Aug 20, 2015
The Spokester bicycle noisemaker was invented by Kevin Nelson to improve on the decades old idea of attaching baseball cards to a bicycle to simulate a motorcycle sound. It’s a fun innovative toy that is simple, inexpensive, durable and can also be used as a safety device. Spokester is a clever onepiece design which fits all bicycles for kids and it’s the perfect snap-on exhaust for your bike! QGITS had the chance to talk with Entrepreneur, Product Director & Graphic Designer Adam Nelson and also the son of Kevin Nelson about their new Kickstarter launch campaign for Spokester.
QGITS: Tell us about the ingenious story of how your Dad Kevin came up with the concept and idea for Spokester?
Adam Nelson: My Dad had a couple of other little business ventures that he started he always wanted to be an Inventor. So he had experience with that as far as like what it takes to kind of go from idea to product. He had some friends that were engineers, he knew some CAD/CAM people and there was a little production facility where he worked out a deal with to where we could test the product and work out some of the kinks without having to go full production. This was back before we could do a one off thing like using a 3D printer. He basically just worked it out, he did a lot of sketching, prototyping with plastics that were just milled out of hunks of plastic instead of properly injecting material into a mould like we ended up doing eventually. It was trial and error until we found something that worked. He experimented with numerous materials including credit cards, paper, and metal until he settled on an injection moulded, flexible plastic concept.
QGITS:What are some of the safety benefits of Spokester?
Adam Nelson: Obviously the biggest use of Spokester is as a toy but we have people who use it for the safety aspect. A number of industrial and aerospace companies with large campuses use Spokesters as part of their safety programs. Their employees use bicycles to move between buildings or hangars, and the Spokesters alert others of their approach. There was also a retirement home that used it and clipped it on a special way that it was used on wheel chairs which was operated more as way to keep track of people.
QGITS:How does Spokester work?
Adam Nelson: We wanted to come up with something and make it as simple as possible, it’s all about the user experience so I think part of that was we want this product to be on the store shelf so you can grab it snap it on and not have to do any work. You don’t want to have to use any screws or tape or a get a specific size or anything like that. We have where it’s very simple or basic while it still does what it is suppose to do. That’s what we came up with we found out a way that this particular shape bends enough that you can fit it onto a vast majority of the kids bikes out there. It snaps on and claps down so you know it’s on there and then your good to go. You just pop it off whenever you want or you can turn it out on your spokes so it doesn’t make noise and keep on your bike so you don’t lose it. Its pretty amazing that it actually worked out so well.
QGITS: How will Kickstarter help out Spokester?
Adam Nelson: We plan to do a mass production with it and the official way to do it is to make a big multi cavity of mould digs and stamp a whole bunch of them in each run which what we are going to do. We did an initial run when we first created it, but we had to create a mold which is really expensive like tens of thousands of dollars and that’s before you even actually produce product. We didn’t really know what we were getting into so we just did a single cavity one which make it a lot more expensive because it just takes longer to do each one and so a Kickstarter was all about really ramping up production and getting one that we can do four at a time and start to do volume production. Its time to take next steps and get it out there and to a retailer location and that’s what Kickstarter is all about
QGITS: Can anyone develop and start their own product idea?
Adam Nelson: It’s easier to do than you think. Especially now a days with 3D printers and 3D modeling software you can put a good idea into your modeling software then drop it in the printer and have something that evening to try out. It’s not going to be perfect like having production quality but atleast get your ideas out into the world and then you can later make some tweeks. Its something you can do it yourself, so if you got an idea certainly find yourself a little rapid protyping shop just go to talk to them and see what they can do for you.
Support American made products. Help back Spokesters reach their goal of $35,000 and donate here to help them kickstart the Spokester: www.kickstarter.com/projects/spokester/