Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Koto trio of sensor cubes monitor your home’s environent

One of the keys to a healthier lifestyle is as basic as the air we breathe, but that can easily be forgotten because of hard it can be to know exactly what to do to make it better even in our own homes.

To help, the Koto family of smart sensors has been designed to make sure you have all the information needed to make the proper health decisions. The system actually consists of three products. The Koto Blink is a tiny box filled with sensors measuring temperature, humidity, light, and noise, all in an effort to make your living space more comfortable.

The Koto Air is an upgraded Blink, combining its sensors with an air pollution and dust sensor to create a fuller picture of the home and a more robust set of data with which to make the subtle adjustments to the home necessary to stave off mold in older homes, for example.

Connected Objects Health and Wellness

WAY shows the way to connected skin care

Proper skin care is essential in avoiding things like premature aging and skin cancer. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to take care of their skin. Besides the fact that each person’s skin is unique, the environment they’re in also plays a huge role, and those complicated nuances can be confusing for most to understand.

The WAY personal skin care system consists of a lightweight, Bluetooth-enabled device that works with a companion iOS/Android app to keep users informed of best skin care practices. The WAY device focuses on two things. Its UV and humidity sensors keep tabs on the environment while a BIA, or bio-electrical impedance analysis, sensor analyzes the moisture content and oil balance in skin.


Plant OS garden sensor and app gives your green thumb something else to do

Even if the exact scientific knowledge behind the processes behind gardening were unknown for thousands of years, deep human intuition would’ve figured it out anyway. As our understanding of the natural world continues to evolve, it’s been made clear how much the process is not only an art, but a science as well.

There’s a very intricate dance that plays out between light, temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide that contributes to a plant’s growth. High Tech’s Plant OS uses a family of sensors and controllers to keep an eye on all of these factors. Every minute, the THC unit records levels of each variable and sends that information back to a user’s smartphone. This works together with the Plant Tachometer camera to provide a high-resolution photosynthesis reading to use as reference for the environment.

What good is all this information if a user can’t act on it? The Plant OS Power Controller allows just that, providing a space where appliances like air conditioners, CO2 machines, and dehumidifiers can all be plugged in and controlled remotely using the companion app. The app gives users a space to check out and share all their data, something High Tech encourages as a way to gain more understanding of the intricacies of plant growth. An $899 Plant OS Starter Kit is suitable for a small garden, comes with a THC meter, a Plant Tachometer, and a Power Controller. The Deluxe version supports two and goes for $1,999. Backers can expect their kit in March 2015 should the campaign reach its $50,000 goal.

Technology has creeped into every part of our lives, and gardening is one of the few areas where this isn’t true. Others in the gardening space, like the Blossom Wi-Fi, Sprinkl, and Eve provide ways to remotely water a few plants or even a small yard, but no other product is as fully featured, covers as much space, or is as exhaustingly detailed as the Plant OS. High Tech wants the Plant OS to be the premier consumer-grade gardening system and it shows.

Smart Home

Ambi is another connected add-on that tells air conditioners to cool it

For air conditioner lovers, the scene is all too familiar. The house is the perfect temperature when it’s time to go to sleep, and then in the middle of the night, it feels like a new ice age has arrived. Ambi Climate is a smart brain for any model of air conditioner with an infra-red remote that senses outdoor and indoor conditions to adjust the air conditioner to the perfect temperature. Monitoring humidity, time of day, weather, motion, and indoor temperature, Ambi Climate adjusts the air conditioning to the perfect setting before anyone can even consider adjusting it.

Like any good smart air conditioner, Ambi Climate can also be adjusted manually using its app, even while outside of the home. Ambi Climate also pays attention to the situations in which manual controls are used to learn more about the user and better predict the temperatures he or she wants their home to have. By adjusting automatically, Ambi Climate not only find the perfect A/C setting, but also saves on energy bills. Ambi Labs has set its goal at $25,000. Buyers will feel the perfect indoor climate for $99 in time for the 2015 summer.


CliMate are tiny environmental sensors for anywhere monitoring

The Premise. The environment is something that should always be appreciated and enjoyed, but sometimes conditions are too dangerous. Whether it’s ultraviolet rays damaging skin or indoor humidity posing a risk to valuable collectibles, a reliable way of knowing the conditions at any time and location is a powerful tool to have.

The Product. CliMate is a tiny environmental sensor that can be set anywhere or clipped to clothing or belongings that provides constant monitoring of humidity, temperature, and ultraviolet index. From there, CliMate sends this data to any iOS or Android device and provide reminders based on certain thresholds to avoid severe weather or even reapply sunscreen based on skin tone data and SPF rating. CliMate also has a button on its face that can serve as a remote for a phone’s camera or a locator that will cause the phone to sound an alarm. CliMate users can provide their data through the app to WeatherBook, which will show other the readings from other CliMates nearby to get a feel for local weather patterns.

The Pitch. Rooti, the company behind CliMate, passionately describes how its device provides more necessary information than other environment trackers on the market. Their video shows the device in action in a variety of settings, from the indoor display case to the camping tent in the wild. That kind of flexibility is exactly what CliMate offers to become the go-to environment tracker on the market. Rooti is looking for $50,000 for mass production.

The Perks. CliMate is available for $39, complete with color choice, stand, and lanyard. Higher reward tiers include Kickstarter-exclusive color schemes and multiple CliMate devices. The product expects to launch in September.

