• Mid-Campaign Updates

    Monday, September 23, 2013

    9/23/2013— Updates

    Tessel goes on tour!

    Technical Machine’s Jon and Kelsey are coming to San Francisco this week! Catch us at our public tech talk (food & drink included) and play with a Tessel:

    Tues, 9/24 6:30pm, San Francisco (SOMA)get free tickets (required)

    RSVP | Tweet about it

    Crowdfunding success and stretch goals

    Our crowdfunding has been a great success so far– check it out! We were the first project ever backed on Dragon Innovation, reaching our goal in under 3 hours. We’re now over 225% backed, but the more funded the project is, the more modules we can afford to build:

    At 100k funding, we added an ambient sensor to the Class A modules. The ambient sensor sends/receives sound, visible light, and IR light. Ever wanted to make a television turn on with a clap? You can with the ambient sensor.

    We surveyed our backers to see what to offer next, and they picked a GPRS/SIM module– so if we hit 130k, we’ll add it, too. A GPRS module will add 2G connectivity, which means Tessel can connect to the internet without wifi. The SIM part will allow Tessel to interact with the telecom network, e.g. sending/receiving text messages.

    What’s more, every additional 30k we raise, we can add another module picked by our backers.

    Help us reach our stretch goals by adding your influence!

    Demo videos and documentation

    We believe in open source.

    Our hardware documentation is now live at https://github.com/technicalmachine/tessel-design-docs. Check it out, share it around, and please let us know what we can clarify! (Tweet this)

    We’ll add more hardware and software documentation as soon as we can.

    Cypress and Jia show how they use Tessel.

    Our friend Cypress and Co-Founder Jia show a couple of simple uses for Tessel.

    Cypress uses Tessel to make a wireless switch for his on-call mother, a midwife, to tell clients when she has to leave the office suddenly. View.

    Jia uses Tessel to help her wake up and get to work. View.

    A little more Q & A

    We’ve had some good questions from our backers:

    How about a video module?

    We would love to make a video module. We played around with the idea before launching the campaign, but didn’t feel comfortable enough with it to release it as a module … yet. We’re open to suggestions for what camera specifications you would enjoy.

    What are the current usages while Tessel is idle, sleeping, and transmitting?

    The peak current while transmitting is ~600mA. Normal usage draws 300mA, and turning off select components (e.g. WiFi, external SDRAM) and putting the main chip to sleep can bring it down as low as 15mA. Tessel has various sleep modes, which we will expose through our JavaScript API. Note that we expect the usage to drop once we begin implementing smart software power control.

    Does the success of crowdfunding speed up shipping dates?

    The best answer we can give is … maybe. We want to ship to you as soon as we can, and the more we raise, the faster we can move. For example, buying parts overseas is cheaper, but also takes weeks longer than buying from a more expensive local supplier. Every bit we raise goes towards Tessel development.

    Will the price change after the crowdfunding campaign?

    Again, the best answer we can give is “maybe”. We want to price Tessel as low as possible, while still sustaining a development budget. The main factor is volume, so it will really depend on our order size. Since we’re still below 1k in order quantity, we’re not yet getting the best possible price.

    Keep asking questions!

    We love hearing from you– reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, and email.

    Our announcements get to the blog eventually, but we typically email our subscribers first– sign up here to get Technical Machine news.

    Want Technical Machine to give a tech talk at your organization? If you’re in Boston or Seattle, we can probably oblige– shoot us an email!

    That’s all until next time. Keep in touch!


    Kelsey, Jia, Jon, Eric, and Tim

    #update #updates #crowdfunding #tessel #technical machine #javascript on hardware #tour #san francisco #sf #software #hardware #stretch goals

  • We've Launched!

    Thursday, September 5, 2013

    9/5/2013— Updates


    Tell your friends!


    Ordering on Dragon: Since Dragon’s platform is new, we wanted to point out some key differences from other crowdfunding platforms:

    • You can order multiples. Notice, at each backer level, a little ‘quantity’ box. How many Tessels would you like to order?

    • You can back at several levels. If you already ordered a Tessel and a module, you can come back to our Dragon Innovation page and order more modules. Since we’re pioneers on Dragon, shopping cart functionality isn’t up and running with this iteration of the site– but rest assured you can do it! Email us if you’re having trouble with this.

    • You’re ordering product, not just supporting us. You’re supporting us, too, but Dragon Innovation is more than just crowdfunding. Kickstarter Is Not a Store, but you can treat Dragon like one: Dragon helps us set our minimum funding goal after helping us figure out all of the costs, such that the money we ask for is enough to ensure delivery. You can back with confidence, knowing that meeting our funding goal means that you are now the proud owner of a Tessel.

    Please email us if you have any questions!

    Kelsey, Jia, Jon, Eric, and Tim

    #update #crowdfunding #launch #tessel #technical machine #dragon innovation

  • Goodbye Highland, Hello Dragon

    Saturday, August 31, 2013

    8/31/2013— Kelsey Breseman

    As the summer wraps up, we say farewell to Summer@Highland and hello to Dragon Innovation and crowdfunding. We’ve set our launch date for September 5th, and we’re working really hard on finishing our video and backer rewards!

