Continued from Startup Weekend
With Startup Weekend behind me, I left with most of the Gauntlet prototype designed and printed, a new plan for its implementation, and a little seed money to get it off the ground. I allowed myself to crash for a day after not sleeping for 3. The intensity of startup weekend was over; it had accelerated the work in 3 days what would normally take weeks.
The game had changed, instead of an open source project, I thought more good could come from a traditional business. We would be an online service provider of affordable, functional prosthetic hands made with additive manufacturing. First order of business was seeing Ethan taken care of. With that success story, the wind would be at our backs.
My good friend from college, Derek Provance, joined with me as a partner. We were now a team of two, Derek would handle the digital side and I would handle the physical side. The team from Startup Weekend had previous obligations, and did not continue with the startup.
I continued to build the week following Startup Weekend, getting the fingers and suspension systems fully operational. It looked promising. You could manually operate the hand by pushing on the suspension. It had a good grip, and was able to pick up a range of objects.
Attention was called away from the design, as Derek and I worked on the first business plan to present to the investors in our first one-on-one meeting.
We began to get more business aspects set up, finding an incubator space to work and Derek getting the website up. While progress had slowed on the development of the hand, the final piece was finished, made, and installed just two weeks after startup weekend. However, there was a problem.
While I had created a mockup of version of the three mechanisms together, the operational design was just now finished. The wrist was much bulkier than anticipated, and the gears had to be put far out of the way in order to make room for Ethan’s hand. This resulted in a rickety structure for the power driving mechanism, the last thing that should be rickety.
We persevered, however, in the sprit of the minimum viable product. Even if not fully operational, we wanted to learn as much as we could, as quickly as we could, from this design. Besides, once I saw that the gears needed to be put far back, I started to think up ways exclude the rickety structure. A new design was forming in my mind, which would eventually become Gauntlet 2.0.
We visited Ethan on the first of October. While the whole hand did not operate, we were able to show him the gripping capabilities of the existing model, and the design for the new one. We gained valuable insight into how to attached the prosthesis to him, as well as the type of objects he would want to pick up and how much torque he was able to provide.
With these insights in hand, we began work on Gauntlet 2.0.