We need to concentrate more on the consumer’s needs and invent things required by the market

8 Seconds Glasses: Relieve your eyes from computer strain

Please introduce yourself and your 8 Seconds Glasses to our readers!
My name is Artem Muravev and I am from New Zealand. My career has consisted of various positions in the Information Technology industry. I have worked full-time with my team members for the last two years on the 8 Seconds Glasses project. I hold a Ph.D. in Biology, a Masters Degree in Math, and an M.B.A. in International Business.

How did you get the idea for 8 Seconds Glasses?
There were three major reasons for the idea. First, one of my close relatives suffered from severe and worsening visual dysfunction over many years. To help him, I was investigating the problem for many years, including carrying him to clinics, talking to doctors, arranging surgical operations, and trying various drugs, vitamins, and food supplements. In those clinics I saw many young people with serious eyesight problems as a result of eye overstrain from modern computers and gadgets.
Secondly, I have eyesight problems because of my IT work. I know all about proper eye treatment, regular breaks during computer work, and eye exercises—but for most of us, “knowing” and “doing” are two different things. I wanted to create a device to help people like me to do the right exercises.
Finally, my Ph.D. thesis was partly devoted to eye structure, so I know that ordinary glasses, contact lenses, and laser treatment only temporarily relieves eyesight problems, which ultimately continue to grow because of the abnormal working rhythm of eyes fixed on computer monitors. Additionally, only proper eye exercises are able to relax the eyes.

How difficult was the start and what challenges have you overcome?
Starting was not as difficult as finishing because any innovation project is an exhausting marathon—it becomes more strenuous at the end. Gradually over the years, I accumulated some knowledge on this problem. I realized that I had a clear vision for product functionality, I knew the right people for the team, and I had some resources to do the project. After one year of thinking through the project, I decided to start. In his book, Richard Branson shared, “Just do it,” so we “just did it.”
Challenges were commonplace for our product development process. Our initial conviction was to develop a product with the design and usability of Apple products. Sticking to our bold conviction, we never compromised the quality or design of the 8 Seconds Glasses.
Product requirements often contradict each other, causing the main development challenge of figuring out how to fit everything together. You need to create a gadget case that is light but strong. You need to fit everything inside while keeping it all compact. You need to have a lens system that is easily adjustable, but kept firmly in place at all times without breaking down. You need to make a nose cushion that is ergonomic, made from skin-friendly material, well-fitted into the overall shape and color of the gadget, and mass-production ready. You need to make ear holders foldable, light, flexible, and suitable for any head size. You need to ensure the product moves quickly to assembly for mass-production, but also feels firm and solid. You need to have a larger battery while minimizing weight. The list goes on. Overall, you need to make high-quality, functional, nice-looking, reliable, solid, lightweight, and skin-friendly product, while keeping production, component, and material costs under control.

We always strived for the highest quality and usability, which means that instead of always adopting the product to the available technological capacities, we searched all over the world for technological solutions to satisfy the lofty design and functional requirements.

Why did you start a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo?
We needed to gather funds for the production stage. Crowdfunding is not our only source of funds—we also have some preliminary investment agreements. However, crowdfunding is beneficial in that is also serves as a practical marketing test. We love our product. We used the best materials and design ideas, worked hard day and night for two years, and ran a well-tailored advertisement campaign. At the end of the day, the market will be the judge.

Why should someone invest in 8 Seconds Glasses?
We present clear advantages to our backers. Our backers will get the product earlier and at a lower price. For our backers, we provide an extended two year warranty and a money back guarantee. As gratitude to our backers, we will also produce an exclusive version for them. It will have a corresponding inscription on the gadget, larger program memory, and a lifetime of free software updates. A full list of backer’s advantages is presented on our campaign page.

What will you do after successful crowdfunding?
We will proceed to production stage. The largest expense is the production of mold forms, as there are many plastic parts in the gadget—our goal is to produce them with the quality of mobile phone cases. Most likely, the production will be done in Shenzhen, China because of the abundance of industrial capacity there. Several team members, including myself, will stay there for a few months to setup production. We will post weekly video reports about our progress on our Indiegogo page.

