What's a TechSling?

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What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:48 am

Edit 6/20/12: Promo video is up! :D

So this thread is a bit of an experiment, I'm not sure what kind of reaction it will get so I don't have a comprehensive plan formulated just yet. I'm planning to just see what happens and roll with whatever. That said the thread is about a new product my company is making, we did not invent it and it is not officially released yet but I'm allowed to show it, talk about it and even send some out to people (free & to keep) for testing and feedback before the retail launch. I was stoked when we were approached to make these because I knew I had just the community to share it with and help develop it. So anyway, this is what I'm talking about, the TechSling:

Image
ImageImageImage

As you hopefully inferred from the name and the photos its a harness for whatever "tech" you might want to carry/sling with you at any time. Specifically we're thinking an iPad or similar tablet, your phone of course and there's a pocket with a zipper for whatever else you want (cables, AC adapters, bacon/assorted memes, all-in-one tools, solar charger, etc).

The one I wear is actually a different model that I made on Monday. Its sized for 7" tablets and I kept my Kindle Keyboard in it while I traveled to Atlanta earlier in the week. I also added a customization so you can cable manage your ear buds. Those tweaks in that setting made it helpful to me (its very comfortable BTW).

That said, as a hardware nerd, gamer and generally very picky guy there are few things I appreciate more than a developer seeking advice from their customers and its finally my turn! I've done product development for awhile now but not on anything that would be in the public eye. I mentioned I could send some of these out to people and I plan to, I don't have a set limit on how many either so start/join the conversation, let me know what you're thinking and I'll probably hook you up (unless things get out of hand). Naturally I'll give a little preference to seniority and familiarity of the forums (having met at the TRBBQ can't hurt either :wink:) but if you've got compliments or criticisms I'd like to hear them and get a TechSling on your back so we can see if your reaction in either case was justified.

Hopefully this goes without saying but please don't turn this into a "I'll take one" thread, this isn't a giveaway or contest, I'm looking for people that want to be part of a conversation and the final tweaks to the product before launch. Thank you for your time in advance, I'll fill in more details and answer questions as the thread grows.
Last edited by drfish on Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:26 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:03 am

That looks awesome!!

I'd seriously consider something like this, especially for wearing under my bike jacket.. I was having an issue the other day, since I only wanted to carry my tablet, and a few papers. I ended up having to take my backpack which was way too big.

Generally, I'd look at something which can potentially hold a tablet (7" on the side), a laptop/large tablet (10-11" Ultrathin on the small of the back), 5" phone, a couple USB cables. possibly a mouse. My biggest concern would be the weight distribution and shoulder padding (I had a herniated disc a while back, so I try and keep weight off my back, or as evenly distributed as possible.)

The only other thing I'd look at is how it would fit while traveling (being TSA compliant would be great), and where to put stuff when you are in an economy class seat.

Feel free to hit me up for more thoughts and suggestions...
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:07 am

Definitely the best birth control device ever invented. :)
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:18 am

Im curious as to what other devices it can actually hold. I would assume most people would use this for things like cell phones and tablets and such. But I would assume people would also start to use it for other things as well just because they have it. ie Wallet, pens, pico projectors maybe a small weapon even lol.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:11 am

If I had more opportunities to bike to work, I could see myself using one of these, since I'm usually carrying at least a tablet and a phone, and usually some miscellaneous papers, but nowhere near a briefcase' worth. Way more comfortable than a backpack, which tends to make your back sweaty, or a small messenger bag, which bites into the shoulders. Could also be hugely helpful to a roaming IT professional, especially in a large office building or campus-type facility.

The one thing I'm not sure about is the lack of a lower back-strap or other retention mechanism to keep the side pouches from swinging front-to-back. When a person is walking or biking, the greatest applied force is in-line with the direction of travel, which could make these little guys behave like pendulums. Is the neck strap actually providing enough support to resist that?
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:12 am

Probably wouldn't work well for me. I'm built like a football player, and often open doors for people by using my body, usually pressing my side against those big heavy wooden restaurant doors, among other things. Those devices wouldn't last long strapped around me like that. My girlfriend would probably like wearing one though, since she is always on the go working or running errands. I do have a "Bag of Holding", which is pretty cool, and has a D&D dice logo on the side. :)
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:13 am

Is this intended to be used by IT professionals or others when "on the job?"

:edit:
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:33 am

I just don't understand the appeal of such an item. A holster for all of your tech equipment? Why? How is this better or easier than putting your cellphone in your pocket and grabbing your tablet with your hands or tossing it in a bag/briefcase? Why or where would you ever wear this thing? In an office when you have to go to a meeting or somewhere else? Doesn't seem practical or secure for that matter. Sitting down at a desk with this holster on has got to be uncomfortable too. Wouldn't your tablet or whatever pinch you as you move around?