    The startup incubator Summer@Highland was a really great experience for us, allowing us office space, great advice, and a community of other startup teams.

    Now we’re preparing to launch with the support of Dragon Innovation, a crowdfunding platform designed specifically for hardware projects. They helped MakerBot, Pebble, and other hardware projects to deliver in more of a consulting role, and we’re excited to be part of their first class of crowdfunding projects. I’ll write more about them later.

    We released this demo video to our email subscribers a couple of days ago, showing the workflow of programming Tessel:

    We’re actively working on tools and our APIs to better integrate with the existing, amazing Node.js infrastructure that exists today.

    Do you have a plan for how to use Tessel? We love to hear from you on Twitter and Facebook, as well as over email.

    All the best!

    #kelsey breseman #summer@highland #HCP #dragon innovation #update #updates

  • Answering Questions

    Friday, August 16, 2013

    8/16/2013— Kelsey Breseman

    Welcome, new readers, to Technical Machine’s blog!

    The last two days have been a whirlwind for us as we hit the top of Hacker News, Hack-A-Day, and started reaching our community. We’re really grateful for the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response, particularly among web developers and small businesses. That’s one of our core goals: to foster entrepreneurship among web programmers in the physical world. Thus we’re stoked that you are the community that noticed us first.



    It’s tough to answer every tweet, so I thought I could answer some of the more pressing questions here:


    Are you open source?

    Yes! Open source code, open source hardware. Our vision is that you can use Tessel to prototype, test, and hopefully start your own business in the field of internet-connected devices. That doesn’t make much sense if we keep anything proprietary—so we won’t.

    Not much is currently available, but don’t worry, we’ll be opening it up steadily over time.

    When can I get one?

    We’ll be launching our crowdfunding campaign in early September. If you haven’t already, sign up on our email list and we’ll shoot you an email when pre-orders are ready!

    Can I have one early?

    We don’t have a definite answer here, but probably not. We want to make sure that everything works really well and that our crowdfunding backers get theirs as soon as possible. Scaling from twenty prototypes to production is expensive, and our first priority is securing reliable manufacturing.

    What does it cost?

    Sorry, but we can’t tell you yet. We’re still figuring out all of the costs, and we don’t want to throw a number before we’re certain.

    We said before that we want to make Tessel open, but we want to go a step beyond that and also make it reproducible. It’s a high priority that our component decisions enable others to build off of Tessel’s schematics and hardware without restriction, which means choosing common components and not ones with contractual or high volume agreements.

    Where does the Tessel fall with respect to Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and BeagleBone?

    In terms of power, the Tessel is between a small MCU like the Arduino and a full fledged microprocessor like the Pi/BeagleBone. The ARM Cortex-M is one of the most popular architectures today and we’re pleased to add another option to the real-time microcontroller space.

    We’ve designed Tessel for usability and modularity. We’re aiming for a device that’s more like a PaaS, where you can push code without extensive configuration or drivers. (Of course, our firmware will be open for any modification you’d like.)

    Can I talk to you about making Tessel compatible with my product?

    Sure! We love hearing from startups and seeing new applications for Tessel. Shoot us an email and we’ll talk.

    Are you looking for investment?

    Absolutely! Please send us an email at team@technical.io.





    In other news, we had a hackathon with One Mighty Roar yesterday, an interaction design group in Boston. We wanted to get their take on what it was like to use Tessel. We had a great time working with them, and they seemed to like Tessel right back! Expect to see some of their project code added to Github sometime soon.

    —Kelsey (The Ghost in the Machine)

    #kelsey breseman #tessel #technical machine #faq #hacker news #compatibility #modularity #nodejs #node #one mighty roar #crowdfunding #update

  • Boards and Branding

    Friday, August 9, 2013

    8/9/2013— Kelsey Breseman

    We’re in our last few weeks at Highland Capital’s offices, and things are really coming together for a launch inside of a month.

    We picked a product name!
    That news is about a week old, but in case you haven’t heard, our board is called Tessel.

    That decided, we ran a design contest for a logo. After iterating with a few designers, we are pleased to announce our logo:

    We picked the name Tessel partially because our microcontroller boards will fit together with other physical modules we’re producing, each of which plugs in to give the board new capabilities: sensors, actuators, hookup to Arduino, et cetera (you can see the full listing on our website). But since they fit together so nicely, we’re considering calling the combination of a Tessel board and its modules a Tesselation.

    Conveniently, our new logo is dynamic; we can swap out the T logo in its center and sub in slick icons for each of the modules:

    Pretty classy, right? We can print these icons right onto our module boards so it’s easy to see what each one does.

    Modules were submitted for manufacture yesterday, so we should have them back to play with early next week.

    Tim’s been working on our website all week, too. It will probably keep changing a fair amount, but you can see it in its current state at technical.io. Note the new About Us page.

    As always, we’ve also been working on our board. Tessel v.1 was submitted for manufacture last week.

    We’re getting them in today- fingers crossed that everything works the way it’s supposed to!

    That about wraps it up for now, but hopefully we’ll have more exciting news to share soon.

    Until then,
    I remain,
    —The Ghost in the Machine

    #kelsey breseman #updates #update #tessel #naming #branding #name #technical machine #business

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