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8 Internet Of Things & Sensor Projects on Kickstarter

with 3 comments

Kickstarter has been a boon for projects related to Internet of Things and Sensors, here are 8 of them. 5 have been funded and some of these are close to shipping the product. 2 failed to raise the required funds and the 8th one is off to a great start…

1. Twine

Tagline: 1. Listen to your world, talk to the Internet 2. Objects That Connect Us

Launched: November 22, 2011
Funding Ended: January 3, 2012
3,966 Backers
$556,542 pledged of $35,000 goal
Product Availability: Anytime now?

Product Description, Technology and Pricing:

Twine is a durable 2.5″ square provides WiFi, internal and external sensors, and two AAA batteries that last for months. It will sell for $99 through their site. The temperature, vibration, and orientation sensors are built into Twine. The primary interface to communicate with Twine is WiFi – and a Web App is provided. Additional sensors – Magnetic, Moisture and a Breakout Board for interfacing your own analog inputs can be bought separately to the Twine.

2. Knut

Company: Amperic
Tagline: Stay Connected

Launched: May 12, 2012
Funding Ended: July 5, 2012
408 Backers
$55,421 pledged of $25,000 goal
Product Availability: Not clear, not from the Kickstarter page or the Amperic Website

Product Description, Technology and Pricing:

Knut is also a WiFi connected sensor hub. The Knut access is WiFi based hence you can access the data captured or action from a PC or a Smartphone. Knut/Amperic talk about bringing in IOS and Android apps. The last update (Update #11) on the Kickstarter talks about their move to 11g as the WiFi protocol and the status of their IOS Apps. Knut has only a temperature sensor and battery sensor built into. Additional sensors Amperic/Knut planned are humidity, vibration, door, water proof temperature, and water presence. These sensors connect to the Knut using a 3-port hub.

Backers at $80 or $95 level are going to get one Knut Sensor hub, and each additional sensor is $25. It is not clear how to buy these – since there is no ordering feature available on the Amperic site.

3. Ninja Blocks

Company: Ninja Blocks

Tagline: 1. Hack your world 2. Connect your world with Web 3. Lego(r)  for Life
Launched: January 27, 2012
Funding Ended: March 10, 2012
578 Backers
$102,935 pledged of $24,000 goal

Product Availability: Anyday now? Website indicates that they are sold out.

Product Description, Technology and Pricing:

Ninja Blocks wants to bridge the physical and virtual world, it wants to create an IFTTT (if this then that) to connect physical actions to virtual worlds. Each NInja Block comes with an LED (RGB), a Temperature Sensor and Accelerometer. Inputs and sensors can be added or connected to a Ninja Block using 4 Expansion Ports and USB. The difference in approach is that they want to have their cloud (Ninja Cloud) to setup sensors (Ninja Blocks) to cause a trigger actions to generate virtual world actions. The example on their site is a Motion Detector generates a Tweet with a picture. It would support integration with popular services such as Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook, Google Docs etc.

Recent updates – it appears that Ninja Blocks would also be leveraging 433MHz radios for interfacing.

3. NODE

Company: George Yu, Variable Tech

Tagline: a modular, handheld powerhouse of sensors
Launched: February 19, 2012
Funding Ended: March 23, 2012
373 Backers
$76,341 pledged of $50,000 goal

Product Availability: As of today – shipping in 2 weeks or so.

Product Description, Technology and Pricing:

NODE is cylindrical tube with Bluetooth LE 4.0 as its primary interface, and Smartphones/Tablets as the platform for accessing. NODE is compatible with Arduino, has built in Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Gyroscope. Additional sensors can be connected by removing the end of the NODE KORE – similar to screwing on a cap.

It is a very different approach compared to the other Internet of Things projects. And Bluetooth LE 4.0 is an interesting approach given that starting from iPhone4 and iPad3 – Apple is going to basically flood the market with BT LE. Not to mention that IOS/XCode will make the APIs more accessible for BT LE vs. their earlier level of access.
Pricing is bit expensive compared to others, but they seem to be more attractive – the NODE KORE is priced at $149.

5. Bitponics

Company: Bitponics

Tagline: Your Personal Gardening AssistantKickstarter Site: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1498890810/bitponics-your-shortcut-to-a-green-thumb

Launched: May 12, 2012
Funding Ended: June 11, 2012
261 Backers
$23,662 pledged of $20,000 goal

Product Availability: As of today no updates on the Website of Bitponics on availability. Update #10 on the Kickstarter site is only available to the backers. So no clue on what is going on :-)

Product Description, Technology and Pricing:

Bitponics is a sensor-based automated gardening assistant – a help for folks without the green thumb! System consists of the Bitponics “device” and their website. Website will carry an annual membership fee. The device itself may be around $250? I had a tough time trying to understand what the pledges will get.

6. Wovyn

Company: Wovyn

Tagline: Weaving your Internet of Things
Launched: May 10, 2012
Funding Ended: June 24, 2012
109 Backers
$18,618 pledged of $100,000 goal

Funding Failed

7. DaisyWorks

Company: DaisyWorks

Tagline: Internet Your Thing
Launched: May 6, 2012
Funding Ended: June 20, 2012
88 Backers
$14,108 pledged of $50,000 goal

Funding Failed

8. SmartThings

Company: SmartThings

Tagline: Make your World Smarter
Launched: August 23, 2012
Funding ENDS: September 22, 2012 [24 Days to Go]

As of August 28th 2012, 9:45PM Eastern:

2,393 Backers

$428,206 pledged of $250,000 goal

Availability: Funding Open

Product Description, Technology and Pricing:

This is the latest kid on the block, and apparently drawing a steady stream of praise from the top tech blogs. It has passed its goal so it will get funded. Their approach is to build a pro-sumer Home Automation, Monitoring and Energy Management system. It consists of a SmartThings hub to which the sensors are connected wirelessly – Zigbee and ZWave are mentioned. Not sure if it has any proprietary 433MHz or 900/15MHz Radios on them. No WiFi, Ethernet to connect to the Router. NOW that would make it very interesting because if you are forced to place this near to your home gateway you may have challenges with the radio reach on this thing.

Backers have a price of $99 to $174 – get the Hub and three Things (Things being sensors?) included. There will be a monthly fee when it launches, since backers are being waived from the monthly fee.
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Written by Ashu Joshi

August 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm

3 Responses

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  1. A wonderful history of a topic’s involvement in Kickstarter. I clicked on your blog because I was hopping to see some theorizing on what makes similar projects successful or unsuccessful, but this was equally interesting.

    I am a backer in the final project you mention, and reasonably excited about it. Making these things more user friendly is the tipping point for me.

    David Winchester

    August 29, 2012 at 9:06 am

    • David – Thanks for the comment. You are right more analysis would be interesting. I intended to do that but the post getting bigger as I kept finding more projects. Next round an analysis of what fails, what succeeds.

      Ashu Joshi

      August 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      • I’ve been doing a lot of research on that for Kickstarter project I plan on launching next month. When I post my thoughts on the subject, I’ll be sure to let you know.

        Keep up the great articles!

        David Winchester

        August 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm


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