Gas station without pumps

2020 April 4

Ad for Airturn

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 15:23
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Normally, the only ads you see on this blog are the ones that imposes, because I’m too cheap to pay $4 a month to go ad-free.  I have, in the past, plugged my son’s startup Futuristic Lights, which is still in business, even though my son is now working full time for Astranis (a much bigger startup, making a communications satellite).

Today, though, I want to plug my older brother’s business: AirTurn.  The core of their business is high-quality foot switches for musicians to turn pages on iPads displaying sheet music.  With performances all over the world being cancelled or delayed, there is much less demand than usual for their products.  They’re pushing one of their newest products as being useful in the new cower-in-place world: the AirTurn TechAssist, which was originally designed as a high-quality, sturdy music stand to hold an iPad, tablet, or smartphone.

Here is a press release that AirTurn has released about the TechAssist.

Its function is now of use to more than just musicians, as many people are now stuck using tablets and phones to work or do school remotely.  I could see the stand being quite useful to video meetings—putting the camera up level with your eyes rather than providing the view up your nose that so many of the tablet-on-the-table conferees use.

I suspect that some video lecturers could take advantage of AirTurn’s Bluetooth foot switches (with 2–6 switches, depending on the model and easy mapping of the switches to keyboard shortcuts on the tablet or computer), but I suspect that is still a very small market, as most lecturers are suffering at the moment from too many new tools to learn, rather than insufficiently rich interfaces.

Disclaimer: I’m not getting anything in return for this ad—my brother doesn’t even know I’m posting it.  I’m just worried about the future of his business in the current shutdown and the upcoming recession.

2018 June 13

Romeo and Juliet

This year seems to be the time for Romeo and Juliet.  UCSC Shakes-to-go did it as their touring production to the local schools—I did not get to see that production this year, but my wife did.

UCSB’s Shakespeare in the Park class (THTR 194A) did it as their production, which I saw twice.  My son was in it, playing the role of Tybalt.  I took still photos of the Saturday production and video of the Sunday production.  I’ve not had time to select, crop, color-correct, and reduce resolution on the still photos yet, but my son processed the video and we put it up on Youtube:

There was a camera glitch at the end of the party scene, and I did not record a minute or two of the play while rebooting the camera.

Futuristic Lights provided the gloving lights for the party scene (donated to the cast) and loaned lights used for indicating the life of the actors (a rather futuristic way to handle the fight scenes that may not have been clear to the audience).  Many of the roles are cast cross-gender (a necessity with only 3 female roles and many actresses), including the part of Lady Capulet, played by a male actor.

Later this summer we’ll be seeing Santa Cruz Shakespeare doing Romeo and Juliet with professional actors, which will probably be the best production.

2017 October 29

Futuristic Lights at Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:36
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Zohar Wouk (CEO of Futuristic Lights) will be speaking at the Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup on Wed 1 Nov 2017. The meetup starts at 6pm at Cruzio.

Santa Cruz New Tech MeetUp – November 2017

Wednesday, Nov 1, 2017, 6:00 PM

Cruzio & Ecology Action Green Building
877 Cedar Street Santa Cruz, CA

175 Technologists Attending

David Coulter, Kelly Wachs, Haven, SurfX, Futuristic Lights, Support Logic   We are going cosmic for this event!  Very exciting line up!• How We Got the First Image of a Gravitational Wave Source / David Coulter:   astrophysicists at UCSC led a neutron star shattering discovery this month, validating Einstein’s gravitation wave theory.  Learn wh…

Check out this Meetup →

Incidentally, I understand that Futuristic Lights has finally finished shipping all the pre-ordered Ion glove sets—their new low-cost, high-feature product.

