UK product development firm Optima Design launches a geocaching device on Kickstarter

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cacheABLE Kinetic is a small electronic device that emits a bluetooth signal that enables the user to locate it via a dedicated smartphone app

Another day, another crowd funding campaign. This time it’s Optima Design which has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for the cacheABLE Kinetic.

Not to be disparaging towards this funding method, which gains in popularity amongst many firms and individuals who opt for it over other, often lengthy, funding or investment routes. In this case, Optima is hoping to raise £75,000 for this device that it designed and developed in-house.

But those not in the know, what is geocaching?
Essentially it’s a real world treasure hunt or a global game of hide and seek where participants try and locate containers called “geocaches” or “caches” using GPS-enabled smartphones or other GPS devices.

The cache is unique to the ‘owner’ and has a custom profile that is linked to the owner’s digital profile where all of their caching activity, videos, photos, comments and other content is stored. Once the Geocacher finds their cache, content can be unlocked and new content added.

According to the official Geocaching website, there are 2,529,372 active geocaches and over six million geocachers worldwide.


Geocachers on the search for a cache

Being keen geocachers themselves, the team at Optima decided to design their own cache together with a dedicated smartphone app. So, not only did the team design and develop the small electronic device, but wrote the app too.

“We’ve designed hundreds of products over the years and thought it would be great to have one of our own. Over the last six months we have developed the cacheABLE Kinetic device and app in-house,” says Ian Cowlishaw, director at Optima.

Showing the internal tech board of the cacheABLE Kinetic

The device was designed in PTC Pro/Engineer. Optima’s in-house Makerbot was then used to 3D print the prototypes. Once the team were happy with the final design, a SLS prototype was made. At the same time, Optima’s team wrote the start of the app to test.

The cacheABLE Kinetic smartphone app, which Optima also created in-house

With the hopeful success of the Kickstarter campaign, the next steps would be to carry out beta testing of the app, continue prototype testing in live environmental trials, optimisation of the units for tooling and tooling placement, development of the user pack and then eventual beta testing of the whole system with active geocachers on a managed trail basis.

“Kickstarter is a great opportunity to raise funds to get the device into full production and it will hopefully confirm our belief that there is a market for the product. It brings a modern twist to the game and can be used by individuals or groups such as cubs or schools,” adds Cowlishaw.

“We’ve already had some great feedback from the Geocaching community so we’re hoping for a successful project”

For more info, visit the Kickstarter campaign (video below) and follow the team’s progress on twitter.

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