Inside the Star Trek MIMOBOTS
By StarTrek.com Staff - January 26, 2013
Star Trek fans are snapping up the recently introduced Star Trek MIMOBOTS from Mimoco, and they’re enjoying not just the practicality of the products -- each MIMOBOT is available with up to 64GB of data storage – but also the special and very cool pre-loaded bonus content that includes Trek-themed MimoByte sound software (with iconic sounds and voices/dialogue), desktop icons, wallpapers and avatars, as well as comic books and exclusive behind-the-scenes TNG Blu-ray footage. StarTrek.com thought fans would be eager to learn more about the Star Trek MIMOBOTS and how Mimoco infused them with all the Trek extras, and so we caught up with Scott Seraydarian, director of media at Mimoco. Here’s what he had to say:
Where did the idea spring from?
Seraydarian: Well, for those out there (hopefully fewer and fewer people all the time) who might not know, a Mimobot (pronounced mee-mo-bot) is the and we feel preeminent character USB flash drive. We’ve been producing limited-edition character memory sticks since 2005. It’s been an amazing ride so far and now with Star Trek we’re even more excited. I, like many people out there, have loved Star Trek for most of my life, and I have the t-shirt to prove it.
As far as where the idea came from, well I may be a little biased, but I personally feel that Mimobot has one of the truly great origin stories… at least in the world of consumer electronics. The story of Mimoco starts with the founder and my friend from high school, Evan Blaustein. Evan and I have always been fans and collectors… of Star Wars, Star Trek, comics, toys…you name it. Over the years, that interest evolved to collecting designer and vinyl toys. From a page out of Doc Brown’s autobiography, Mimobot emerged in one “A-ha moment.” As the story goes, Evan asked his then fiance (now wife and partner at Mimoco) for a flash drive. She reached into her purse without looking and handed him a small Kubrick Tron figure. Evan took it and tried to take off the ‘flash drive’s’ cap. When the head didn’t come off, he looked down and in that instant it all came into focus. Designer toy/technology, character/flash drive… and Mimobot was born.
Six months later we shared a small table at San Diego Comic-Con to launch the company and haven’t slowed down since. For our first year we only produced very limited sets of our own original and Artist Series characters. Those early Mimos are pretty rare and if you ever see any on eBay let me know. Things changed dramatically in 2006 when we were approached by Lucasfilm to license Star Wars. We have had a tremendous and prolific relationship w/Lucasfilm as well as some of our other favorite brands, like DC Comics, Hello Kitty, Adventure Time, as well as real-life Legends like Bruce Lee, Einstein and Elvis. It’s been a dream to amass this library of amazing characters… and now adding Star Trek is like a fully circle moment for us.
Take us through the process of creating the Mimobots. The concept of adding special content, etc?
Seraydarian: When it comes to the process, it really depends. Everything we do starts with character and so we’re constantly looking into new characters and trying new things. Once we decide on a new character, the design development can be quick or lengthy. Because we always have the same predominant shape, it’s always interesting to see how/if a character will conform to the shape easily or require extra effort. Our creative standards are high and hopefully that comes through in the outside design.
The content was always a part of the product from the very beginning. The content has grown over time and we feel that there’s still a lot of untapped potential there. But at this point it’s part of the whole Mimobot experience.
We put a lot of time and care into the Mimory and nothing pleases me more than when I hear from someone who didn’t know that there was anything on their Mimo when they got it and how excited they were to see all the extra stuff. The thinking is that if you like what’s on the outside you’ll be as happy with what on the inside as well.
In what ways do the Mimobots differ from any similar product before it?
Seraydarian: I think Mimobots are unique in many ways, but a few things that separate us is that we were the first. There have been others that have followed, but we were the pioneers of the character USB category!
Other than that, another thing that distinguishes us is our iconic shape. Mimobot is a platform toy, meaning that each Mimobot shares the same body shape. The main point of diversity for our brand is the many different caps we have. From this simple yet (hopefully) recognizably shape we’ve been able to create a collection of over 150 different Mimobot characters… and counting. Then there’s the fact that Mimobots are produced in limited editions, making them special and collectible. I love hearing from people about their collections…. where else can Ugly Dolls, Bane, Elvis, and Spock all be in the same collection?
