Local company crafts bamboo Blackbox cases to protect laptops, iPads from adventure fails

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After featuring the cool Revolights Kickstarter project last week, local reader Greg Hydle reached out to see if we'd have a look at his own Kickstarter project, which similarly solves a problem for adventurous types: Namely, saving your laptop or iPad from certain death.

Hydle and his friend Lance Atkins came up with idea for their Bamboo Blackbox Cases -- "Made in Golden, CO, USA," Hydle's proud to say -- after Atkins' MacBook received a fatal blow while on safari in Africa. Atkins, who is also a pilot, realized he needed a crash-proof box to protect all his most valuable information while he was getting into trouble (hence "Blackbox") outside of the plane, so the Colorado School of Mines graduates put their heads together to design a lightweight case that could handle a hit.

"I have many friends that have had their bags fall out of a car or get dropped and jack up their machines," says Hydle, who blogs about his own adventure lifestyle at Hydle.com and tends to put his tech toys to the test. "Like a bike, snowboard, ski, or skate helmet, the Blackbox is designed to break in the event of a fall and serve as a protective shield for your gear. As an added found benefit, it's also a ball-saver when using your laptop on your lap. Our motto is 'always use protection.'"

The designs so far include data-saving and ball-saving cases for iPads, MacBooks, and MacBook Air laptops. After making their first prototypes out of oak using a homemade router and some customized power tools out in the garage, then shipping their first 700 cases, the duo settled on a lighter and more sustainable bamboo design and are now raising funds to ramp up production more efficiently and sustainably. That's where Kickstarter comes in.

"We want to make a better product, faster, and basically streamline our approach while maintaining a Made in the USA product," Hydle says. He's also hoping the "Blackbox" concept comes to be taken literally. "This week, United Airlines announced that they're giving all their pilots iPads in place of having them carry heavy flight manuals around, so now we think there should be a blackbox and a Blackbox on board every aircraft."

To reserve one for your yourself as they come off the new assembly line, make a pledge at Kickstarter.com (starting at $79 for the iPad 2 case, then on up from there) or visit BlackboxCase.com.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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