Who is your target audience?
8 Seconds Glasses are designed for office workers. They stare into computer monitors all day, dangerously overstraining their eyes. There are also smaller categories of users: dentists who often focus on small objects, or people who read a lot of printed text.

What is the USP (unique selling proposition) of your startup?
At the moment, our gadget is unique in the market because only 8 Seconds Glasses are designed to work with the internal muscles of our eyes. There are many external eye massagers, but the fatigue problem lies inside the eye. Only our gadget has programs tailored for every muscle out of six extraocular (internal eye-moving) muscles. Further, only our product relaxes accommodating (internal focusing) muscles.
We have designed 8 Seconds Glasses to solve the core problem from the very beginning. We have also put a lot of effort into consumer qualities of the product: design, usability, and materials.
We have a unique visual acuity test application. Although it cannot replace medical tests, it can be used to estimate your visual well-being.
8 Seconds Glasses have soft elements of color and light therapy. We decided to keep this functionality at a low level because the higher intensity brain wave modulations, in rare cases, have medical contraindications. Our programs use different color schemes and rhythms for morning, office, and evening exercises, but only have smooth, gradual color transitions.

Can you describe a typical workday for you?
Product development consists of successive iterations. When we were looking for a general glasses shape, we drew a lot of design drafts and were modeling various shapes by hand with special clay. When the shape was finalized, we started to create 3D models and combine them with internal mechanical parts and electronic components. In the later stages of prototype development, we finalized design elements and concentrated on software. The Indiegogo campaign video production and other preparations also took us noticeable time. A typical working day in the middle of the development stage involves 3D modeling of new parts and their integration into the existing design—it involves a lot of software development, such as embedded software, desktop software, website, server-side code, and mobile applications. Many iterations required PCB redesign, manufacturing, and assembly to adapt the layout to the new requirements. We often went outside to negotiate prototype items for manufacturing and bring ready parts to the office. Many prototype items were custom produced on professional equipment because this is the only way you can produce quality parts. Prototype assembly was done by our team in our office, and it often required minor adjustments, soldering, gluing, and grinding. At the end of the every iteration we tested the assembled prototype. All imperfections were written down, prioritized, and fixed in the next iteration.

Where do you see yourself and your start-up in five years?
I think it would be best to ask this question if we get enough funds, successfully complete the production stage, deliver high quality products to our customers, and find that they are happy and satisfied. Of course, we are thinking about product line expansion, capturing market share, and mid-term competitive advantages. As we make decisions today, we take each of these factors into account.
Currently, we are concentrating on the crowdfunding stage and we have a clear understanding of the challenges that mass production will bring in the next step. We have plenty of ideas in the pipeline. For example, I have a great desire to create a compact gel-based eye massager as an add-on to 8 Seconds Glasses.

What three tips would you give other start-up founders?
Experience and insights gained during this project and others are probably enough for a book. Here are my tips:
1. Do not begin only to satisfy your curiosity. Innovators are typically technical people who enjoy the development of new technologies. However, they often forget to take into account consumer’s point of view. We need to concentrate more on the consumer’s needs and invent things required by the market.
2. Quality won’t be cheap. Even for prototypes, you can create quality results only using quality materials and quality equipment—neither are cheap. Custom parts are often expensive as well. There is no way around this if you hope to achieve quality. Essentially, “loving hands” can only go so far—quality equipment is also needed.
3. Do not “over innovate.” We all become familiar with the things around us. Most of them, however, required expensive tooling and equipment to produce, and are affordable only because of economies of scale. Even the simplest things endured long development times and the adjustment of many parameters. Do not integrate too many new technologies into your product because you may drown in technical difficulties. Choose only a few technologies with the highest consumer value and use classical proven solutions for the rest of your product.

Crowdfunding on Indiegogo

Thank you Artem Muravev for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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