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Seeing is believing, especially for an engineer. At Voltera’s IDTechEx booth this year, Geoff Boyd of Coleridge Design Associates became a believer.

The IDTechEx Show is a conference for emerging technology companies: 3D printing, electric vehicles, photonics, RFID and IOT, wearables, printed electronics and a lot more are all on the menu. IDTechEx checks a lot of boxes for Voltera, and their conference is a regular stop for us because trade shows like this help us make progress on our Big Problem.

Voltera’s Big Problem

One of the major hurdles we face as a company is simply showing people that the V-One is real. There are two major reasons this is difficult.

1. Knowledge Gap

“The biggest challenge facing our company is not that people have never heard of Voltera, it’s that people have never heard of the concept of printing circuits.”

-Alroy Almeida, Voltera CEO — IDTechEx Show 2018

We know that our tool has high utility for anyone in hardware prototyping, but when engineers need to get PCBs quickly they don’t even think of printing their own boards in house. Because they don’t know that’s a thing you can do.

Electronics engineers when we tell them they can print their own design for a prototype-ready circuit board in an hour on their desktop, for about $5 USD per board.

The printed electronics (PE) industry is so new that it’s still being driven by the theoretically possible, not the realistically required. Conductive ink is the gooey, metallic lifeblood of the industry, and in the past few years advancements have been made on the materials science side that have taken desktop printed electronics from a pipe dream to a pragmatic option. The hardware design, electronics engineering and manufacturing industries are still catching up to this disruption. Simply showing people what’s possible with our technology is one of the things keeping us busy.

2. Suspicion

The hype-focused technology press and glut of crowdfunded BS have taken a toll on early adopters, and suspicion of bad faith in tech is at an all time high.

PE industry veterans when they realize our nearest competitors charge 10–20x the price of the V-One.

This phenomenon hits Voltera hard because we’ve deliberately gone for a “too-good-to-be-true” thing. We play a game at trade shows where we explain the product and the full suite of features, show off the software and demo the tool in action, then ask people how much they think it costs. They wince, suck their teeth, then consistently guess a number $10–30,000 more than we charge. One valley-based investor at this years’ IDTechEx, upon hearing the price of the V-One, rolled his eyes and said “you damn Canadians.”

Sorry (not sorry).