HAXLR8R is now HAX, a $9 Computer, a Printer for Fabric and some news

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Busy times! Lots of trips, little sleep. How are things for you?

0. The World's First $9 Computer. Holy moly!
1. Demo Day! (Print a tshirt from scratch and more crazy things)
2. HAX: Mo Money, Mo Programs
3. Events
4. Some Random News For Fun (and not so fun)

PS: we are recruiting startups for HAX 7 - apply, recommend, spread the word!

CLICK TO TWEET > Building a Hardware Startup? Apply to HAX, the most active accelerator program in the world. DL: May 23! => www.hax.co



A real $9 computer? What?!

Has the future arrived? Next Thing Co, a HAX company that graduated a year ago, just launched a NINE DOLLAR COMPUTER named C.H.I.P.

It's exploding on Kickstarter and in the media, and with good reason:
- With 1GHz CPU, 512MB RAM and 4GB Flash memory you can have a fully functional computer. They even sell a simple one named PocketCHIP for $49! One laptop per child? You got it. Those guys should be on stage at TED urgently.
- In addition for all of you hardware startup people, it means you can create smart devices with onboard processing for less than $100, maybe even less then $50! Those price points are key for mass adoption. Who would turn down a $49 computer for their kid? Only cruel parents, that's whom. Who would turn down a $49 smart toaster? Anyone who's not a techie hipster, that's whom.

We're having an Apple I moment right here, folks.
If you want to buy and donate a hundred (or a thousand) computers to your high school, NOW is the time.

Note that this amazing C.H.I.P. is a good reminder to not judge projects too quickly: this team saw the need for CHIP as they were trying to build a smart-yet-whimsical hackable camera for animated GIFs (and more) and realized they could not hit a $100 price point - the world (and chip makers) would not let them! Their Kickstarter scored a mere $70,000, and they decided to change the world.


Demo Day booths, crowd and talks. I had a beard that day.

That was quite a big show!

We had a mix of products belonging to "new segments" (a better offer in an existing market - see BBB or Kokoon) and "new markets" (check Electroloom or Lir).

I am yet to write a post about "my life with HAX products" - we live in the future here ;)

Aquatrek – Make your fishtank smart and clean => Roomba + GoPro in the water. Fishes are the new cats!
Arduboy - A game system on a credit card => for hackers and 8-bit nostalgia. Passed $250k on Kickstarter!
Aria - Gesture recognition for smartwatches => and it works!
Bartesian - A personal bartender => like a Keurig® machine for cocktails. Let's drink again!
BBB – Mobile medical-grade blood testing => I'm worried about getting addicted to testing my blood with this one ^^; Looking for partners and distributors. Already sold over $2M of devices.
Electroloom - World's First 3D Fabric Printer => this is so WOW! The future is here, literally. This is ground zero for the garment making revolution. And you'll never need to wash a t-shirt again ;)
Feetme - The world's smartest insoles for health and performance => I'm not diabetic so I'll wait for the sport version. They are looking for partners and distributors (already signed one in Europe).
Flair - Smart vents for optimal climate and thermal comfort => for home owners and parents.
Kokoon - Smart headphones for sleep => I call it "Beats for naps". Passed $250k on Kickstarter too. Great sound too with Onkyo tech!
Lir Scientific - The bladder sensor that solves urinary incontinence => know when you need to go!
Miramix - A platform for customized mixes => For health or performance.
Motion Metrics - A professional ski instructor in your boots => Lean In ;)
Ourobotics - 3D print living organisms => High resolution-low-cost bioprinter. What's not to love?
PicBuy - World’s first smart showroom for retail => The answer to showrooming.
Preemadonna - Inventors of the Nailbot => Art, polish, automated.

Live on Kickstarter:
+ Arduboy - A game system on a credit card (Link)
+ Electroloom - World's First 3D Fabric Printer (Link)
+ Kokoon - Smart headphones for sleep (Link)
+ C.H.I.P. - The Word's First $9 Computer (Link)
+ Linkitz: Wearable, Code-able Toys for Girls (Link)
+ LightUp Faraday Kit: Wireless, drag-and-drop coding for kids (Link)

I know "world's first" is overused, but sometimes it is just fitting.

Is this a case of "Shut up and take my money!"? See for yourself!

Some coverage:
+ Wired: The Smartest Hardware Won’t Ask You What to Do—It Tells You​
Many of our startups also received individual coverage (especially those on Kickstarter - Electroloom was on Techcrunch this morning). Just google if you're interested.


