Sunday, March 6, 2016

Notations From the Grid (WeekEnd Edition): On Our Kickstarter-Backed Projects....

We wanted to share all the late breaking developments on our Kickstarter-Backed Projects as we continue to be on the prowl for all who do their part to create the ultimate "Vision of the Possible":



A chance for you to prosper from your backing

We're done!

Kickstarter fulfillment is now complete and we're no longer actively monitoring the Kickstarter survey responses. If you didn't get your survey response in, then get it completed ASAP, and we will process it in good time. The final rings that caused a few months delay were some of the engraved rings. There are 12 backers who's rings we can't fulfill yet as we're still waiting on some edge case stock, we have been in touch with you!

Become an investor, for real.

It seems only natural that we are giving our backers an opportunity to invest officially in the company that produces the NFC Ring. Throughout our brief 3 year life we have grown from strength to strength and with our future looking bright we're seeking additional investment to help promote making people's fingers smarter. Investment start at a minimum of $4,000 and you should only consider investing if you can afford to lose the money, as investments in startups can carry significant risk. If you are interested in investing and would like to know more please email

Prototype our next generation ring

Our project Code-named "Wizard ring" is looking for bearers to carry a payment ring and test it in different environments. Everyone is welcome to apply. To apply simply get our attention somehow. It can be in real life, online or through telepathy. We have 100 rings and each comes with some funds pre-loaded so you can buy your local caffeine beverage / beer / unicorn horn (but please don't! Unicorns are an endangered species! ).
Stay frosty friends
The NFC Ring team
(Deas says hi)


MARCHing Forwards
Posted by BLOCKS Wearables (Creator)
Backer3x fbbbec7e19daae492d7b513a00a5d0674169435def65236032450d29174a84c5 For backers only

March ALREADY? Wow. Things are moving fast on multiple fronts as we are speaking at big events, liaising with key partners and working through the vigorous validation process. So here’s the lowdown since the last update. 

BLOCKS Backer Survey 

This week we released the first BLOCKS Backer Survey. This is where you get to choose your modules and colours of your smartwatch. If you haven’t filled it in already, please follow this link -
Please read the Survey Update thoroughly before proceeding with the Survey Form. Here are some other common questions we wanted to address: 
If I change my mind on my modules selection, can I change my order? 
There will be another Survey released closer to September shipment date, where we will facilitate all adjustments. However, it is important that you fill the current Survey to help us understand your immediate requirements. 
I pledged / am entitled to extra modules outside the standard package of 4 modules. How do I select them? 
We have a record of all backers who have additional module credits and will ask you to log your request over the next few months. Please keep a look out for our monthly updates and we'll make the announcement (regular updates are posted every first Thursday of each month). 
Why could I only vote for 3 'future' modules? 
Our definite plan is to rollout modules in phases and knowing everyone’s top 3 modules would allow our team to assess which functionality is most important to you, our backers. Based on this information we will start planning the next Phase release. 

Live Q&A - starting this Saturday (5th of March!)

Here at BLOCKS we felt that a live Questions & Answers session with our founders and engineers was long overdue! For those of you that haven’t been involved before, this is your chance to ask those itching questions and maybe even squeeze a few secrets from our team! Moreover, we realized that it would be great to give each session a theme! Here is our proposed schedule:
Week 1: Production timeline 
Get an overview of every single step that our engineering team has to make to deliver BLOCKS to your door. 
Date: Sat 5th March
Week 2. Design secrets 
Hear our thinking behind the smallest details of the modular design and how it all comes together 
Date: Sat 19th March
Week 3. Digital interface and apps 
Get introduced to our user interface & experience philosophy and BLOCKS apps on release 
Date: Sat 2 April
Week 4. Watchfaces 
Vote on the most customizable and innovative ideas for telling the time on your future smartwatch 
Date: Sat 16 April
Week 5. Advanced sensors 
Behind the scenes on BLOCKS efforts in bringing the best technology to your wrist with our industry partners 
Date: Sat 30 April
Week 6. BLOCKS SDK and MDK 
Learn the basics for BLOCKS apps and module development 
Date: Sat 14 May
If you wish to attend - please sign up here -
We will send you a reminder for each session and/or notify if there have been any changes to the dates.