I’m sure there are other things too but the last thing I’ll say that differentiates Mimobot is our “Mimory.” Mimory is the name for our preloaded bonus content that comes on each Mimobot. Every series has its own Mimory and can be pretty diverse depending on the brand. All Mimory starts with “Mimodesk,” which is a suite of desktop customization content like original wallpapers, screensavers, icons, and my personal favorite, the Mimobyte sound software which plays random sounds every time the Mimobot is inserted and ejected. After Mimodesk is where we like to have fun and provide an additional assortment of rich media that ranges from video, to games, to art and everything in between.
What bit of Trek content were you most excited to include? Would we be right in guessing the sound bytes?
Seraydarian: We try to make every series content special. Aside from the super-fun Mimodesk, we also have an awesome assortment of additional content like unreleased video from the recent TNG Blu-rays, old-school comics, and tons of vintage toy and product commercials.
But, yes, you’re right, the content that I’m probably most excited about are the sounds bytes. Oh man, they’re fun. Mimobyte is a free app we built that plays random sounds whenever the Mimobot is inserted and ejected. In this case, along with the four characters in Series 1, there are over 120 lines… about 12 minutes of audio!
They’re all great but I would say that the Data sounds are my favorite mostly because those were the hardest nut to crack (click HERE to preview some clips).
Seraydarian: All the content was coming together well… except we were having trouble tracking down decent Data sounds. There was a rumor that there might be a rare, out-of-circulation sound collection that Brent Spiner custom-recorded for a sound software in the mid-90’s. My mantra in general is: “Patience Pays”… and in this case it paid dividends. The CBS team finally found the old set of the 3.5” floppy disks. We had a feeling that they were good and worth the trouble, but had the pressing challenge of finding a mid-90’s Mac with a working floppy disc-drive. A few weeks passed and finally a few old machines were found in a CBS storeroom. But the euphoria was short-lived once we realized we could access the discs but had no way of getting the sounds off the machines. You have to keep in mind these beautiful relics were pre-wifi, even pre-USB ports! As John said “Nothing like working with brand new, state-of-the-art, sealed in package 1993 technology!”
Our deadline was quickly approaching and we were preparing to throw in the towel when the CBS team came through with an external zip drive… the sounds needed to be cleaned up, but they were fabulous better then I was even hoping for!
What kind of reaction have you been getting about the products?
Seraydarian: We’ve been thrilled with the response so far. To be honest we’re a super-small, over-worked team, so we don’t always know how the products/series are being received. We don’t have our own retail space, so the only way we get to interact with fans are at trade shows. That’s always great and the fans’ reactions seem really positive. All I can say is we hope people like what we’re doing because we love our fans and only want to produce the best products for them.
How do you imagine Mimobot technology continuing to evolve?
Seraydarian: The name of our company is Mimoco, and although our first and main product is the Mimobot Designer USB Drive, our company’s mission is to bring style and soul to boring electronic tech. Technology is so integrated into our lives, and so we believe the best technology is functional, fun, and fabulous. These tools really are a reflection of ourselves and we should feel good about them.
So as far as the future, we have a couple new things in development. Last year, we released our line of MimoMICROS, a Micro SD card reader and drive. These have been great because they’ve allowed us to expand beyond characters and we started doing vehicles with the Millenium Falcon. We have some really exciting things in the pipeline. Our partners have always been very encouraging to break new ground and create new products… and now with Star Trek the sky really is the limit.
All that being said, we do what we love because of the fans. So we always want to hear from them. What do they want? What ideas they have always inspire us… we’ve gotten some amazing suggestions over the years and hope to hear more from them as we grow.
What other Trek elements do you hope to include in future Mimobot products?
Seraydarian: Well, we have a couple great things in the pipeline, but first things first… we have a super-limited character release in early Spring (stay tuned for that, because it’s going to be super-limited!). We’re also in the midst of planning the next full series. We’re still figuring things out, but I know who I’d like in there. Who would you like to see?
I grew up watching the ST animated show and then the movies (I wrote a 9th grade essay about Mind-melding w/Whales and why the environment was important after seeing The Voyage Home), and then was fully onboard when Enterprise-D launched… so I feel that I’ve experienced a lot of the history, but I have to say that this feels like the best time to be a fan. We’re excited to have Mimobots share in this amazing period of Star Trek fun.
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Album: Prop Shop
Caption: My Federation jacket insignia. The final piece to make my uniform complete.