Mechanical engineer Brian Major has invented a bicycle that doesn’t pedal for you but pedals with you.
Major is trying to change transportation by powering automobiles with the sun and wind through his Colibris Alternative Vehicles.
“It is like a bionic extension of you,” he said.
His invention will help people trying to climb a hill on a bicycle by sensing that person is having a hard time. The computer will kick in and do the rest of the work, said Barry Major, the creator’s father.
While riding a bike with a heavy wind, the computer will sense the rider pushing harder, and the battery will kick in, he said.
Major knows a woman who rides over the Main Street Bridge everyday and has to get off her bike and walk the rest of the way. This invention will help her a lot, he said.
Major invented the bike so the computer inside the wheels will sense when the rider is having to strain to pedal.
The computer can detect when the rider is struggling, Major said. Users can program the bike to do 80 percent of the work while they do the remaining 20 percent, he said.
A relatively new addition to the Jacksonville arts and cultural scene, Jacksonville Dance Theatre, founded in January, has 12 performances scheduled for the 2013 season. Managing Director Katie McCaughan and others set-up camp in MOCA’s lobby to help garner support of their first season, which happens to be unfunded. “One of our biggest visions is to be located downtown,” McCaughan says of JDT’s entry #319. “This has been a great event – I love feeling the energy of downtown.”
As CEO of RocketHub, one of the largest crowdfunding platforms, Brian Meece brought his “Crowdfunding Success Pattern” talk to the One Spark Speaker Series on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s really a new spin on an old idea,” Meece told the crowd of entities like National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) that have been using crowdfunding for decades. The formula is small contributions multiplied by lots of people equals creative success.
According to Meece, there are three pillars of crowdfunding: project, network and goods. You must have all three in order to succeed. The first important step is to share the why of what you do. Tell your story. People are more apt to support a project that speaks to their emotions.
The next step is to talk to your people. “Crowdfunding is built around networks,” Meece said. “Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.” Turn to those closest to you and ask for support. Once you’ve exhausted your inner circle, then you can reach out to other in your social capital – email list, Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
Finally, sell the goods. This can mean an invention, an idea or something tangible. Make the journey to completing “the goods” memorable. Maybe you want to make a jazz album. Appeal to anyone who would want to support your musical endeavors.
According to Meece, your checklist should include the following:
• Financial goal
• Time frame
• Written description
And your game plan should look something like this:
• Win first followers
• Build dialogue
• Spiral out
• Tell the story
• Meet the press
• Finish strong
Learn more about Brian Meece and his company RocketHub at rockethub.com.
Jessica Boone Cherok told the One Spark Speaker Series audience, “Facebook isn’t your friend.” In her talk of the same name, Cherok, a privacy advocate, described how Facebook shares user information on the Internet. “The knowledge gap is wide,” she explained. “The law has not caught-up with technology.”
Cherok is hardcore about her online privacy. She said she was so sick of her grandmother tagging her in embarrassing photos on Facebook that she deleted her. “They’re not secrets,” Cherok explained. “They’re just not things that I want the whole world to know.”
In 2012, Facebook purchased Instagram, a social media app largely known for its hipster demographic. “They’re like a crazy ex-girlfriend who’s always checking up on us,” Cherok said of Mark Zuckerberg’s creation. “Did you know that every year, the Federal Trade Commission files complaints against Facebook for deceptive privacy practices?”
“This generation will never lose track of anyone ever,” Cherok said. “Facebook is going to put Ancestry.com out of business.”
Cherok said that privacy responsibilities also lie with the user. “You can turn off cookies in your browser,” she advised. “You need to have an awareness of what people can see. You can control some of this to a certain extent.”
Easily one of the most recognizable entries to grace One Spark, The Big One (Entry #837) features multiple large-scale structures throughout the Creator Zone. Artist Susan Natale created “Sparky,” a 20-foot tall air puppet at the corner of Laura & Monroe streets. Brett Waller’s wire car, “Spirit of ’76,” rests in front of the Times-Union Center. Sharla Valeski structure “Ego” in the main lobby of the Times-Union Center and “Sgt. Quakers,” the giant yellow duckie in the pool at Hemming Plaza by Jenny Hager’s UNF Enliven Spaces class are also included as is “How Davy Crockett Conquered Cowford” in Hemming Plaza by Drew Hunter of Sally Corp.
Jonathon Fletcher and Paul Nicholson have created a sustainable agriculture food production system called the Apod Project.
