The MindStream Kickstarter campaign kicks off today with the new, potentially revolutionary new water monitoring device going to the first round of backers for the totally reasonable sum of $499.
Currently, aquarium water quality management and testing can be one of the most time intensive, laborious, and expensive parts of keeping a marine aquarium. If the MindStream lives up to its promise, we could see marine and reef tanks become exponentially easier to keep and manage, and a whole new crop of reefkeepers entering the fray. Even seasoned and experienced reef keepers may be able to push the state of the art in their home aquariums with additional monitoring of uncommonly tested water parameters such as potassium, oxygen and carbon dioxide.
The Kickstarter price is set at $499 per unit, but when it goes to retail the device will sell for anywhere from $700 to $900, with a subscription service planned to deliver the replacement testing discs every 30 days. The first level of Kickstarter units will receive just one testing disc but backers at the $1000 level will receive a year’s worth of testing discs.
The degree to which this new exotic testing method works, and how reliable it is in the long term is going to determine the true value of these replacement testing discs. If the discs are uber accurate and precise, we could see the discs being worth upwards of $60 a pop each month.
But if the discs lose their precision within just a few weeks or fall off wildly towards the end of their proposed 30 day lifespan, perhaps $30 will be more in line with what they are worth. Currently Mindstream has priced their test discs, at least in the Kickstarter funding round, at $500 for a year’s supply which is totally reasonable if the user experience is a smooth as butter, but it’s going to take a whole lot more than a hyper-accurate pH graph to convince the reef aquarium hobbyist of its precision with other parameters.
Unlike so many other moonshot aquarium and reef tank Kickstarters, the MindStream is not dependent on this Kickstarter to bring this device to market. Step Ahead Innovations has been structuring itself like a”real” company with plenty of venture capital funding, and a nearly 18 month long development period to get the MindStream to the point where it is finally ready for public testing.
Instead, parent company Step Ahead Innovations is using the crowdfunding platform to test the consumer demand and response to the MindStream, and to create a limited release to generate a large user base to test their business model. In the final push of getting the MindStream to market they will be finalizing the design of the product, continuing their internal testing of the device, designing product packaging etc. and most importantly, keeping up with expensive patent filings.
What this means for backers is that they can rest assure that the MindStream will really come to market when SAI says it will, with all the background hardware and software development to make the ingenious device work as advertised. Despite having a funding goal of $300,000, we are fairly confident that this funding goal will be reached well within the crowdfunding period, and is likely to be exceeded.
One thing about the MindStream Monitor beingt priced at $500 (or $700) per unit and $500 per year, at least the price itself is not “too good to be true” and you get the sense that some real research and development has gone into bringing this completely unique product to the aquarium market. Now that Step Ahead Innovations is ready to distribute its first round of MindStream via kickstarter, it will be up to the market and the first wave of early adopters to determine where the MindStream will fit in the annals of aquarium history.
The first deliveries of the MindStream are expected to ship by the end of this year; for the full rundown of features and specs check it all out on their Kickstarter page.