Remember Golden Shellback, those guys who were waterproofing iPods, BlackBerrys and all sorts of other electronics? Well, we had a chance to talk with Sid Martin about the process, when we can expect it to go public, the possibility of manufacturers like RIM picking it up, and how much it might cost you. For more info and updates on Golden Shellback, be sure to check out their site.
Take a listen to the full interview with Sid Martin from Golden Shellback!
“It wasn’t quite an accident, but it certainly has taken off. I work for Northeast Maritime Institute in Fairhaven, Massachusetts and we had started a program where we were trying to work on the man overboard problem (where someone’s on a ship at some point, and they fall overboard and they need to stay in contact with the ship). Many times when someone’s fallen overboard and they’re recovered, they may have passed away in the accident, and unfortunately they may have had communications equipment with them… A radio, or even a cellphone in a pocket… None of these traditionally would work. So we started tackling the problem, and look at ways for individuals to stay in contact with the ship, and we developed a transponder that sent GPS coordinates, but it needed to continue to function once it was in the water.
I’ve worked on military and space projects for much of my career, and from previous experiences, I knew there were some coating methods out there, but quite often they involve time to get the coating done, and extremely expensive. So I started working on a way that I could coat these transponders, and came up with the process and it worked. All the demos we did in the water, the system continued to function. I was curious and decided to start coating cell phones and VHF radios, and they also worked.”
Working with Manufacturers
“I would really like to work with manufacturers. We’ve been trying to talk with cellphone manufacturers for at least a few months now, with varying success. The easiest way to do this and the most inexpensive way for the consumer would be if the phone could be coated from the manufacturer.”
Pricing and Availability
“We’re still trying to develop what the pricing is going to be. There are some issues with the warranty, and whether the warranty is violated. We’re working on offering an insurance package for the individuals’ device. What that insurance package is going to cost is going to impact what the consumer ends up paying. Right now, unfortunately, coating might be as much as what the phone’s current cost is. We’re doing everything we can to reduce that pricing. I’m sure as we start doing more volume, pricing. …
Our goal is by the end of this year we want to have it out there, a method for people to be able to get their individual phones coated, or other items. We’re still focusing on the end of the year. I’m amazed as each week passes, all the challenges that we have thrown in front of us and have to overcome. To me, a week is a long time, and I can usually get a lot of work done. It’s just amazing how many things crop up when trying to set this process up… Dealing with the consumer, and the various issues the legal group always manages to find.”