I am not trying to be mean at all, I really just don't understand the concept I guess. Is this for bike riding or something like hiking? Or is this for everyday around the house or office use? I don't see why I would want to conceal all of my tech equipment in such a fashion. Either I need access to my tablet or phone and i am actively using them in my hands, or I don't and they stay on my desk or on a charger. If i need to take my tablet or laptop somewhere it goes into my messenger bag/briefcase thingy. I don't understand why I would want to layer them around my torso...am I trying to sneak items into somewhere like a criminal? Movie theater recordings perhaps? Maybe i could just stuff the pouches full of candy--no more paying full retail for movie snacks!

On the other hand, if I feel like I am in a place where my personal possessions or safety are in jeopardy maybe this holster would help to hide any valuables as long as I leave them tucked away under a jacket or something--like on the subway or other public transportation. So if all you want to do is conceal your tech gear while traveling through undesirable neighborhoods I can maybe see the point. But for ease of access it doesn't really resonate with me...I see no reason to strap tech to my body.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:40 pm

I would think a spot to seperate your personal and work cell would be nice.

I think a bag or sleeve on back for biking commuters for a full sized laptop might be nice. Detachable? Dunno, just spitballing.

Also, is the tablet sleeve big enough to have any of the cases out there? I know my kindle fire has a pretty thick case.

Maybe one of those retractable keychain things? There are times those things are awesome.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:48 pm

Wow! That's a lot of replies awful quickly, thanks!

druidcent,
I haven't actually worn mine while biking yet but I will give it a try, I'm sure it would work well. I've really never worn a backpack except for camping. I was always the kid with the briefcase at school. ;) The system is built to be modular and while we do have a assumed left and right side currently the function isn't changed dramatically if you swap them and the nature of the galluses we're using to connect the sides to the harness means that the webbing can stay flat no matter what. All that is to say you could accommodate different "load outs" if you had more than two sides. I'm definitely planning on a pocket large enough for a 11.6" Ultrabook - from a comfort perspective that may be as large of a thing as I would want tucked on my side. I'm not sure about the 3rd space on the small of your back, it could be difficult to make comfortable. As it is the weight distribution is something its very good at, you hit the nail on the head, keeping the weight the same on both sides is key to making you forget you have it on. I have mine balanced to within 30 grams on each side but you certainly don't need to be that precise. Since the sides are under your arms the load doesn't leverage you around, its very vertical. There's no padding per-say because it is intended to be very streamlined, the strap connecting the two sides is elastic though, otherwise it is such little weight hanging from such a large surface area that we haven't found padding necessary. There was a lot of attention put into choosing the webbing though, its very soft and flexible even across its width. Regarding TSA, I flew with mine for the first time this week, its was sweet, I never had anything in my pockets so I just slipped the whole thing into the bin and put it back on when it came out, no problems. Quiet a few people testing them internally have flown more than me, also without issue. For me the sides were above the armrests when I was on the plane and as a whole it was far more comfortable than having my phone, wallet and keys in my pockets.

cjcerny,
Thanks for that. ;) Its actually very easy to hide, especially if you are wearing a suit or jacket (which of course is very intentional). We're still sorting out what materials to use for different styles. But yes, there is definitely an "are you nerd enough?" factor for early adopters...

SpartanCaptain ,
That's exactly something I've been thinking about. If it was easy to take something with you everywhere and it wasn't dependent on the number of pockets that season's clothing dictated, what would you take? I went for multi-tool and solar charger, maybe keep my wallet in my pocket like normal. Obviously there are messenger\laptop bags and other options out there but I personally find this more streamlined and practical for just a couple extras that might be handy.

ludi,
You've got the idea just right too. Regarding the retention from the back, I can tell you that while you're walking they don't swing around at all. We could add a strap but the focus was on freedom of movement and anything low like that can feel restricting. Also, you can't see it in the first pictures but in the one below you can see how we have the harness connect to the sides from the top in the front and the back in the back, that helps a lot. It will swing forward a little if you use a drinking fountain for example but not much and not if you are wearing something over it, again, its so little weight that friction does a lot of the work to keep it in place (although we've intentionally not tried to make the underside of the harness grippy, freedom of movement has won over staying in exactly the right place so far).

