Workshop 12

As we continue to make progress on the Brainiac design for the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ dashboards we’ve been creating some revised sketches to help us visualize different options.  These sketches also give us an opportunity to share an insider’s perspective of the process.

We’ve been very lucky to have a lot of great feedback through forums and our social media accounts which have really helped guide our design decisions.  Part of the current revisions have included experimenting with a hazard switch location.  That means trying to place the switch in multiple locations and checking out which one might look the best.  Let’s just say some look great, and some look not so great.  But that’s part of the process, trying different designs and seeing which ones work well. Read More

It seems like Matthew never sleeps because he’s done it again!  A new set of renderings of the Nissan 350Z dashboard.  We’ve been considering applying a little bit of a modern redesign to the top three gauge cup area of the dashboard.  I know that making some changes to an iconic area of the Z dashboard can be a little sacrilegious but we figured we would give it a try any ways 🙂

Having three gauges is great, but what if you could have a heads-up display that could show multiple gauges, turn-by-turn directions, incoming alerts and more?  We think that this is an area worth exploring.  Our thoughts are not to add a secondary “touch screen”, but instead an LCD that is pushed back as close to the windshield as possible.  Creating a great area for information at a glance but low enough not to block your field of vision.   Read More

Following up on our FR-S/BRZ post we also have the initial Nissan 350Z Brainiac sketches to share with the community.  We recently announced that the 2002-2005 Nissan 350Z would be the latest vehicle receiving a 10.1″ Brainiac installation kit and we’re now eyeballs deep in both planning and design after the initial 3D laser scanning 🙂

So far the 350Z has been the absolute ideal candidate for the 10.1″ screen.  The vertical pillar style dashboard provides a ton of space to locate the touch screen and has an inner dashboard structure that is really favorable without having to work around any internal plastic beams or supports.  There’s even enough room above the existing climate control for the Brainiac display. Read More

Designing the right look and feel for a 10.1″ Brainiac display consists of a process of multiple revisions to try and get things “just right”.  It’s one of those tough scenarios that you don’t actually quite know what “right” is until you see it, but when you do, you get a gut feeling that you’re on to something.

At Workshop 12 we like to open up our design process so that owners get a chance to provide their feedback early on.  One way that we do that is by engaging in conversations on forums such as FT86 Club for Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ owners.  By providing behind the scenes information on our blog it gives us a reference point for great discussions in a community forum setting. Read More

As we continue to expand our 10.1″ portfolio of vehicles for Brainiac we’re also looking to get involved with the communities that love those vehicles and have a chance to take part in the design process for their car.

One great location to collaborate with Nissan 350Z owners is on  With the exciting news of Workshop 12 bringing a 10.1″ display to the 2002-2005 Nissan 350Z there are lots of questions, and we’re excited to now be an official vendor on my350z to provide answers and post Brainiac progress updates.

So if you’re a member of my350z feel free to follow the links above and join the conversation in our Brainiac build thread 🙂

Last week was extra busy at Workshop 12 as we began the process of 3D laser scanning the Scion FR-S and the 2002-2005 Nissan 350Z dashboards in preparation for designing the 10.1″ Brainiac screen trim kit.  Even though the climate control specifics are different between the Toyota FR-S and the Subaru BRZ, they share the same dashboard and trim mounting locations which is a big bonus.

We were lucky enough to have different members of the local community step up and offer their vehicles for for scanning.  We even had Don Valley North Toyota provide us both a vehicle and also a location in the dealership to perform the scanning! Read More

As we draw closer to enabling pre-orders for Brainiac we’ve provided some updated details on the Brainiac website describing product features, technical specifications and pricing!

The Brainiac systems and accessories that will be available for pre-order at launch will be:

  • Brainiac 7″ Double-din stereo replacement unit (MSRP $699)
  • Brainiac 10.1″ stereo replacement unit including snap-in trim replacement and a climate control accessory if necessary (MSRP $1399)
    • 2012-2015 Toyota FR-S
    • 2012-2015 Subaru BRZ
    • 2005-2007 Subaru WRX/STI
    • 2002-2005 Nissan 350Z (climate control accessory not required)
  • Brainiac digital air suspension accessory (MSRP not yet available)
  • Brainiac 8-port programmable relay accessory (MSRP not yet available)

Prices are subject to change leading up to pre-order availability, but we’re now at a point where we’re able to give a confident estimate which we feel brings a ton of value for a great price!

