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theoona pieces600 The Oona: Versatile Smartphone Stand

There are many, many phone mounts out there. This Kickstarter project called The Oona, seems more versatile than most. The designers set out to solve these use cases and more:

• A GPS on the windshield of your car
• A reference device on a white board or Refrigerator
• The ability to mount your smart phone to a tripod to take photos or video
• Hands free viewing of a movie, playing on your smart phone
• A simple stand to keep your phone in view on your desk at work

theoona table600 The Oona: Versatile Smartphone Stand

I asked Sam Gordon, one of the project founders, if they’d had better luck with their suction cups than I’d had with mine. I tried Kent K. Barnes’s Garmin suction cup iPad mount trick, but couldn’t get the suction to, well, suck for more than a few minutes at a time. Sam had this to say:

We spent a lot of time designing the right suction cup for The Oona. The ones we prototyped early on were made of a thermoplastic elastomer so they could be easily injection molded. After testing we found that low shore durometer silicone produced the best results. While testing the stand we found it secures the phone more than needed when using it properly (desk, whiteboard, car window, etc.). We’ve had problems with it when trying to secure it to a bad surface, or when we used it in applications that really rocked the phone back and forth. Moreover unlike a dedicated car phone suction mount our product is not meant for adhesion for days on end, our philosophy for The Oona is a mobile mount your phone, something you can take with you to use in different places throughout the day as you change environments.
A lot depends on the smart phone and the surface, but just from personal experience, Brad (co-designer) drove from San Francisco to LA with his iPhone 3 stuck to his windshield and it did not fall once.

theoona weather600 The Oona: Versatile Smartphone Stand

Also, Sam is planning to share info about their experiences as first-time product designers:

We have a deal with a manufacturer in the US to create the low durometer silicone rubber one that we found to be best after testing. One really helpful piece to the puzzle has been MFG.com for a lot of our sourcing needs. These guys are great because they help people like us, with no existing manufacturing contacts, find the best shops to make our components.

Once (once!) funding goes through, we’re planning on getting video of all the components being made at the different production shops mixed with us talking about our experience doing the process for the first time. Based on our own experience and hearing from other makers, we feel that there is a lack of information available on how to do an independent short production run and we think other makers might find it helpful to see the steps we took.

Best of luck, guys, I hope you get enough funding to produce a run of stands!

The Oona

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He works in CG animation at DisneyToon Studios and writes for Make, Boing Boing, and other places online and in print. You can find him at jpixl.net and twitter @johnedgarpark — if you like that sort of thing.


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