Ones to Watch 2014 Part One: Bare Conductive
After years of strife for UK small business, things started to take a turn for the better in 2013. With events such as Small Business Saturday and improved funding for the small business sector, more and more new companies have sprung up to make a name for themselves.
In the hope that 2014 will be even better for small business, for the next few months we will feature a different small business every week that we think is destined to have a fantastic 12 months.
To kick us off, we have London-based design and technology studio Bare Conductive. The group recently received almost 2,000 backers in its ‘Touch Board’ Kickstarter campaign, and we caught up with designer and engineer Matt Johnson to tell us a little more.
JSB - Can you tell our readers a little bit about Bare Conductive?
Matt - Bare Conductive is a design and technology studio in East London, UK. Our company was born from a student project started at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, where we developed our Electric Paint (a non-toxic, electrically conductive paint as featured in our video). After graduating, we set up a business and started selling our paint and a range of electronic kits. From the beginning we have been passionate about developing accessible platforms for people to get creative with technology. The Touch Board is the next platform, and that's why we're so excited about it.
JSB - How did you come up with the idea for Touch Board?
Matt - One year ago, we looked back at the incredible range of projects created with Electric Paint over the past two years and we saw a common thread: capacitive sensing and radical interfaces [Ed: this post on Science Rewired gives a good overview both!]. There was an abundance of work which used a combination of Arduino [Ed: an open-source electronic prototyping platform that allows the user to create interactive electronic objects, more here] and capacitive sensing. From giant art installations to interactive books. Everyone was asking us for the same thing: give us an easier way to do capacitive sensing on an Arduino-compatible platform. We've responded with the Touch Board.
JSB - Are there any local or national schemes that have helped you get your project off the ground?
Matt - We have been lucky enough to have been the recipient of a Technology Strategy Board grant in 2010 as well as being asked to participate in a recent UK Innovation conference in Singapore. We'd always like to do more with local schemes and authorities as we're proudly based in East London!
JSB - How was 2013 for you?
Matt - 2013 was a great year for us. We saw lots of changes in our business and the marketplace. It seems like the "Maker Movement" is still growing at a rapid pace and becoming much more mainstream. This has encouraged us to talk about what we do in a much wider context. At the end of 2013 we launched the Touch Board, which was a fantastic success on Kickstarter. We can't wait to see what people do when they've got the boards in their hands.
JSB - What are your hopes for 2014?
Matt - In 2014 we want to get the Touch Board into as many hands as possible and start to understand its true potential. Our calendars are already filling up so it already looks like it will be an exciting year!
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