Etcetera - 6/20/13

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Described as a must-have for such events as Burning Man, concerts, parties or just for fun, the WavyWand is making a comeback, with improvements in mind.

I originally wrote about this programmable hand-held device that displays images and messages in mid-air in a December 2006 U-B article.

Adriaan Smit, a Walla Walla College engineering alum now of Beaverton, Ore., designed and developed the WavyWand in 2005 with partner Robert Batten and former partner Tyler Shaw. They introduced it at the February 2006 New York City Toy Show. It sold like hotcakes on HGTV.

High interest at the time was accompanied by high costs that “ultimately prevented forward momentum,” Adriaan noted on his “Bring back the WavyWand” page on Kickstarter, at kck.st/1bmGbpp.

Changes they plan to make to the design are using more efficient LEDs and including built-in support for a mini USB programming cable to replace the current custom cable.

To do this they tapped into Kickstarter.com to reach thousands of people at once and obtain the funding needed for those improvements and marketing. The online fundraising site accepted the WavyWand project and it’s been “launched.”

That puts the pressure on as the project will only be funded if at least $50,000 is pledged by Thursday July 25, at 1:03 a.m. EDT.

As of today the project has 63 backers, $2,761 pledged toward the $50,000 goal and 34 days to go.

A video is available at kck.st/1bmGbpp, should you wish to view the wand in action. It has a motion sensor and micro-controller, a tiny computer, that controls individual LEDs. It can display anything imaginable that can be drawn in a 48 x 100 pixel image.

Newer types of LEDs are being manufactured all the time that are brighter and more efficient than the last, Adriaan said. Using such LEDs will give the WavyWand a brighter display and a longer battery life.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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