For years, I have been predicting the advent of what Dave Kaufmann (formerly of Honeywell Process Solutions) called lick-and-stick sensors. I said back in 2005 and 2006 that it would be less than 10 years before "motes" as they were called by their inventor, Dr. Kris Pister, of UC Berkeley and Dust Networks fame, would be commonplace.
So I am gratified to know that I was right.
Indiegogo is a so-called "crowd-funding" site. People post projects they want to do, with a cash target, and people donate to the project in return for perks. If the project meets its goal, the project gets funded, and if not, then not.
Currently there are several projects on Indiegogo that involve lick-n-stick sensors. There's one called ButtonTrackR that allows you to track anything the sensor is attached to via your smartphone. ButtonTrackR has raised over $144,000, or 964% of what they asked for. There's another that claims its Scanadu Scout to be the first "tricorder." Think Star Trek for that one. The Scanadu Scout has raised over $500,000. And there's Wimoto Technologies's Indiegogo campaign.
Wimoto is over their target, so they'll get funding, but what is different is that they only asked for a small amount of money, and have gotten it. Scanadu is a venture-funded company with lots of other money, it appears. Wimoto is the brainchild of one person with a really cool idea.
Wimoto motes are literally stick-on sensors for things like climate (temperature, humidity, etc., light level). Note the Thermote's description...
Here's the press release they sent out last week:
Wimoto Motes are tiny (about the size of a stack of five quarters) weatherproof sensors that can be stuck unobtrusively just about anywhere. They operate for up to a year on a single battery and wirelessly send information back to an app for iPhone and iPad, with support for Samsung Android devices arriving later this summer. There is also a toolkit allowing owners of computers with Bluetooth 4.0 support to write their own software for them.
Marc Nicholas, Wimoto and Chief Technology Officer and creator of Motes, said "I originally got the idea due to my interest in gardening. But when my son was born, I wanted to monitor the temperature and humidity in his bedroom overnight for health reasons, and I was surprised to find no low-cost, simple iPhone solution existed." Nicholas demonstrated a prototype of the gardening sensor at Toronto's Mini Maker Faire in 2011, and left his job in financial services earlier this year to concentrate on the venture full-time.
The Climote is the first in the Motes family, and provides precision ambient temperature, humidity and light level sensor data. Typical uses could include monitoring your wine cellar, humidor, baby's bedroom, the inside of your refrigerator, or even weather conditions outside.
For those wanting to enter the world of "smart gardening", the Growmote sends alerts directly to your iPhone or iPad informing a user when to water, thus conserving water and protecting your plants vitality. Equally at home on a lawn, in a vegetable garden, or indoors with potted plants, the device can also provide information on if a plant is receiving enough light or if there is a risk of frost.
Finally, the Thermote features an innovative sensor that allows it to measure the temperature of an object from a distance. This makes it ideal for monitoring water temperature in a hot tub, swimming pool, or aquarium, without having to be submerged, or as a non-contact thermometer for food or medical use when stuck to an iPhone or iPad with the supplied adhesive backing.
All Motes store sensor data in their onboard memory for up to a week when the mobile device is absent, and can be configured to send alerts when thresholds are crossed. A cloud-based upload service will be launched in the Fall that will allow owners to access their data from any web browser and analyze it.
Wimoto Motes will retail for USD$49 each but can be pre-ordered for a limited time through the Indiegogo campaign for $39 via this link.