Image

moresmarterthanspock,
Lol, that is one of the fist things I noticed when I put one on, no more hulk smashing doors open, you can't argue with that. :o

TDIdriver,
Yep. I didn't get to that part of ludi's response but that's one place, there are actually more and more professional occupations that make use of an iPad or other tablet daily. BTW, I should mention that the side is designed to be large enough to hold a tablet while it is in its own case. That way whatever your job, if you take it out for use it doesn't instantly become vulnerable.

ryko,
Of course its not for everyone. I didn't start wearing one regularly until I started putting my Kindle in it since I don't personally need an iPad on me all the time. I might however be more inclined to use a larger one if just the right Ultrabook or AMD equivalent comes out. In my mind the convenience of a TechSling comes from its "forget about it" nature. It leaves your hands free, you can barely feel you have it on, and it disappears under just an unbuttoned shirt if you want it to. Depending on the chair sitting is generally not a problem, its tucked against your sides pretty closely, sometimes I put my thumbs in the d-rings at the bottom of each side and "rock" it forward if its hitting the back of the chair. Actually getting the harness adjusted just right for you is really important and can take a few tries to settle on. After you have though movement is easy and it stays in place pretty well.

The other thing to consider is that its not really about concealment as convenience. The concealment aspect is secondary to its function. As you say either you are using a tablet or not but if you are not you may want to again soon, especially depending on your occupation, location, or whatever activity you might be doing. There may not be a table to set it on or you may not want to carry a separate bag around to put it in and you might not have a free hand all the time - those are some scenarios we think it would be useful in.

For the record while I haven't use a TechSling for anything nefarious I have snuck plenty of snacks into movie theaters without one just fine. :) Also, you're right about the security aspect of it, as someone who has always kept my wallet in my front pocket just for that reason I feel extra safe with it secured behind a zipper in a pocket under my arm. Since its not slung from just one side its not a simple thing to just run by and snatch either (although it is very easy to take off and put on yourself).

TheEmrys,
You could certainly fit a phone as well as other items in the bottom pocket if you needed two phones. I am trying to think of some creative divider concepts as well. I'll definitely put some thought into a back sleeve since its been mentioned twice now but exactly how to implement it alludes me. I should mention that this contraption is made in the USA and I have to be very careful about how much labor goes into it until I can get some automation in place to manufacture it. You'll see the features, options, and product line in general grow over time as with any other new product. It is over-sized enough to work with many different covers, I've tested a few large ones. The d-rings at the bottom are intended for a number of uses, one of them being the retractable key-chain things for keys, ID badges, or whatever. You could also use them to clip to your belt if you wished but the plan is not to supply the connection to do that with the product.

Without trying to sound too trendy we want to leave options open to the user to customize\hack their TechSling to a degree. Things like look what you can do with a paper-clip here, or if you staple this there, or if you make this little shape out of Sugru or 3D print this clip or insert. One that I did but forgot to mention was to add a extra loop of elastic to the Kindle side so I could hold my laser pointer above it. One stitch line on any random sewing machine and you've got a new feature. :)

Thanks for the input so far everyone!
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:33 pm

Glad I can help..

I was originally thinking about motorcycle, but bicycling would be true. One thing I just thought about would be as a harness when running (I know not geeky/nerdy).. I'm using my smartphone to track my exercise/running, and I hate trying to figure out where to keep the phone so it doesn't bang on my leg or arm. In which case a place to keep a water bottle and some sunscreen would be nice. I could see myself using something similar while skiing (I've got the pockets, but when I'm in the lodge I like to take off my jacket). With all the new electronic gadgets to help track health and fitness, I can see many different use cases and small items to hold.

Generally, I've got 2 sets of keys (house keys, car/bike/vehicle keys), RSA ID tokens (2), a swiss army knife, 1 phone, wallet as a base. I've been looking for a solution for my 10" tablet and not a backpack.

I like the idea of a detachable sleeve on the lower back while in transit (backpack style), that can be removed when at the destination.

For this device, I'd think there is room for a point & shoot small camera. I picked up a nice camera backpack for my DSLR, but I'm wondering if there would be a way to keep camera accessories (since I don't expect a way to carry the body or lenses).
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:09 pm

I think I've seen something similar to this at a gun show, only with a more gun oriented slant. I believe the gun holster people have already caught on to this idea. tekholster.com maybe?
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:39 pm

druidcent wrote:The only other thing I'd look at is how it would fit while traveling (being TSA compliant would be great)
As long as what you put in the pockets are metallic then they will blend right in to the background and you should be able to pass through the nudie scanners just fine http://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/03/07 ... y-scanners You'll still get stopped if the scanner breaks and they send you through the metal detector arch.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:46 pm

cjcerny wrote:I think I've seen something similar to this at a gun show, only with a more gun oriented slant. I believe the gun holster people have already caught on to this idea. tekholster.com maybe?
A decade ago some people I knew were trying to do wearable computing / augmented reality stuff, and they bought surplus "tactical vests" to stow all the gear (and especially the batteries... so many heavy batteries). Turns out holsters designed for ammunition clips and whatnot fit a lot of technical equipment quite well. Of course they ended up looking just a keffiyeh away from a Hezbollah paradise-seeker, which wasn't too much of a problem in the late 90s but wouldn't fly now.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:47 pm

druidcent,
Yes, a motorcycle jacket would make more sense. I'll keep general organization in mind. There are two elastic loops in the zippered pocket for pens but I cut them out of mine when I added the loop to tablet side. I also bought a GridIt to put inside but it didn't work too well with the space constraint. The constraints of the project keep things interesting.