Stay tuned for more product details including the 10.1″ Brainiac installation kit for the FR-S/BRZ and 350Z as we continue to push towards our pre-order campaign 🙂

One of the areas that we’ve been exploring at Workshop 12 is finding simple ways to control common functions while driving.  By finding easy ways to control the things we do over and over again your body creates muscle memory and helps to reduce distracted driving.

The key to finding effective controls is to first determine the common repetitive functions and then find a natural physical action that would match the desired result.  We’ve found that two of the main actions we perform all the time while driving are volume adjustment and skipping/scanning through media such as our radio presets or the current playing track in a playlist.

With Brainiac we’ve provided physical buttons that allow for these functions but we’ve also added some simple gestures that allow you to make these adjustments without having to look at the screen or search for a button which helps you keep your eyes on the road.  Read More

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our early supporters for your great feedback, suggestions and excitement for our upcoming release of Brainiac!  The response has been phenomenal and we’re just getting started.

Make sure you spread the word about registering for our early supporter discount of 10% off of your first purchase by simply signing up for our newsletter.  This offer will be ending October 31st, so make sure you get your name on the mailing list for a nice “Thank-you” discount 🙂

As awareness of Brainiac continues to grow we’ve been receiving a ton of support and feedback from the car community.  We’ve been attending meet-ups and car shows almost every weekend and have also been spending many different week nights at local meet-ups.  We make sure to post pictures of some of the cool cars we find at these events on Instagram.  It’s amazing to know that we could pretty much meet with car enthusiasts every day of the week with such a strong community presence in Ontario.  It was great to see an article by Dave Thomas published on Speedhunters summarizing the great diverse car culture that exists in our area.

The reaction to Brainiac while attending these different car events has been overwhelming, with drivers eager to install the system in their ride.  Whether it be the beautiful 10.1″ custom fit display, the integration with their digital air suspension system,  ability to pair the system to your smartphone, performance data logging or the thought of replacing their current 7″ double-din unit with something better.

The message has been loud and clear.  “Bring Brainiac to market as quickly as you can and for as many vehicles as you can”.

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The last couple of weeks have involved crazy working hours and lots of blistered fingers, but they were all worth it as we prepared for our first two events where we could finally get Brainiac out there for everyone to try in person!  The final push to the event was about 5 days of getting up at 6 AM and into bed at 2 AM.  I felt like I was on an episode of Overhaulin’.  We’ve learned a lot by attending these two events, most importantly that when we get a chance for someone to take a look at the product and see what it can do they are absolutely floored 🙂

Friday afternoon we moved both of our prototyping vehicles and display unit down to ImportFest to make sure everything was ready for the show on Saturday which ran from Noon until Midnight.  After the show ended we packed everything up and managed to get home and into bed around 3:30 AM on Sunday morning.  Then it was back up again at 6:30 AM to get the Subaru WRX and our display stand packed up and ready for the Toronto Subaru Club HyperMeet which ran from 10 – 5pm.

It was incredible to see everyone’s reaction to the product, which motivates us even more to get Brainiac to market as soon as possible!  Watching people use the system also gave us loads of feedback on our user interface as well as provided a great opportunity to receive direct feedback and suggestions on how to further improve Brainiac’s features.  One of the most encouraging common questions was “So when will the 10.1 inch install be available for my car?”. Read More

As we continue to push towards having Brainiac ready for sale, one of our main offerings will be the 7″ double-din unit that will work with pretty much any vehicle on the road.  Luckily there are all sorts of stereo installation kits out there to fit a standard double-din sized head unit in your dashboard.  One of our goals is to create the 7″ unit as an upgradable platform so that if you have one installed and a 10.1″ display becomes available for your vehicle, you don’t have to go out and buy everything all over again.

We want to design the 7″ unit in a way that you’re able to remove the touch screen display and buttons and simply upgrade to the 10.1″ display, custom trim and buttons.  With this in mind we’ve been working on our first revision of the double-din unit mechanics and wanted to share this early work with you.  There’s still work to be done to achieve our goal but with this revision we’re one step closer to reaching our goal.

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