New modules in the pipeline 

In the Survey we also introduced two new modules that may be possible to manufacture ahead of schedule so we wanted to see if this affected your module choice.
Programmable Button
The module can be assigned to anything, whether it be a function on your watch, phone, or other connected devices. One touch, and you are good to go! To start, we are designing our API to be usable with services like IFTTT, which is an existing platform for controlling your smart devices and their apps. With the right setup, you could: 
  • Take a photo on your phone (high quality selfies!) 
  • Turn on smart lights and devices in your home 
  • Send out a SOS signal in emergencies 
  • Turn on apps with a touch of a button 
Flash Light Module 
A white LED Light that you can turn on and off. We are looking into adding strength control where you can dim the light or vice versa. It will have a small opening and will sit on top of the shell. After test results we will add beam angle, dispersion and range metrics for those who require more information. 
Phase 1 modules are our top priority but we couldn’t resist notifying our backers of any new choices that could be available. 

Have you visited our online forum? 

During the month of February we have finally opened public access to a previously private BLOCKS online forum - 
There is so much discussion happening there that we implore you to get involved. Going forward we will be using the feedback we receive from our BLOCKS community to influence the BLOCKS journey. So do not be shy and have your say! For example we are already compiling a list of potential partnerships based on this thread. Yes, we are listening!

Software Update 

With things kicking off in the apps department, we wanted to show you the direction we will be taking with BLOCKS user interface and experience being finalized. However, please note that our engineers, being perfectionists, have not yet allowed to disclose all of the incredible work that we have seen here internally. Their words were - ‘just give us one month’ - so we must wait at least until then to tell you how excited we are! Here are just a few sneaky screenshots that we took from the design document (after much fighting):
With a highly sensitive touch panel and a specially designed bezel, BLOCKS is perfectly suitable for circular movements for interface navigation. Above is one of the provisional proposals put forward by our team.
With a highly sensitive touch panel and a specially designed bezel, BLOCKS is perfectly suitable for circular movements for interface navigation. Above is one of the provisional proposals put forward by our team.
Here you can see one of the three proposals for UX interactions for entering/exiting apps.
Here you can see one of the three proposals for UX interactions for entering/exiting apps.
We are thinking of novel ways for making simple, yet highly functional and customizable watchfaces. These are some of the rules we may introduce to developers when designing app icons.
We are thinking of novel ways for making simple, yet highly functional and customizable watchfaces. These are some of the rules we may introduce to developers when designing app icons.
If you would like to learn more about BLOCKS user interface design, sign up to Week 3 live Q&A on Saturday the 2nd of April(see Q&A link above).

Mobile World Congress 

21-25 February. Barcelona, Spain. 
Mobile World Congress is the world’s largest exhibition for mobile industry, which attracts consumer electronics and telecom companies alike to showcase their latest technology. Over the last two years it has also been the hot seat for showcasing the latest smartwatches and smartbands. The best part yet, this year we have seen the rise of MODULARITY as LG has hit the mainstream with its new modular smartphone - LG G5. The trend is definitely catching on and BLOCKS is still ahead of the curve.
Our newly redesigned prototypes received an amazing reception at the Congress. BLOCKS created a lot of connections with key industry heads and learned a lot while spreading the word. There may well be a few more partner deals coming our way and a handful of invitations to other events with yet more opportunities (although we must stay focussed on delivery for now!)
Truly speaking, there’s nothing more exciting than being on the verge of the new technological shift in the entire industry. Things are looking up for BLOCKS and we’re happy to have you guys with us on this journey! Expect more amazing things to be announced.

Working hard on building your future smartwatch, 
The BLOCKS Team 


Shifteh and Dastan Khalili from Cal-Earth will be at our booth!
Posted by Farhang Foundation (Creator)
Shifteh and Dastan Khalili from Cal-Earth “The California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture” will be presenting Nader Khalili’s work ranging from Architecture to Poetry & Philosophy.
Nader Khalili is best known for his work on building low-cost houses in accordance to the environment. Born in Iran as one of nine children, his quest was to empower the world’s poor and refugees to build homes using the earth under their feet. He was a prominent American leader on the value of ethically based architecture, where the needs of the homeless are considered above all else. GreenProphet online magazine once said, "If Hassan Fathy is the father of sustainable architecture, then Nader Khalili must be his close cousin.".  In 2004 Khalili won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for sandbag shelters built with Superadobe.
You can learn more about Nader Khalili and his work on KCET, "Of Earth and Domes: Hesperia's Cal-Earth Sustainable Architecture" or stop at Farhang's booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on Saturday, April 9th 2016 to explore further.

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