Richmond resident and former Pixar engineer launches online fundraiser for electronics start-up


A Richmond resident who has worked for Pixar on animated movies such as Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Ratatouille recently left the company in order to create and design a product that makes it easier to build electronic devices.

Erin Tomson, a Richmond resident for more than 10 years, launched a Kickstarter campaign last week to raise funds to help launch her start-up company, Richmond-based Modulo Labs LLC. Although her Kickstarter campaign achieved its goal of $10,000 in just three hours (as of this writing, $20,407 had been raised), Tomson said she hopes to increase that amount to $50,000 in the next three weeks in order to launch Modulo as a sustainable business.

modulo-.5-12-1Modulo aims to vastly simplify do-it-yourself electronics by eliminating the need for the builder to design and assemble a circuit board from scratch. The product offers tiny pre-made circuit boards that can easily snap onto a base so that you don’t have to mess with complex wiring and soldering. The video below further explains the technology. Tomson shows how she used her device to build a smart irrigation system that automatically adjusts to weather forecasts, an Internet connected fish-feeding robot, and a robot that brews tea.

“I wanted to make building complex electronic projects easier than ever,” Tomson said. “I felt the hardware should get out of the way and let you tinker, prototype, and just create your project.”

Originally from Kansas, Tomson began tinkering with electronics at an early age and joined Pixar right after college. After working in computer graphics on the above-mentioned films, she moved to Pixar’s internal software group and helped build the company’s next generation animation tools from the ground up. She stayed with the company for 12 years before leaving about a year ago to launch Modulo.

Community members are encouraged to visit Tomson’s Kickstarter campaign page, learn more about the product and contribute to a local resident’s budding venture.