New iPad Stylus Made Possible Through Crowd-Funding
Like many new products, the stylus cap was born from designer Don Lehman’s own unmet needs. Lehman is an avid iPad user.
“I love all the power tools like the iPad and iPhone bring to sketching and note-taking: you can quickly work out an idea from anywhere and send it off instantly to anyone,” Lehman said. But using his finger to write and sketch threw him back to kindergarten days and he was unsatisfied with the styluses on the market.
“Poor ergonomics and big, mushy points, these styluses feel like using a golf pencil with a tennis ball for a tip,” he said.
I am the ape
One day Lehman was playing with the cap of a Sharpie pen when the idea for a “cap” stylus hit him. “It was not unlike that scene in ‘2001’ where the apes suddenly realize bones could be used as weapons after they touch the monolith,” he said. “I believe that makes me the ape.”
The More/Real Stylus Cap consists of two parts: the cap and the tip. The cap is machined from stainless steel and the tip is made of a conductive rubber that offers superior control compared to other styluses currently on the market, according to Lehman.
The Stylus Cap comes in three versions, each made to fit a common pen: Sharpie Finepoint, Bic Round Stic, and Pilot Fineliner.
The Stylus Cap works with any capacitive touchscreen device. It has been tested on iOS, Android, webOS, and Windows Phone 7 devices.
Lehman decided to market his idea on Kickstarter, a website where inventors can make their prototypes available for funding.
Kickstarter employs an all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands. If the funding goal is reached by the deadline, which varies from one to 90 days, inventors get their funding, minus a five percent fee to Kickstarter. There is no charge for submitting a project.
Lehman said he could sense success within hours of posting on Kickstarter. “I launched the product on Kickstarter around two o’clock in the morning, Chicago time, and sent emails to everyone in my address book,” he said. “When I woke up a couple of design blogs (Core 77 and Design Sponge) had posted about it, starting the ‘echo chamber.’ I could see it building on Twitter … three or four tweets a minute.”
Anyone can be a Kickstarter backer with pledges as low as $1. Just under half of Kickstarter projects have been funded, representing more than 5,000 projects to date. Most funding goals are set at less than $10,000. The average pledge is $71 and the most common is $25.
Stylus Cap is a go
Lehman said he did his homework before launching his prototype on Kickstarter. He had quotes from manufacturers and product pricing. The big advantage to using Kickstarter is it allows people to test their ideas before making a big investment. Projects must meet Kickstarter guidelines and be approved before they can be posted on the site. All Kickstarter projects include a promotion video, the biggest expense of launch, according to Lehman.
See his video here.
With 19 days left for pledges, Lehman’s Stylus Cap has raised $34,766, more than twice his goal of $15,000. All of the funding will go directly into the first production run and filling orders from Kickstarter backers, which Lehman says will happen about a month after the project closes on Mar. 16.
Lehman’s advice to would-be inventors: Just try it. You’ll know within hours if it makes sense.