Bluetooth your digital stories around you for others to discover. Share the magic, feel the buzz and connect with your tribe.
About this project
‘hex gives you a story in a time and place, but you’ve got to be there to get it.’
Darrel J Butlin, founder, hexology
Beacon technology is already here, digitizing the real world and enhancing your everyday. It turns off lights, tops up your parking and opens your garage door. But imagine a beacon that talks back, that has attitude, personality. If beacons are about to transform our digital lives, imagine what hex – the storytelling beacon – could do for you.
hexology has added to beacon technology a unique conversation between hex, a small portable low-energy bluetooth device that broadcasts a message within a 20 metre radius, and its companion, hexapp. Unlike other beacons, hex stores information written into it by hexapp and bluetooths it to anyone with hexapp on their phone, without the need for an internet connection. It’s about enriching real life – underground or overground – but it’s only available to those who walk into its zone.
Imagine where it can work: singers can xapp their fans the lyrics of a new song from a hex beacon at the ticket office to the hexapp on their phones; a hex on a tree at a festival could xapp updated information about an extra film screening in the copse that evening. An invitation to an art event might be xapped from the theatre on the corner to hexappers strolling by. For those with hexapp on their phones, festivals and gigs, museums, pop ups and events using hex to tell their stories just got more magical.
hexology is a digital platform anyone can use, where stories are accessed at the xapp of hexapp. It’s about being at the right place at the right time, about connecting with an event or experience in a deeper, richer way. Stepping away from the internet and onto the street is the first step as we fill the world with stories.
hex creates a localised personal information experience – to share news, ideas, thoughts or other virtual objects. Without the need for internet, hex bluetooths directly to hexapp anywhere – indoors, outdoors, underground or even in a forest – and there are no data charges when using hex beacon.
We’re on a mission to lower the technology barrier and encourage a mind shift, to enable people to publish and update their own text, images, sound or videos in an object or a place. hexology helps people take back their power, their independence, their message-making potential from corporate technologists to steer their own ship.
We spend our days super-thinking about what it could do for exhibitions, pop-up retail parks, museums, kids’ clubs, gigs, business, art events, even the metro platforms of our capital cities where there is no internet. Its potential is huge, and we’ve only just begun to understand the kind of opportunities that it can bring to the person on the street. Click here to see how our blog is already dreaming the future.
We’re talking to singers, poets, artists, entrepreneurs, festivals, museums and charities about how hexology can deliver localised and relevant information to people when they need it most, and we invite you to join us!
In a world in which big data is dominated by big business, sharing personal, localised information opens up a variety of new opportunities;
‘There’s real value in physical spaces, whether it’s a restaurant, a gig, an art gallery or a Banksy exhibition. I also think there’s a value in things that expire. I know from making games that it’s good to have finite lives. If something is infinite, it becomes devalued, so something that is designed around physical spaces is what attracted me to the hex, the fact that you can digitise the information and space but the place is still meaningful. It extends to 20 metres and to get the benefit of it, you have to be there. You can’t just virtually be there.’
Richard Leinfellner, technologist and former VP of Electronic Arts.
It’s early evening at a summer festival and Lucy and Kira are heading down to the port. Suddenly, Lucy’s hexapp buzzes in her pocket. ‘Films in the Forest, a glorious cinema with cult classics, documentaries and short films,’ pops up on her screen. It must be nearby. Hex broadcasts all sorts of events within a 20 metre radius without internet. Google Maps tells her it’s right behind those trees ahead. She looks at Kira. They could do with a lie down. She clicks on hexapp. ‘Stephen Soderbergh!’ she cries. ‘Behind the Candelabra!’ Kira shrugs her ignorance but hey, she’s up for watching a film after last night’s hell-raiser. A couple of cool guys across the copse are also checking their hexapp. They wonder over. ‘hexappers, huh?’ smiles Lucy to her mate as they settle down to watch the film with the promise of a great night ahead.
hexapp makes scanning and tagging easy by allowing users to locate, read, organise, publish & share the information they create and discover. hex and hexapp will communicate without pairing or exchanging any identifiable information.
Users can discover streams of content and curate them in pools. Moderation tools inside hexapp allow users to manage privacy and report abusive content. The Android version of hexapp is now in Open Beta testing and close to public release, and the iOS version of hexapp is in the early stages of development. hexapp will be free to the user!
‘I keep my ear close to the ground in terms of innovation and this is the nearest I’ve ever seen to anyone really coming close to the Internet of Things. This is how to digitise the real world.’
John Warnes, UNHCR.
