Colt Correa’s daughter was excited to receive a pair of LED sneakers, which flashed when you step and jump, for her birthday. She was equally devastated when they broke two days later.
Mr. Correa, who works as an engineer at Intrepid Control Systems in Detroit, Michigan, immediately took the broken sneakers down to his basement, to try and figure out if they could be repaired.
The quality was horrible, so he set about designing an alternative pair of sneakers, which ultimately led him on a journey to build the DigiBit: the world’s first body-activated virtual reality gaming system for kids.
He turned to Freelancer.com to source the skills -- embedded software development, the enclosure, packaging, marketing, and even logo design -- to develop a fully-working unit.
In development for the past year and a half, he has invested an estimated $50,000 of his own money into the Freelancer.com project, and over 1,000 man hours of his personal time.
Mr. Correa hired Pakistani mechatronics engineer Muhammad Uzair for DigiBit’s connectivity functions. It took Muhammad three months to complete the US$5,000 Freelancer.com project.
Mr. Uzair wrote code for the Digibit's firmware, specifically data communication and processing. It enabled the Bluetooth sensors (NRF52 processors) to communicate with each other and smartphones.
“Colt, being an engineer himself, was able to provide very clear requirements of what needed. He understood the fact that such work often takes time, and that developers get stuck on problems which need some time to get resolved. I would definitely like to work for him again," Mr. Uzair said.
The DigiBit is currently being tested by Mr. Correa’s 15-year-old son, in anticipation of launching the fully-working product on July 11 via the Kickstarter.com fundraising platform.
He wanted to design a gaming system that would encourage kids to stay active. He describes it as a “wearable Wii,” and the closest competitors are the Google Daydream and the recently-launched Nintendo Switch.
“To create this product with everything, to create this COMPANY with everything, the number of hours Freelancer.com saved me has to be five times what I put into it, or at least a factor of three. Freelancer.com saved me 3,000 hours on this whole thing. Three man years to get something done, for a very cheap price. Any company would’ve spent 5 to 10 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, building something like this.”
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