Does this idea have wings
Cedarburg inventor seeks Kickstarter support for app

By Jim Cryns - News Graphic Correspondent

July 22, 2014

Bill Steinike demonstrates the Bluetooth application he is developing that can control duck decoys. Steinike is the president of LS Research in Cedarburg.
 Photo by Jim Cryns

CEDARBURG - It’s plausible Henry Ford would have created a Kickstarter campaign to fund his Model T if it were available. Thomas Edison may have sought out public interest and pledges of financial support for his phonograph.

Kickstarter is a worldwide crowd-funding platform where the average person can contribute to an art or business effort from its inception.

Kickstarter’s stated mission is to help bring creative projects to life.

It offers entrepreneurs unprecedented opportunities to get people interested in their products or projects, and hopefully garner some financial support to get them off the ground.

Bill Steinike is a business-owner and avid hunter - with a penchant for duck hunting. His passion for hunting was the impetus behind SmartDecoy, a Bluetooth application allowing the hunter the ability to control movement of a duck decoy.

“It gives you the flexibility to set up the life-like scene you want,” Steinike said. “You can control the movement of the decoys individually, turn them on and off at different intervals.

The application is used with RoboDuck decoys and all you have to do is slip the device into the decoy and control the movements from your smartphone.

“It doesn’t take a lot of installation skills,” Steinike said. “You can give the illusion that ducks are in a takeoff pattern, which makes the scene much more appealing to other ducks.”

Think of it as choreographing scenes for the fake ducks. You’re able to customize the timing with the application, controlling up to 10 decoys at a time.

“Since it’s an application, we can send new feature updates as they become available. You can also monitor your decoy’s power supply with a battery level indicator. That’s something you can’t do with current decoys.”

Steinike is the president of LS Research in Cedarburg, a company that specializes in wireless research and product development.

“Our experience is what gives us an edge with a Kickstarter campaign,” Steinike said. “We’re not looking for someone to help us design and create the product. That’s what we do.”

Steinike said if they were able to reach their Kickstarter goal of $55,000, it would send a message of confidence to potential supporters that this is a product with some legs.

“When we raise the $55,000, it’s my hope we will deliver technology innovations for the hunting community that will provide a better hunting experience,” Steinike said.

Like most Kickstarter campaigns, Steinke’s SmartDecoy effort offers incentives, tangible rewards for supporters.

Those who pledge $200 or more will get a beta release IOS or Android app and decoy module before September, the start of the hunting season. You’ll essentially be a key player in the testing of the new product and can provide feedback.

SmartHunt is the vision for our entire line of “smart” hunting accessories like Bill talks about,” said Dave Burleton, VP of Marketing for LS Research. “The SmartDecoy is the first product in the SmartHunt family that we are trying to bring to market.”

Kickstarter campaigns are often predicated on a large number of followers to get your message out to as many people as possible. That message will grow exponentially, kind of like a viral video. A video is a strong component of your pitch, a chance to share your story. SmartDecoy has created a compelling video. This gives your campaign personalization. You get to know the person or people behind the campaign. Steinike and his dog, Mason, are prominently featured in full hunting mode, utilizing a SmartDecoy as they hunt.

“The great thing about the product is it’s operated by your phone,” Steinike said. “Most people don’t lose their phone, but you can forget to bring the remote for your device.”

Steinike says similar technology will aid ice fishermen and deer hunters.

“The sky is the limit when it comes to using BlueTooth technology and it can be applied to virtually everything we do.”

Become a Kickstarter supporter

To make a Kickstarter pledge for SmartDecoy, visit the campaign at this link: