Crowdfunded SmartHome Projects

Many of today’s more popular SmartHome products and platforms even (SmartThings) got their start on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.

I recently spent some time on those sites browsing for SmartHome projects on them that might be of interest to readers of Life on Silicon, and this article highlights a handful of the more interesting projects on those sites today.

This is the first of what will be an ongoing series highlighting crowdfunded projects for SmartHome products, so if you are aware of any crowdfunding projects on Kickstarter, IndieGoGo or similar platforms that I haven’t listed here (or if you have a project yourself you’d like to see listed), feel free to use the form on the blog’s Contact page to reach out to me and let me know about it. I’m going to try to do an update with new crowdfunded SmartHome projects every couple of months or so, and will try to include any recommendations in future editions.

Fishbit Aquarium Monitor: Controller, Monitor and App
Fishbit Aquarium Monitor: Controller, Monitor and App

Fishbit Aquarium Monitor

The Fishbit is a monitor and controller for high-end aquarium setups. The full version (with monitor and controller, you can get just the monitor device or just the controller device) will provide aquarium environment monitoring via an app, and the controller is an app controlled power distribution unit for your aquarium devices, like lights and heaters.

Youmo Power Strip: Base Cords and Modules
Youmo Power Strip: Base Cords and Modules

YouMo Modular Power Strip

This is an interesting take on the standard power strip. There is a base cord and a number of interchangeable modules that can be attached to the base cord, including devices like US (Type B) and EU (Type F) power outlets and USB outlets (more country formats, include Type G and Type I for UK, China, Australia and other countries, are planned as a stretch goal). Additional modules can be daisy chained together on one base cord, so you aren’t limited to the capabilities of a single module.

The developers plan on eventually releasing modules that include a surge protection module (not all power strips are surge protectors, including this one: the base and power modules currently available don’t include surge protection), a wireless speaker, sensor and security modules, a WiFi repeater and more. The modular design also allows for future expansion and means that the scope of what this device is capable of isn’t limited to currently available modules.

The “smart” module is required if you want to be able to control other modules via the app, which supports scheduling and warning messages if outlets are left on when they shouldn’t be.

It is particularly interesting for frequent travelers, as the modular design also allows it to be easily broken down into components that will fit in your luggage. You can also mix and match EU and US base cords and modules, so you can use an EU base cord to power the US outlet module or vice versa.

Kasia Smart Home device interconnection
Kasia Smart Home device interconnection

Kasia Smart Home

Kasia is a full SmartHome ecosystem, including a hub and smart phone app for managing the setup. The Kickstarter page compares it to systems like Belkin’s WeMo, Samsung’s SmartThings and Wink. Hardware available in the initial system will include a wall switch, a plug-in switch, a remote control, a presence sensor, an open/close sensor and the hub. The app based control will include device status monitoring, presence detection, scheduling scenes, alerts and reminders, and energy consumption monitoring.

Sense camera and hub
Sense camera and hub

Sense Camera and Hub (with Silk Platform)

The most interesting thing about the Sense camera isn’t the camera device and features (which are on par with many competitive devices), but the Silk platform that the Sense will be the hub for. Silk is intended to be a SmartHome platform that developers can connect their devices to easily with an API built on Node.js.

Because the Sense device uses local control (and not the cloud), Silk apps will also run locally on the Sense device and allow developers to extend the Sense’s own functionality and connect it to other SmartHome devices. Silk and Sense promise to “choreograph your connected devices to respond to you appropriately.”

Devices that are mentioned as having integrations with Sense and the Silk platform at launch include Sonos, Philips Hue, LIFX and Nest thermostats.

The Lumiere essential oil diffuser
The Lumiere essential oil diffuser

Lumiere Essential Oil Diffuser

An aesthetically appealing essential oil diffuser managed via a smart phone app. The Lumiere uses a cold diffusion method to disperse the essential oils, which keeps them intact for efficient aromatherapy and doesn’t use water like atomizers do. The companion app is aware of which scents are currently available in the diffuser and can provide recommendations for oils based on your household members (whether they include pets, infants, etc.) and fine tune the diffusion intensity to the size of the room it is being used it.

The Catspad food and water dispenser in action
The Catspad food and water dispenser in action

Catspad Food and Water Dispenser

There are a lot of smart pet feeders hitting the market these days, so it may be difficult for this one to gain traction (and funding). However, most of the products on the market are designed more for dogs than cats, so a smart feeder designed specifically for cats might have some appeal to cat owners. The water dispenser is a fountain that circulates and filters the water so it is more appealing to cats.

The feeder will support smart phone control of feeding, scheduling feeding and automated feeding whenever the bowl is empty. It will also track your cat’s food consumption. If you have multiple cats and they are chipped the device will even be able to track food consumption for each cat individually.

The Gun Box Echo is sleek and stylish so it won't stand out (too much) in your home
The Gun Box Echo is sleek and stylish so it won’t stand out (too much) in your home

Gun Box Echo

The Echo is a smart gun box for a handgun, with biometric (fingerprint), RFID (including rings that are available) and Bluetooth unlocking methods. The box has an alarm that will sound if it is moved and a companion smart phone app. The app will show you the last 100 openings and allows you to provide guest access for a limited time. The safe meets TSA standards for air travel (in checked luggage, of course).

The Cujo smart security monitor will secure your SmartHome devices and other technology from attackers and malware
The Cujo smart security monitor will secure your SmartHome devices and other technology from attackers and malware

Cujo Smart Home Security

This is an interesting device that resides on your home network and inspects incoming and outgoing packets for any suspicious behavior. The intent is to protect your SmartHome devices (which generally lack any sort of security measures) and your devices (laptops, tablets and phones) from attacks and malware.

Cujo collects data from all homes that are using the device, which is processed in the cloud and leveraged to identify threats and attacks that could occur on your network. This allows the device to be updated constantly to protect your network and devices. Because this is an ongoing service, there will be an annual or monthly subscription cost for using the device. There is also a mobile app for monitoring your device and network status remotely.


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