Monthly Archives: October 2015

Electronics History and News: Heathkit Finally Opens!

Heathkit logo (fair use)

A couple of years ago, rumors started to circulate that Heathkit was coming back.  Last December I posted about “The Great Heathkit Mystery” when the good folks over at Adafruit started poking at the Heathkit hornets nest and finally got them to talk:

Our friends at Adafruit Industries have been doing some sleuthing, and we agree- it’s time for an update. Happily, there’s plenty to report.

Exciting things are happening in the Heathkit labs. We’re pleased at the great feedback from our beta-testers on a range of quality products we’ve been actively developing. As you know, we had hoped to get several of these new products out for the Christmas market, but our team is creating so many new ideas that we’ve been slowed by the sheer work of creating patents (by law we must file them before we may sell our new products, or even advertise them). We remain hard at work, and as excited as ever to ship finished new products meeting Heathkit’s high standards.

The last ten months have given us nothing but rumors — including rumors of a Heathkit retail store. And we waited. Read more

The Future may not be here: Skarp Laser Razor Kicked off of Kickstarter

Well, the folks behind the Skarp laser razor that I wrote about last week just got kicked in the gut shortly after they raised over four million dollars (2500% of their original goal of $16,000) in their Kickstarter campaign.  It seems that the folks at Kickstarter decided to suspend the project because it didn’t quite meet their requirement of having an actual working prototype. From the Kickstarter rules:

Projects must be honest and clearly presented.

Our community is built on trust and communication. Projects can’t mislead people or misrepresent facts, and creators should be candid about what they plan to accomplish. When a project involves manufacturing and distributing something complex, like a gadget, we require projects to show a prototype of what they’re making, and we prohibit photorealistic renderings.

To be fair, the Skarp folks did have a prototype, and it worked.  Kinda sorta. It cut one hair at a time, and the fiber optic thread was so fragile that it would break if it actually contacted the skin (see the below video). Read more

The Future is Here (maybe): The Laser Razor

Morgan Gustavsson and Paul Binun came together and had a great idea.  It was so great that this past September, they patented it and then created a Kickstarter campaign, hoping to raise $160,000 to perfect their concept and produce it.  There are seven days left to go, and they have raised (as of this writing) over $3.9 Million.  That’s like 2500% of what they wanted.  So what is this?  Well, you have already clicked on the title of this blog entry, so you probably know.  They managed to re-create what Superman has been doing for years:

Skarp prototypes (Kickstarter photo)

And, even more outstanding, is that they plan on marketing this genius device at a price point of somewhere between $200 and $300.  If you shave every day (and I don’t because it destroys my face if I shave any less than every three days) you probably spend $50-$100 on razor blade refills every year, so that price point isn’t all that bad, if it’s quality made and lasts awhile. Read more