The Apod is a repurposed shipping container that stores a system to produce healthy non-genetically modified organic foods using aquaponics, Fletcher said. Aquaponics is the cultivation of fish and plants together in a constructed, recirculating ecosystem utilizing natural bacterial cycles to convert fish waste to plant nutrients.
“We think of this invention as the future of food. This is George Jetson and how they would be growing food,” Fletcher said.
The system can be a standalone unit that can operate in a field, a parking lot, the side of a mountain or wherever you need it, he said.
The system overproduces the amount of power it needs to run using solar energy. The food is produced through aquaponics, and the only input into the system is through the fish. The fish are fed and their waste is processed into nutrients for the plants, Fletcher said.
It’s a continuous, self-regulating system with its own natural ecosystem.
The Apod Project is displayed inside of a durable shipping container on the Northbank Riverwalk directly in front of the Hyatt hotel. It contains catfish, goldfish, koi, algae eaters and an array of plants inside the shipping container.
It is ideally set up to have edible fish — anything that resides in fresh water, Fletcher said.
The Apod does not damage the environment. The product features technology that can make plants grow faster without altering the plants themselves, he said.
The starting cost to purchase one would initially be $40,000 and it will feature a three kilowatt system, wind turbine and battery bank, Fletcher said. This product can produce up to $15k a year and after two-three years the initial investment will be earned back.
A unique feature of this system is that it can operate with no petroleum, unlike everything in conventional …
Kevin Varnadoe was tired of hauling his kayak seven blocks to the ocean.
Varnadoe said after he bought his kayak, he looked around for something to haul it in and was disappointed in everything he found. So, he created W.E.T., which stands for Waterman Equipment Trailer.
“You heard ‘necessity is the mother of invention’? Well, this is it,” he said.
W.E.T. is extremely lightweight and easy to haul. The trailer attaches to a bike.
Varnadoe said every time he takes his W.E.T. out, there are at least three or four people who are interested in purchasing one.
With a capacity of 200 pounds, the W.E.T. has an adjustable top rack that can carry two kayaks or multiple surf and paddleboards at one time, he said.
There are stores that are interested in purchasing them, Varnadoe said. They could easily be sold for $350 to $399 in stores.
He said One Spark is a good way to meet people and possibly come up with production ideas.
“We are looking for funding to build a factory and build these right here in Jacksonville and put some people to work and get this on the market.”
Jenni Reid has entered One Spark to pursue her dream of touring the country playing the music she loves. She taught herself how to play guitar at the age of 17.
“The great thing about my music is that it is has been able to reach people all over the country,” Reid said.
She said she has been asked to perform across the country, but she just needs the funding to get there.
She has offers to go to Colorado, Texas, Tennessee and New Jersey.
Working at Tijuana Flats doesn’t provide the money she needs to tour, Reid said.
My music definitely changes genres by song, she said.
“If Tom Petty, Johnny Cash and Michelle Branch all had a child by some miracle, it would be me.”
For the past six years, Jacksonville’s Burro Bags has created messenger bags from billboards but has recently gotten into the cycling industry.
Burro Bags ImPACKt line is made from promotional material, said Meghan Johnson. Every component of the ImPACKt line products, such as the straps and thread, are U.S.-sourced materials.
“We needed something more durable, so we strayed away from billboard and made everything out of a high-grade canvas material called Cordura,” Johnson said.
The ImPACKt project is recycling promotional material, such as banners, signs and tent-toppers, Johnson said.
Most companies throw these products away at the end of their promotions, so Burro Bags take the materials and turns them into something useful like totes, accessories, tablet cases and backpacks, she said.
The ImPACKt Project has worked with The Cummer Museum, MOCA, JEA and the Jacksonville Jazz Festival.
Johnson said companies can take promotional materials from their events and give their employees the recycled Burro Bags products. Or if a company wants to make something out of promotional material and doesn’t have its own, Burro Bags has a large stockpile of promotional banners and other materials that companies like Vans and Volcom have dropped off.
Local artist Shaun Thurston would like to see “20 Murals in a Year” as per his One Spark entry of the same name. Entry #767 is described on the festival’s website as, “Jacksonville needs more public art and my contribution towards fulfilling that need is mural work. Painting a mural can be an expensive process and most of the time, I cannot take on large projects unless the materials and labor are funded by a client or sponsor. This is where One Spark comes in.”
Lucky for Jacksonvillians, One Spark supporters and Thurston, his entry #767, “20 Murals in a Year,” was named number three “vote getters in art” for total seed money of $4,010.39 (according to One Spark’s tumblr page):
Congrats to Thurston and his team. We look forward to seeing more public art gracing the buildings of downtown Jacksonville.