John Harrison is building a social network, but one built more on warm feelings than chitchat.
His invention, called Filimin, is a lamp that changes colors upon touch. What makes it social is that it’s connected to other lamps by wifi.
The second light will match the color of the first anywhere in the world at the speed of the Internet.
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“You can imagine a grandmother touching one and their grandchild hundreds of miles away seeing the light change color and knowing their grandmother is thinking of them,” Harrison said.
He started to explain the technology, but said he’s a little reluctant. He said he wanted to develop a technology product for those who think they don’t really want one.
He’s also still trying to raise money to further develop and sell them.
He and partner Barrett Morgan are trying to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter, an Internet product development fundraising website. People can contribute money toward the product and, in return, get a small reward of some sort.
They are a week into the campaign and have raised slightly more than $8,000, or about 15 percent. As of Monday, they had 23 more days to reach their goal.
“We want to get enough to make our first set and then kind of bootstrap it,” he said.
He expects to manufacture the Filimin in Wichita if he raises the money. He expects to sell the lamp for $50.
For years, he was the concertmaster of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, music professor at Wichita State University and, with a master’s degree in computer science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, someone deeply involved in technology. He also is one of the founders of MakeICT, a group that mixes technology and creative arts.
He’s since left his post at WSU, does freelance design work and has another company called Snappy Kids that makes a mobile apps for kids with anger, social and behavioral issues.
Developing Filimin was the result of a technology challenge in figuring out how to use a new chip MakeICT was sent. But the effort was also informed by his own situation.
“My family is spread out,” he said, with a laugh, “and our struggles to communicate go beyond geography. So this could be something that helps.”
To find out more, go to www.kickstarter.com and search for Filimin.