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[Bob's] experience with Haxlr8r

[Mike Szczys] recently got together with [Bob Baddeley] to talk about his experiences taking a hobby project to market. He’s not quite there yet, but [Bob] decided to travel a route which we find quite interesting. He has been taking part in a 111 day accelerator program called Haxlr8r. The idea is that this experience will give him the manufacturing chops he needs to meet the demand when his product actually launches. He spent a considerable amount of time in China, an experience he blogged about at length. The program also provides development cash in return for a percentage of the company.

The product he’s working on is an LED scoreboard, which explains why he calls the company Portable Scores. It started as a hobby project, and he brought one of the early prototypes along to show off in the video after the break. It’s a wooden frame, with foam board for the back and substrate, and clear acrylic on the front to protect the LEDs. All of the soldering is point-to point (there’s an image of this available after the break too). His redesigns have moved from Arduino to a PIC controller, made the entire face of the display one PCB, and added Bluetooth control. It’s great to see someone really go for it with a well-conceived project. We wish him all the best!

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Getting your stuff built: how to shop, conduct business, stay alive, and eat your way through Shenzhen

This is [Bob Baddeley]. He’s an EE with an idea that started as a fun project until someone said “hey, that’s cool”. He started thinking about what it would take to launch it commercially and before he knew it he was involved in a startup accelerator to help him assemble what he needs to make his idea into a business. He spent several weeks in China learning about manufacturing and posted copiously about it.

We’ve seen other engineering trips to Asia, but [Bob's] experience living there provides a different perspective than a quick trip would. He posted about the thing’s you’d expect, like touring a short-run prototyping facility. But he also talks about the rigors of being a pedestrian in a place where legged transport is marginalized by the gas and pedal powered vehicles that are crammed into every square-inch of the city. In the image above he’s walking on the highway (for some inexplicable reason; deathwish?).

He also got to do a lot of fun stuff. He met a ton of folks, like [Bunnie Huang], [Ian Lesnet], and the team over at Seeed Studios. He even took his protoype to the local Maker Faire. It’s a scoreboard which can be controlled from your smart phone. [Bob] tells us that he didn’t get much interest showing the face of the device as seen in that post. But when he turned it around to show off the point-to-point wire porn he was mobbed by interested hackers. Guts!

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