Browsing the Kickstarter website, I came across an interesting project called myLED – a small device that you plug into your headphone port of your iOS device that will flash whenever you get a notification – one of the main features that many people say is missing from their iPhone! One of the most intuitive parts of a Blackberry was a customisable LED light, and with the myLED device that will be possible on my iPhone!
myLED headphone clip
myLED in Operation
myLED in real life size
I managed to catch up with Ralph Wilson who’s involved in the project.
Hi Ralph! Can you tell us a bit about myLED and how the idea came about?
myLED is actually the brainchild of Federico, who is intrinsically entrepreneurial and started thinking about the lack of external notification on iPhones after he switched from a Blackberry. Fede was already friends with both Sean and me, and given that we all share similar ideas on wanting to innovate and build products, approached us to help him take his ideas from a problem with iOS to a launchable solution. Here we are, 2 months down the line, and with myLED on Kickstarter!
How does it know when you’ve got a notification just by plugging it into a headphone port?
It’s a tricky one, and we’ve had many challenges trying to figure that out ourselves. Essentially, the app is triggered by the various notifications, and depending on which it receives, plays a different audio file. These audio files are what create the blink, and depending on the audio track, different blink patterns will be created.
Why only a red light? Couldn’t you have had various models with different colours?
It’s a question we’ve been asked a lot, and I wouldn’t mind the idea of a disco-myLED myself! There’s no reason why it’s not possible, just it would (probably) make the jack a bit bigger and bulkier, and (definitely) make the product more expensive. We chose to start with a simple, cheap and streamlined product, and if we’re successful with myLED, will be working on a phase 2 with multi-colour.
How much will they be when they go on sale?
Probably around the $20-$25 dollar mark (we’re based in both the US and UK so will leave the Brits to do their own dollar conversion). Pledges on Kickstarter are $15/$18 so you’ll be making a considerable saving if you pledge now.
When do you think you’ll have it available to buy?
If we’re successfully funded, we’ll be shipping in early April 2013.
Has the Kickstarter helped a lot in terms of funding?
Other than the money we’ve been able to personally invest in prototyping up until now, Kickstarter IS our funding. We liked the idea of generating funds through a crowd funding platform rather than getting a bank loan or seeking private investors, as not only does it allow us to test demand and response to the product with little risk, it also opens us up to a whole community of impassioned and innovative people who offer us their thoughts and ideas. So far the response to myLED has been great, and the community input has been invaluable to tweaking the product.
Ever thought about a case version?
Yes, and we haven’t ruled it out. The issues for me though are, like my response to question 3, we want to keep things simple, and also that there are already 568568 billion cool iPhone and iPad cases out there. Why not create something that is compatible with the case the user already has and likes, rather than forcing them into buying a new one?
Anything else you want to add?
Only that we’re still working towards our target on Kickstarter and truly appreciate your early investments in getting myLED off the ground.
How to use myLED
So, how does it work? You plug the device into your headphone port on your iPhone and launch the app on your device – from there you can customise different patterns of flashes to differentiate between different types of notification. They support the following notifications so far;
- Missed Calls
You may notice that Messages aren’t on the list, and this is a problem that the team are trying to work around and will hopefully be available by its release! If you’re curious about the project and want to help fund it, head over to their Kickstarter page or watch their video below to find out more about the product;