So HAXLR8R rebranded and is now The Notorious H.A.X. (www.hax.co).
Thank the Holy Spirit for this name change. Even I had issues typing my email address.
I'll be switching to ben@hax.co soon - so short, so sweet!

Other good news is:
- Mo Money! HAX is now offering an extra $200k as matching funds post-acceleration (in addition to $25-$100k for the accelerator program).
- Mo Programs! You can already apply to HAX 7 (until May 23), and we just announced a new program: HAX BOOST, focused on sales and growth, for startups with a product on market or about to. The program will be in San Francisco, starting in September. Apply here for BOOST.

CLICK TO TWEET > Building a Hardware Startup? Apply to HAX, the most active accelerator program in the world. DL: May 23! => www.hax.co

For music, here.


It's been busy: Tokyo, Beijing, NYC, SF, about a dozen talks, hundreds of people met.
And of course, MAKER FAIRE!

The majestic HAX hand towering Maker Faire. Banana is for scale.

If you're in SF tomorrow evening (Tuesday 19 May), we are hosting an event with our friends from SF Hardware Meetup. It's SOLD OUT but if you add yourself to the waiting list and say you received my newsletter we'll let you in.

Also, I'll be visiting the Wearable World Congress Tuesday/Wednesday. Lmk if you're there too.

+ Vienna (Pioneers, May 27-28)
+ Paris (Connected Conference, May 29-30)
+ Berlin (NOAH, June 9-10)

Then some time off in Europe until July and HAX 7.


Smart or Not Smart?

The number of smart and connected devices is exploding (and we'll soon have C.H.I.P. to blame for that) to the point that having computers in things might become the "new normal". Is this the dawn of "disposable computing"? I saw a project in Japan of SMART BLINKING SHOES (on Indiegogo now) and was glad to meet the girl working with Neurowear who planned the famous NEKOMIMI brainwave-controlled cat ear device at Maker Faire in SF. Apparently they have a new Eye-o-T in the works (clever pun? next big thing? Mono-no-me in Japanese).

The Secrets of Shenzhen's Electronics Market + Note on Reverse Supply Chain

Last week I was at the IOT World event in SF and following a talk I gave there I had a very interesting discussion with someone working with the world's largest REVERSE SUPPLY CHAIN company. If, like me, you're unfamiliar with this, read on!

When you ship things you need a supply chain. When customers or distributors return things to replace, fix or dispose (re-manufacture / refurbish / repair / recycle and maybe a few more "re"), you need a reverse supply chain (or "reverse logisitics"). If you do it "by hand" it's very costly. Big guys like Apple, Amazon and many others use such services. Startups can too. Once collected, devices are generally taken apart and like an organ harvester will test and resell parts according to their condition. So there's that. You can use those to cut costs on small and sometimes large volumes.

The second thing is "why on earth do vendors in Shenzhen all sell the same parts in those component shopping malls?" - one part of the answer is that they are just order takers for the same owner. They are not really interested in the retail part. You want those 5 LEDs? They might give them for free!

Je Suis Charlie? Orwell Laughs

If you received my January newsletter, I mentioned the Charlie Hebdo killings and the huge demonstration in the street which was as much about mourning as it was about FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

In a dystopian twist that might wake up George Orwell, France is now passing surveillance laws (dubbed "Loi sur le Renseignement") that basically allows the government to check all Internet data going through French ISPs and hosts. They can also, of course, issue takedown notices. And because it's not the US it's not even disguised with proper branding or marketing ("Patriot Act", anyone?).

The law has been adopted by the National Assembly and is going to be discussed by the Senate next. What I find most disturbing is the "killing of the messenger" approach: the root cause of those killings or any terrorist activity is not how they communicate, but rather the discontent rising from geopolitical and social issues. Surveillance laws or "security masquerade" is unlikely to solve anything. As I spend most of my time in China, this story and the recent NSA debacle make me wonder...

What I find mildly reassuring is that this top-down surveillance is being counteracted by the emerging bottom-up one: everybody has a camera in his phone, drones are flying around even checking the lawn of celebrities (I assumed it was a drone but it could be a plane, doesn't really matter) in the middle of California's drought. It won't solve a systemic problem (politicians, celebrities and most industry leaders are replaceable commodities / archetypes) but it might help evolve the system toward more bottom-up transparency. We'll see (probably more than we want to).


Last few days in SF before a break in Europe!
Ben @ HAX

PS: As usual, questions & comments are welcome => ben@hax.co