cjcerny,
Interesting, I missed that one. Of course the whole "slinger" aspect evokes a connection to gun slinging anyway. We'd like to offer a nice leather option later on for people that want the same utility but a little higher end appearance. I've got to think that with our soft webbing and the elastic ours is a little more comfy.

notfred,
Like I said, I just took it off completely and put it in the bin. I don't think you can even wear a jacket though the scanners. They yelled at me for the aquarium tickets I accidentally left in my pocket, its was nuts. :x

UberGerbil,
We've been calling this a form of practical wearable computing. The fact is that if you have a smart phone on your regularly you're "practically" already there. We've also put some effort into the design aesthetic to steer away from a militant look but its still entirely possible we'll have a camo/tactical version if people want one.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:55 pm

This is why I have a Galaxy Note now. I carry a single device instead of a bunch =)
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:51 pm

i hope you are already married
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:02 pm

Reminds me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... qrM#t=144s


I like to have my electronic gadgets with me but hate putting my phone in my pocket, usually carry it in to work with me and leave it on the desk. It sounds very interesting and useful, biggest worry for me would be how comfortable and unobtrusive it would be when sitting down in a chair with armrests, especially for a bigger guy like me. I'd like to test it out and see if it could hold my pistol comfortably in addition to my phone/tablet.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:49 pm

ChronoReverse,
That's one way to do it. I don't think the Note would fit in the current phone pocket anyway.

wirerogue,
Indeed. She's a nerd too though, actually thinks its sexy. :wink:

BerserkBen,
My dad keeps telling me we should make gun holsters but its not on the radar. One new industry at a time if plenty for me. You would have to modify/hybridize it to make it fit a pistol securely/safely. PM me your address and I'll get one (or two?) heading your way. BTW, this is what my dad uses around the house.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:51 pm

I'd try one since i do carry lots of different tech related things at work, but if you run out or anything its cool.
(and I promise not to sell it at the BBQ this year lol - speaking of which, can it hold a walker, or some home-brewed beer?)
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:55 pm

Do you want me to send them to different addresses or just to one place? I bet you could hang a walker from the d-rings so if you needed to sprint it would go with you... :lol:
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:39 pm

drfish wrote:Do you want me to send them to different addresses or just to one place? I bet you could hang a walker from the d-rings so if you needed to sprint it would go with you... :lol:


Pm'd and you can send both to the same address, I see Dposcorp often enough. Thanks.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:58 am

drfish wrote:Do you want me to send them to different addresses or just to one place? I bet you could hang a walker from the d-rings so if you needed to sprint it would go with you... :lol:

Yes, but could the tech sling hold Gleek HOLDING the walker?
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:44 am

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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:30 am

Lol, yeah, saw that on Kickstarter. :)

Edit: I'm putting a few TechSlings in the mail today. PM me if you've contributed above (or below) and I'll make sure one heads your way today too.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:10 am

I constantly carry four things with me wherever I go:

Keys
Phone
Wallet
earphones.

Whilst it's possible to carry these in my pocket, it's not always practical to do so, and yes - I cycle so I have a very small rucksack (so small, it won't even hold a pair of shoes).
Techsling would be a suitable replacement for this, though any cyclist will probably appreciate an (optional?) lower back strap to stop the pockets from dangling underneath you as you hunch forwards.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:29 pm

wirerogue,
Indeed. She's a nerd too though, actually thinks its sexy. :wink:


Glad she thinks that way... But all in all, if it works. I think you will have a nice market out there to make this useful.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:15 pm

I'll preorder two, and I'd love to contribute lots of testing experience.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 6:42 am

Thanks! ...but we're not exactly doing pre-orders yet, I'll just send one your way in exchange for contribution to this discussion. :)

I added some "better" photos of the full size TechSling to my first post. I should have some professional shots soon. The full size one will be what is initially offered for sale and is what I'm sending out for you guys to test.
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Re: What's a TechSling?

Postposted on Tue May 01, 2012 7:47 am

drfish wrote:Thanks! ...but we're not exactly doing pre-orders yet, I'll just send one your way in exchange for contribution to this discussion. :)

I added some "better" photos of the full size TechSling to my first post. I should have some professional shots soon. The full size one will be what is initially offered for sale and is what I'm sending out for you guys to test.


Hah! You throw sales away! Clearly you need more management staff!

I kid. Thanks! I'm always schlepping my iPad with me, and no one has made an easy way to carry that yet, except in a hand. I'm always setting it down, and having to remember to pick it back up. I'm also geek enough (and tall/burly enough) to get away with it from a fashion perspective.
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