square 🙂
I guess being out of stock for the entire month will do that. Who woulda thunk?
I’ve finally got the LEDs in, tested a few, and they’re right this time. So we should be packing up a pile of kits this weekend, and be back in business. To all who have been waiting, thank you for your patience!