We got written up by The Verge! The Verge is one of the most cutting edge online media outlets in the tech space so that’s a real honor. They’re also a New York City based company, so go NYC!
Wow, that’s amazing. The founder and CEO of Kickstarter liked our project enough to back it. We’re also now a staff pick, which means we show up in the Staff Picks section and also get to put a fancy sticker on our page. Thanks Kickstarter!
We launched our Kickstarter and raised over a thousand dollars in the first day! Very exciting stuff. We set a low goal of only $10,000 because that’s the minimum we need to go to production, but we’re hoping to hit $50,000.
Jarryd and William tried to pull an all-nighter to get the case printed in time for the Kickstarter campaign. The Flatiron School graciously allowed us to use their MakerBot Replicator Mini to print, but unfortunately the spool kept getting stuck so a team member had to hand-feed it filament for hours. William made it until 5:30am, Jarryd made it to 7am. Miraculously, despite the sleep deprivation and several botched attempts, the cases were printed successfully!
Daniel has finished modeling out in OpenSCAD, and the Flatiron School just got a 3D printer, so we’re going to try our hand at printing them ourselves this weekend. We can’t wait to see what they look like once they’re real.
Andrea came up with a great new redesign of the cases. The base stations are now shaped like little houses, which is pretty cute. She has an amazing eye for this stuff!
Daniel just shared some awesome news! We got sponsored by SparkFun! They supply basically all the parts we need to make the sensors and they’re giving us a 30% discount, which is amazing. We gotta get their name up on the site as soon as possible. They are a great brand to be able to put our names next to, and the discount will allow us to provide more sensors with the same funding. Thanks so much, SparkFun!
The time has come! We know we can’t rely solely on BigApps, so we’re launching a kickstarter campaign to try to raise money for sensor production. We want to be able to give out as many as we can to people who need them, and it’s always been our mission not to charge anything, especially since many of the tenants who need them most are already struggling to make ends meet, so we’re turning to our neighbors for help. We think we can get $50,000, and with that money we should be able to come up with 1,000+ sensors. More details to follow.
We were using the ZigBee protocol for the mesh network but it looks like DigiMesh is a better option. With ZigBee, all the nodes in the network need to be on all the time to receive messages, but with DigiMesh, they can sleep most of the time, and then wake up in synchrony to transmit signals at a predetermined time. This means our battery life could potentially be over a year.
If we want our heat logs to hold up in court, we’ll have to be able to verify that our sensor readings are accurate. Having tenants have to change batteries in the middle of heat season would involve opening up the sensor, changing the battery, and then re-applying the tamper proof tape, but if the batteries could last an entire season it would eliminate that need. Plus, we want the sensors to be as easy to use as possible - basically “set it and forget it” - and this would mean tenants could do just that and not have to worry about the sensor at all once its installed.
We shot our promo video today, or at least the bulk of it. The video team volunteered their time out of the kindness of their hearts and their belief in our cause, so Heat Seek just got what would be thousands of dollars worth of video production work for free. It’s unbelievable how lucky we’ve been in stumbling across incredibly talented people who want to help us out. It really is a testament to the incredible city we live in. We’ll share the video as soon as we have a final cut!
We just had a great phone call with CASA (Community Action for Safe Apartments), a community organization that helps tenants in the Southwest Bronx organize around issues of affordable housing and safe living conditions. According to their Facebook page:
CASA’s work is grounded in the belief that everyone has a basic right to a safe, healthy, affordable and a stable home. Through unifying neighbors, educating and organizing tenants, we are shifting the balance of power in our neighborhoods, all the while protecting our homes!
Like every community group we’ve talked to, they’re incredibly supportive and excited about what we’re doing. We’re hoping we can present at one of their fall meetings and get sensors to interested tenants in time for heating season!
We won the popular vote at the NYCBigApps competition, and then went on to win the Battleground, earning us an automatic pass to the finals in September! Amazing. Thanks so much to everyone who voted, and to everyone who came out and supported us. Thanks also to our amazing team who made this all happen, and to the judges who voted UNANIMOUSLY for Heat Seek!
Heat Seek is #1 in the popular vote for the NYCBigApps competition! Thanks to everyone who has been supporting us this whole time and who voted. We are so grateful for all your support. Don’t forget to ask your friends to vote - the polls are open until tomorrow, July 19th at 3:30pm!
We got the cases 3D printed! Keith, the Flatiron School alum at MakerBot, was able to get them printed out for us. William picked them up and brought them back for Daniel and Harold to use. The first one was a bit small and the lid didn’t shut properly, but the second one was a slam dunk! Jarryd got some stickers printed with the Heat Seek logo on them, and with the sticker the case looks top notch.
We got officially sponsored by Personal Democracy Media and BetaNYC! We put their names up on the site next to the Flatiron School. It’s great having names we can point to and say, ‘these people believe in us’. We’re hoping for something of a snowball effect: the more sponsors we have, the more willing other organizations will be to sponsor us, too. We’re only asking sponsors to allow us to put their logo on our website, but we’re hoping that having their support will eventually help us to reach an even bigger audience when we launch a Kickstarter campaign.
We brought on a community outreach lead! We’ve been overwhelmed trying to reach out to all the community groups and advocacy groups who wanted to work with us, so we’re really excited to have Noelle on board to help out with that. She’s super qualified, having worked in non-profit for a few years in DC before coming to NYU Wagner to get a masters in Non-Profit Management and Public Policy. No doubt her NYU Wagner network will come in handy, seeing as it’s one of the top ten programs in the country.
We’re coming up on the semi-final round of the NYCBigApps competition, and we’re pressing hard to get out the vote. There are around 120 teams, but if we can be in the five most popular, we’ll get to present at the BigApps Battleground in front of a panel of influential players in the NYC tech scene. Of the five who present to them, one will be selected as the winner and will get an automatic pass to the finals in September. It’s a long shot, but we’re gonna give it our best. Luckily, we won’t be out of the running if we don’t make it; we can still go on to the finals if we do well in our category. We’re competing in the Live and Work categories because BigApps recommended we enter more than one in order to be more competitive. Obviously Heat Seek fits best in the Live category, but we’re happy to take their advice since they’ve told us that all of the judges use the same rubric, regardless of which category they’re judging.
We’ve got a preliminary sensor case design. Daniel designed them in OpenSCAD, and Keith Williams, an alumnus from the Flatiron School who now works at MakerBot, offered to 3D print them for us. We’ve been back and forth a little about the dimensions and structuring it so that it doesn’t warp as the filament cools, but we should have something workable soon.
We got invited back to BetaNYC to present about the progress we’ve made on the project in the past few months. Jarryd is prepping slides to go over with William before the presentation. We want to make sure it goes really well because we’re hoping that BetaNYC will sponsor the project. We may also get some help from people at the meetup who might be able to help out with the technical stuff.