For teenage entrepreneur Ernest Pereira, gaming is going small.
The 18-year-old innovator is releasing a limited run of his retro game console, the Duinodrive, before shipping off to the Naval Academy in the summer.
The Duinodrive — which can fit in the palm of your hand — comes in a kit that users assemble themselves to fully understand the technology behind the video game. Users can share and download games through their Duinodrive account and even create their own games to play.
Pereira is graduating from Blue Valley North High School in May and plans to pass off the business, Pereira Electronics, to his brother once he leaves, he said.
“I definitely wanted to do something different before I left. I wanted someway to share my passion for electronics, STEM, PCB design, all that stuff,” said Pereira.
Though Pereira hopes to drive youth interest in STEM and electronics through his kits and video games, the company’s target market is electronics enthusiasts and men aged 25 to 35, he said.
“Society’s interests at large for playing video games and my interests of these types of STEM activities really intersected, and that’s what gave me the Duniodrive. Also, I just wanted to make something really cool. I think I accomplished both,” said Pereira.
Pereira first started developing the console in 2017 before his senior year and has been growing the product throughout his involvement with the Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) where he studied aerospace engineering and electronics design.
“The CAPS program gives students the opportunity to solve relevant problems in a professional environment, and was designed to be closer to a real work experience than a traditional classroom setting,” Pereira said.
The CAPS program facilitated an order of 10 Duinodrive prototypes to demo with local middle schools in the spring, he said.
“The experience helped me perfect parts acquisition and the assembly of the kits, and gave me valuable feedback as well,” he said. “They’ve been a great partner to work with as I’ve grown my business.”
The biggest challenge so far, Pereira said, has been finding time in between school and Pereira Electronics, as well as funding the venture. Pereira launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $7,000 by May 24.