There are no data charges with hex, which is ideal for anyone without a data plan or those travellers who have not turned data roaming on. After the initial purchase, reading and writing to hex is free.
The prototype version of the hex beacon we have developed is stable, robust and ready to manufacture, as shown in the film.
The money we’ll raise will be used to integrate the hex beacon into hexapp – which is free. The Android version of hexapp has been in development for 18 months and the open beta is available for people to download and test through this link – you will need to sign into a google account first: https://play.google.com/apps/testing/co.hexology
hexapp on Android can already read and write messages into barcodes, generate QR codes, store pictures in GPS locations and scan NFC. It can embed audio via Soundcloud and video via Youtube to your hex collections. Kickstarter funding will allow us to develop this for iOS too.
Now that the electronic designs and the software for the hex beacon are finished, the next step is to integrate the hex beacon into the existing Android version of hexapp and develop the iOS version of hexapp to full specification.
That’s why we need you!
The money we raise will be used to manufacture our first large order of hex beacons which will in the long-term be sold through our website.
We will also use the money raised to accelerate the development of the software needed to deliver the hexology vision for Android and iOS.
It’s possible to update the software in your hex-beacon using bluetooth “over the air” update software, and we’ll ship the hexes with the software to do that already built in. If we we hit our stretch goals then we’ll integrate the app side software components into hexapp, so that it will be easy to update the software in the hex.
Aimed at anyone that wants to take control of hex beacon using hexapp.
For Developers, SMEs and organisations that want to harness the power of hex beacon through the API.
For organisations that want to harness the full potential of the hexology platform, we’ll work with you on your creative opportunity.
For additional information about these rewards visit our blog:
Developer Reward: http://hexology.co/hex-developer-opportunities/
Humanist Reward: http://hexology.co/humanitarian-hex-factor/
Entrepreneur Reward: http://hexology.co/entrepreneur-stories/
Client Reward: http://hexology.co/client-complex/
Agent Reward: http://hexology.co/agent-hex/
If we hit this target, we will provide “over-the-air” firmware updates to your hex via hexapp.
If we hit this target, we will seal hex electronics in a water-tight case.
If we hit this target, we will build a robust version of hex using durable materials for outdoor use.
If we hit this target, we will create a web-based front-end to the hexology platform to give user control over their accounts, and the power to administrate collections through a web-browser.
We have lined up manufacturers in the UK and anticipate a 5 month manufacturing schedule.
We anticipate that the first version of hexapp on iOS will take 12 to 16 weeks to develop, and although development has already started our aim is to have hexapp on iOS available in the App Store before the hexes are shipped.
Founder: Darrel J Butlin
Advisor: Bill Liao
Technologist: Richard Leinfellner
Creative Producer: Gilly Smith
User Experience Design: Dan Cunningham
Developer: Owen Bennett
Developer: Richard Willis
Scalability Engineer: Johnny Marshall
Product Design: Hamish Glover-Wilson & Noel Joyce
Reflecting the global nature of our multi-talented team, hexology’s Kickstarter campaign was created in the UK with partners in the USA, and nurtured in the UK’s coolest city, Brighton. Our core team hails from Australia and Europe with an eclectic set of skills that mirror hexology’s vision and enables the technology to inspire new ways of thinking.
Our various talents have been key to the development of the business and the product. Drawn from arts, media, business, design and technology, the Hexology team leverages a dynamic mix of skills and experience to drive the vision forward and lead breakthroughs in design and thinking. The addition to the team of former VP of Electronic Arts, Richard Leinfellner led to the development of Hexology’s cutting-edge beacon technology; the mentoring of Bill Liao continues to catapult strategy to new levels; the visual storytelling skills of former commercial film director, Darrel J Butlin and TV producer and journalist, Gilly Smith have allowed their rich imaginations to create new opportunities for the technology.
Risks and challenges
Battery life will depend on the frequency, duration and even colour usage of LEDs, it is also dependent on the number & duration of user connections. Whilst we are aiming at several days, it is hard to fully predict this until we test in the field with final hardware. We could address this with a bigger battery or dimming the LEDs.
The bluetooth part we have chosen has CE approval, and it is our belief that the finished hex beacon device will also pass CE approval; though delays may arise in the event that the device does not pass the tests.
hexapp will be distributed in the Apple and Google Apps Store. Whilst we do not anticipate that they will refuse or withhold distribution, we do not have control over their procedures and consequently, we cannot guarantee that they will publish our app. If this is the case, we would still publish the specification for people to use standard BT LTE function calls to access the device and build their own apps.