2017 August 20

Futuristic Lights’ new product: Ion C2C

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 11:35
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The Kickstarter for fidget spinners didn’t succeed, so Futuristic Lights decided that they’d missed the market for high-end fidget spinners and decided to stick with their strengths in gloving lights.  Their newest product is an entry-level gloving set, the Ion C2C, which is priced at $40 a set (only $35 during preorders). The lights are quite featureful for that price point, comparable to or better than $80 sets from their competitors.  Here are their claims from their sales page (go there to see videos of Ion C2C and more information):

With every new glove set we make, Futuristic Lights pushes the boundaries of what’s possible. The Ion is no exception! We think every Glover should have access to the latest gloving technology we offer, regardless if you’re a beginner or pro. To make this a reality, we had to make sure the Ions are as affordable as possible.

So … What do the Ions do?

The answer is …   More than every other entry level burner set combined!

Entry level lights tend to be affordable, but you don’t get very many features or modes. We wanted to change this. So instead of making just a streamlined version of our other lights, we made something completely unique. We’ve even added some new features that not even our top-of-the-line products have. 


  • Chip to Chip Communication 1.0 (C2C)
  • Randomizer
  • 38 Colors
  • 8 Flashing Patterns (Modes)
  • 8 Colors Per Mode
  • Demo Loop
  • True Brightness Control
  • Battery Lock
  • Conjure Mode (Updated)
  • Demo View
  • Factory Reset
  • And to top it off, it’s the same nano size as the Atoms!

I think that this product will pull some sales away from their more expensive lines as it offers a lot of the features much cheaper, but their hope is that it will pull even more sales away from their competitors.  Despite Futuristic Lights’ small size and tiny market share, they have managed through good engineering and good manufacturing contracts to keep their costs low, so that they can offer a high-end product at a low cost.  Their minimum orders for the manufacturing contracts are fairly high, though, so they are going to have to sell a lot to break even.

Because the gloving market is one that they are already familiar with (unlike the fidget spinners), they are not testing the waters with a Kickstarter campaign, but going directly to manufacturing.  They expect to be able to ship in about a month—assuming that no major problems crop up in the final testing of the firmware being done now.

2017 June 16

Futuristic Lights new Kickstarter: fidget spinners

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 11:17
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I just got the following announcement from Futuristic Lights about their newest product: a fidget spinner with three LED lights.  They are doing this one as a Kickstarter, because the market is a bit different from the glover market that they have been selling to so far, and they want to make sure they have a big enough market before incurring tooling costs.  They’re looking for $18,000 to do the tooling and manufacturing run for injection molding the spinners.  As they say on the Kickstarter site, they’ve released electronics products before (3 different microlights: the Kinetic, the Aether, and the Atom), and done a previous injection-molded product (soft cases for the Atom, not available separately), but this is the most complicated mechanical design they have done, and there is a possibility that they will have to get the tooling done twice, which would delay delivery  (but the $18,000 target allows for that possibility).

The $25/spinner price is higher than for spinners that don’t light up (which seem to run around $6–$15), but is fairly low compared to gloving lights (there are three microlights per spinner, comparable to $7 microlights like their competitor’s Chroma lights, so one could view this as only $4 for the spinner, though they don’t plan to sell the spinner without the lights).


The Galaxy LED Spinner!

We are excited to announce the Galaxy LED Fidget Spinner! The Galaxy is the highest quality LED spinner in the world.

Here’s some feature bullet points in no particular order:

  • Three minute plus spin time
  • 3 High-quality micro-lights
  • New Design
  • 14 Different Flashing Patterns
  • 4x Beautiful Color Sets for each Flashing Pattern
  • Demo mode that switches the pattern every 12 seconds
  • Battery lock so you don’t worry about it turning on in your pocket
  • The light is equally visible from both sides
  • High quality hybrid ceramic bearings
  • Easy battery replacement
  • 15 hours of battery life
  • Ability to flip lights in opposite directions for different light trail effects
  • Held together by strong neodymium magnets for easy and repeatable assembly
  • And more…

Learn more on our Kickstarter!

Go To Kickstarter!

Update 2017 July 16:  The Kickstarter campaign did not make its goal, getting only $3,146 pledged of  the $18,000 goal.  I think that they missed the market by about 6 months—a long time for fad products.  Because they did not get sufficient interest, they will not be making and selling the Galaxy fidget spinners, but will move on to other products where they expect a steadier market.

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