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Old 09-27-2013, 11:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb DIY Startup: Alive and Modern

Greetings everyone! My name is Everett, I'm very pleased to finally be at a point where I feel like I can announce my new startup: Alive and Modern

The quick version: I'm creating a startup to bring my own aquarium and living wall designs to your desktop. Everything is hand crafted, I do all of my own laser cutting and construction. Each structure will come with everything you need (LED grow light, pump if necessary, etc); all you have to do is add water and plants (and fish).
Website: Alive and Modern (still in beta)
Facebook page - "Liking" me on Facebook really does help me out, any likes and shares are incredibly appreciated!

Backstory: I studied computer science in college with the goal of getting into the video game industry to make awesome games. Long story short I left school early to take a job working on Guild Wars 2. It was a blast but I realized the thing that I was actually interested in is the interaction between people and technology. I took a job a Microsoft to try out a different company and a different position (program manager) only to find that I couldn't stand being in a slow moving environment constantly running into red tape. Not to say that Microsoft isn't a great company to work for; the group I was with just didn't fit what I wanted.

I wound up leaving Microsoft at the end of June to pursue my own endeavors. I tried my hand a few different apps and websites, nothing really stuck. I was working with a group in California (getting an inside look at Hollywood advertising was pretty cool ) for a while but it didn't pan out. The only thing that hadn't changed over the past two years was my appreciation of the Living Building Challenge and my rapidly increasing fascination with green technology. I finally decided to act on this and abandon my mobile/web app crusade to do something I really care about, thus Alive and Modern was born!

What is Alive and Modern? Alive and Modern is a new company that combines the best elements of nature and modern design to create stunning visuals for any room or office. Each structure is constructed with laser-cut acrylic and bonded together instead of sealed with silicone. This results in an extremely strong, lightweight living structure able to support aquatic and plant life.

Getting things rolling: I'll have a Kickstarter campaign up soon. I have all of the dimensions of the structures finalized and will be getting the laser cutting started in the very near future. I've got a source for all of the materials that I can't make myself and will be ready to release pricing when I start my Kickstarter.

Interested in helping? Thank you! I'm looking for constructive criticism for my designs and website layout. I also need to figure out the best way to ship the final product... The tanks are structures are bonded together (the same way the guys on "Tanked" build their aquariums) which makes them incredibly strong. I did this to increase the aesthetic and make shipping easier. I'm also looking for someone interested in being a source I can send people to for live plants. If anyone has connections to a plant supplier or runs a plant company (that has aquatic and terrestrial plants suitable for these kinds of structures) please contact me; I'd love to send business your way and be able to provide my customers with a discount on their first plant purchases.

Without further ado... some pictures:

Building my first prototype "The Steps" aquarium:
Constructing my first prototype for "The Steps"


Testing water-tightness and pump flow rate:


Comparative 3D concept, I removed the top box (initially designed to house lighting):


3D Concept for the "Floating Boxes" aquarium:



The "Standard" Drip Wall 3D concept:



The "Standard" Living Wall 3D concept:



Thanks for reading! I'm very excited to be chasing my dream, I hope to be selling these by the holiday season.
-Everett
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Startup: Alive and Modern

Forget the pictures of the hardware itself. You need to flood any media you can with pictures of many of your rigs covered in plants. Show people how beautiful it can look. How diverse. How easy(<--especially important!).

That's how you cause excitement and emotional and monetary response. That's what Amano did back in the day.

Good luck!
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Old 09-27-2013, 12:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Startup: Alive and Modern

be vary interested to see your finished product and your steps on making your piece
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Startup: Alive and Modern

Thanks for the feedback guys!

Niko - You're absolutely correct; I'll have those pictures ready by Monday. I'm only able to do laser cutting on Sunday and Monday so it's slowing down the prototyping process a little bit.
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Startup: Alive and Modern

Hi all, I've got a video up of the tank in action. A few problems I've run into that will be fixed in the v2 prototype:
- The outflow design needed to be redone, it was spraying because of water pressure weirdness
- The boxes for each tier are going to be larger
- The overall tank is going to be deeper (footprint is 10" x 7.5") for a base volume of 1.6 gallons

Here's the video, let me know what you guys think
YouTube Video
If you are able to see this message it means that you don't have flash installed or that the video server is down.

Last edited by Zapins; 10-03-2013 at 08:26 AM..
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Startup: Alive and Modern

Aside from the unfortunate dark spot under the tower, the looks very nice!

Just my personal design thoughts:

Dark spots can be OK, but because the tower is fixed in the center it limits tank layout to left/right designs only.

Is there a plan to augment with an LED underneath? Or move the tower freely left or right?
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Startup: Alive and Modern

Yeah aleph is right, an LED under the tower would make it work better, darkspots are a kill-joy in my book. Perhaps raise the tower up a bit more to give yourself some room.
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Startup: Alive and Modern

Agreed - dark spots are definitely a kill-joy. I'm working on redoing the entire lighting setup for my tanks. Instead of the one overhead bar I'm looking into 2-3 separate bulbs:
- One red/blue UFO led for plant growth
- Two white clip-on LEDs for visual appeal

This allows for a wider range of plant colors, the light on the tank now lacks the red/blue lighting to bring out purple in some of the plants people might use. Other options are things like LED light strips but that would be fairly complicated to implement.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Startup: Alive and Modern

Of you're not already familiar, I highly recommend this site for diy led info
http://www.ledgroupbuy.com/how-to-builds/
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Startup: Alive and Modern

Thanks for the link Aleph. Unfortunately it doesn't look like that will be cost-effective for me . I'm trying to keep my price point as low as possible; I don't want high initial cost to be a barrier of entry for people to enjoy an aquarium or living wall on their desk.

I did send those guys an email though, never hurts to double check about manufacturing
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