The Potential. Looking at CliMate itself, it’s not obvious what it does. Watching the campaign video, it becomes clearer before getting somewhat confusing again. Rooti will want to narrow down its communication a bit and make sure people know exactly what CliMate is capable of. The feature set is fairly limited but certainly seems good at what it does, but some of the other abilities seem tacked on. It’s always nice to have a phone-finding device but it seems out of place here, and the crowdsourced weather map seems unhelpful when there’s a device designed to give the precise data of a current location. CliMate will likely need to function above its promises in order to prove successful.

Sensors/IoT Travel

StormTag is a hyperlocal weather forecaster that broadcasts right to your smartphone

stormtagWeather is unpredictable, which can be a very bad thing when it comes to severe storms. While there are plenty of local meteorologists doing their best to interpret the patterns weather clings to, StormTag is a small, keyring device that functions on Bluetooth LE. StormTag can detect temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, and more, then send that data to a phone in real-time or upload it anonymously to the cloud to create a larger picture of data that can be used for scientific or hobbyist purposes. Whether it’s for a surfer who wants to catch a big wave, or just to keep safe in the face of unpredictable but dangerous weather, anyone interested in StormTag can get one for $20 in November 2014.

Smart Home

Kumostat controls temperature, saves money and energy

The Premise. Traditional thermostat controls are incapable of adjusting to the constant fluctuations in temperature throughout the house. There have been a few temperature sensors that make the heating and air conditioning more responsive to the environment, but most of them are incapable of gaging the different temperatures throughout the house.

The Product. The Kumostat is joining the market of Internet-connected thermostats, but expanding the range of possibilities. By connecting with cloud-connected “Kumo Sensors” and existing Wireless Sensor Tags, the Kumostat gives a more accurate and precise reading of the environment in all the different parts of the house. You can customize the setting of the heat and air conditioning to reduce your energy bill while also guaranteeing a comfo-rtable temperature whenever you’re in the house. For example, the Kumo Sensors can automatically turn off the air conditioning when three or more windows are open. All of this can be done through the seamless interface of the iOS or Android smartphone app.

The Pitch. The video starts off in a Kumostat utopia (Kumopia?) where all the walls an windows are equipped with Kumo sensors. It explains how the sensors sense motion, and automatically adjust the temperature to benefit the room with the most activity for optimum efficiency. It switches to graphics of the smartphone controls that allow for the customization of your environment; the seems like a simple app for anyone to use, yet complex in the ways it can be personalized. Lastly, the Kumostat video makes a pitch to businesses by highlighting the fact that the Kumostat can work in large buildings—and reap large energy saving benefits.

The Perks. There are many different combinations of sensors that best fit your needs. If you already own Wireless Sensor Tags, the Kumostat itself only costs $36 and is compatible with Ethernet Tag Manager revision 5 or higher. If you don’t know what any of that means, it probably means you’re building your connected thermostat from scratch. The best option for you then is the $136 pledge category that includes a Kumostat, a Reed Kumo Sensor (door/window, temperature, humidity), a PIR Kumo Sensor (infra-red occupancy, temperature, and humidity), and one Wireless Sensor Tag Hub. That should be more than enough to get you started, and you can expand your collection of sensors if you enjoy the benefits of the connected thermostat.

The Potential. The Nest brought connected thermostats into the mainstream of the public eye, and now others are looking to join the market. These thermostats are going to start appearing in more and more homes as more people realize how much money and energy they save. Kumostat adds an interesting twist by factoring in the possibility of there being different temperatures in the house. It doesn’t have the same aesthetic appeal as the Nest, but there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be able to succeed in the market of people with larger homes and a desire for more control over their home environment.

Connected Objects Music Sensors/IoT

Acoustic Stream protects your guitar, helps it dash off a ditty to your smartphone

The Premise. From the first moment of finding a song that they can identify with, everybody wants to be a rock star. Whether it’s a beat-up pawn shop acoustic or a glittery studio electric, nobody forgets their first guitar. But aside from the thousands of hours of practice, one has to learn how to maintain their guitar and also get the necessary equipment to perform with it.

The Product.  The Acoustic Stream is a 4-in-1 solution to the basic needs of a guitar that syncs up effortlessly to a phone or wireless device to serve as a recorder, amplifier bridge, and instrument tuner. Additionally, it will send daily updates to the user’s phone about humidity levels, helping ensure proper maintenance and infrequent need for repairs. The device connects to the guitar’s output jack or can be placed inside or near the guitar or other instrument, and by simply tapping on the instrument its features can be activated. At this time, only iOS support is available.

The Pitch. A broken guitar was all it took to inspire Bob Bean to start dreaming up the eventual Acoustic Stream. With endorsements by up-and-coming musical acts, the promotional videos highlight the ease of use and effortless control that the device can provide musicians. With a $50,000 goal, of which over three quarters is going toward components and tooling, Bean and his team hope to make this tiny tool a staple for performers.

The Perks. Early supporters of the campaign can get an Acoustic Stream for $97, less than half the retail price, and with the inclusion of 5 guitar picks and a download for the music used in the promotional video. A second Acoustic Stream is available at the $294 tier, and at the high-end $3000 tier backers can join the beta-testing/development team and help shape the final product. All products are expected to ship in August 2014.

The Potential. If the Acoustic Stream did just one of the things that it’s capable of, whether tuning or connecting to an amp, it would be a worthwhile purchase for any musician that’s more likely to be without their wallet than their guitar. Tapping the guitar as a method of control seems a little suspect as some performers tap their guitar as part of their compositions, not to mention the potential for errant inputs. The Acoustic Stream could become as necessary a purchase as a quality amp, and the young musicians of the world will want to get their hands on it as soon as possible.