Örs-Barna Blénessy - Project TT
Örs-Barna Blénessy - Project TT - Ett nytt sinne till människan
Project TT is a new project by me and Holger Andersson. A concurrent project is ErghisTech, which was recently selected as one of Swedens top 20 incubator tech companies.
The idea behind TT, came from German scientific studies that proved that the brain can take sensory input and “remap” it to create new senses. TT aims to provide a new sense that can greatly impact productivity in society.
I started my adult life during an exchange year in Brazil, when I was 18. Thereafter I studied peace and development studies parallel to Political Science before I spent some time working for the Swedish ministry for foreign affairs in Stockholm. It is only after returning from Ireland – where I took care of the Scandinavian markets in a customer service department for a MNC - two years ago, that I started studying to become an electrical engineer, met Holger Andersson and founded ErghisTech.
TT is a product that is easy to bring to market and has several clear customer segments that it can be marketed to. However, before it can be capitalized, it needs to be properly tested. These three months are for finishing the prototype (almost done) and doing a 60 day evaluation, where a study is made on the effects of the prototype. During the end phases of the study, a decision needs to be made on how TT will brought to market.
By the end of Leapfrogs I hope to have a strong prototype of TT finished, properly evaluated and ready to be patented. Perhaps we would even have a partner aligned, that would be willing to bring it to market.
Örs-Barna Blénessy - Project TT #2
Since my last post here, there has been a lot of progress, but not enough. Currently work is being done on finalizing the TT prototype. The electronic circuits have long been ready but a micro controller (MCU) needs to be programmed. Working with this is very close to programming using only 1’s and 0’s. So during the last weeks a lot of time has been put into learning and programming a backup MCU (PIC16F690). In the picture you can see what it looks like in my hand and the programming equipment next to it.
Originally it was thought that 3 weeks would be enough to find the right algorithms, program them, experiment with them and then decide the best one to use in the prototype. Unfortunately the programming bit became a time consumer, since programming on this level (assembly code) is completely different from normal programming. However, it seems 70% of the coding is now done. Soon it will be time to start wearing it and test its effects.
The original plan is still valid even though the programming process is still going on. While it might have been optimistic, hope is far from. On the plus side, with some newly learned tricks TT might run for months (if not years) on a miniscule battery. Thus it will be lighter and smaller than initially envisioned.
Excellent, since no one would enjoy carrying a heavy and cumbersome “sixth sense”-bracelet, especially if they would need to change batteries every two days. And yes, TT is about creating another sense for mankind.
Örs-Barna Blénessy - Project TT - Ett nytt sinne till människan # 3
These three months have been enormously intense. Programming in Assembly code – the closest one gets to writing everything in ones and zeroes – is difficult. Soldering a test setup from a circuit board into a homemade bracelet seemed like an excellent idea, until the soldered parts started breaking of, demanding repairs and re-designs of the prototype. However, with all problems put aside, finishing and wearing the prototype was priceless.
It has been incredibly enjoyable to wear TT and feel its side effects. Using oneself for such an experiment is risky. All manner of side effects could appear. I am however very happy to say that there have been no symptoms of insanity or any strange more physical side-effects so far. On the contrary, TT has worked exactly as expected. So much so, that when I had to make limitations in our algorithms, the theoretical results matched the measured ones.
What about the project as a whole? It went mostly as expected. Due to delays there is still some evaluation to be done. Also, after a couple of days of wearing TT the soldering snapped. This means there is room to work on a more durable prototype for continued evaluation. In contrast to this though, the experience during the testing confirms the premises of the project and shows that there is a point in taking this further.
The most important lesson in this situation is how to work when creating a physical product. Hitherto I have mainly worked on creating software products, where one can easily undo a bad decision and try something else. With a physical thing, once a significant change has been done, say it has been sawed into two pieces, undoing it becomes tough. There is a finality to things that can only be compensated for by focusing more on planning ahead.
It has been great to work on this project and it feels like we can, within a couple of months have a patentable design that could then lead to a whole new venture.
For those of you who also want to dabble in entrepreneurship I have three simple advice: 1. Believe in your idea, nobody else will do it for you; 2. Be ready to make a lot of sacrifices in your life; 3. Use every contact you have and constantly make new ones, you will always find things that you need others help to achieve.