One of the more quirky things that grabbed my attention on Kickstarter was PancakeBot. It started life as a Lego project created by New York maker (and apparently awesome Dad) Miguel Valenzuela as a very cool way to make shaped pancakes. You can see the original video of the Lego model in action here.
This is what I love most about crowdfunding as the original idea has now been developed into a fully fledged commercial product with funding from Kickstarter backers. The project has had a few setbacks but the PancakeBot team have kept everybody informed and met the challenges head-on.
Backers in Europe, myself included, have had to wait for their deliveries due to the requirement for certification of the griddle to ensure that it meets with the European standards for mains electrical equipment. I have noticed that U.S. based designers launching in Europe for the first time generally think that if things meet with North American standards then it can’t be too tricky to transpose that to a European product. It’s a fair enough assumption given that achieving a UL mark for your product is no mean feat. However, one of the nuances of Europe is that our electrical supply is not standard across the entire region and can range from 207-253 Volts (230V +/- 10%) with some countries having protective earth cores in their wiring, some having ring circuits whilst others use radials and there are multiple types of wall outlets and matching plugs. As such, there’s a pretty comprehensive set of standards in place to make sure electrical equipment is compliant which I understand is where the first Euro-PancakeBot fell down and failed to get certification.
Miguel and the team have made a stirling job of sorting through this. Originally they had planned to ship the product without the griddle and allow people to source them locally not realising that griddles aren’t really a common beastie in these parts. So they listened to their backers and have engaged a U.S. griddle manufacturer to produce a C.E. compliant Euro-Griddle which means PancakeBot should be on its way soon.
I’d hoped it would be here in time for tonight’s Eurovision Song Contest party but alas, we’ll have to celebrate the arrival of PancakeBot at a separate gathering. By the way, if you think the electrical supply in Europe is complicated and weird I assure you that The Eurovision Song Contest takes weirdness to a whole new level……
If you’re intersted in finding out more about PancakeBot then check out their web site at: http://www.pancakebot.com