With the push of a button, a new device allows you to silence that single question and peace of mind on your vacation (or perhaps just another workday): Did I turn off the straightening iron/light/air conditioner/coffee pot? For those who prefer not return home solely to confirm this, South Korean startup Naran has just launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for Microbot Push, a wireless robotic finger that can push most ordinary buttons like a human finger does.
If you’re less nervous about forgetting to push one important button before leaving home, Push is also a great way to turn on a device before you arrive. Think of freshly brewed coffee before you wake up, without having to upgrade to a smart coffee maker; starting a robot vacuum cleaner without being in the room; or turning on the lights before you get home, without having to set a timer or schedule it. But the device’s true usefulness lies in its underlying platform, as TechCrunch noted:
The Microbot Push device connects with a centralized node that the company calls a Prota Box that devices can connect to over Bluetooth or WiFi. Along with the buttons and the centralized hub comes an automation system similar to IFTTT, which lets users create what Naran calls “stories” using sensor data to trigger buttons and therefore actions. A simple use case for this, for example, would be a button that turns on a coffee pot when a certain level of sunlight is detected by a sensor mounted the window.
In other words, you can merge features from your existing smart devices into a single automation story together with Push, notes the company which was founded by Taehyun Park. Examples include pressing “Play” on the Pebble app, and having Push turn on the light switch, or having WeMo power on an audio player, and Push hit the “Play” button. Or, the device also has a capacitive touch button, so you can manually push it yourself if it’s within reach.
It will be interesting to see if/how Push makes it in the market. With the increase of devices that are part of the Internet of Things, how might it change the needs of Push’s current audience? That said, for people who aren’t interested in replacing their current appliance for “smarter” ones, Push seems like a great hack.
As of this writing, Push has raised $15,779 of its $50,000 flexible funding goal from 77 backers, with 31 days left. The shipping date is planned for April 2016. A featured perk for contributing is the starter kit super early bird special: 3 Microbots + 1 Prota Box for $199 plus shipping. The Proto Boxes come in ink black or platinum white, while the microbots come in cool gray or platinum white.
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