A Smartphone’s Sensing Companion

Ever run into a product and just say “I wish I was smart enough to think of that”? Yep, found one. Aside from lacking any knowledge about the topics, experience with NASA and a doctorate in who knows what, perhaps you or I could have come up with this innovation. But George Yu and Variable Technologies beat us to it. As our smartphones continue to control and guide more parts of our lives it makes sense to incorporate necessary job functions and even life-saving functions into the phone’s capability.

Meet NODE, a device that enables its attached, state-of-the-art sensors to communicate with your phone. Via conditional Bluetooth or Bluetooth 4.0 Low-Energy, information from the variety of sensors available is sent to a NODE app or – down the road perhaps other likeminded apps – on your device. Six different options exist for what you can measure with NODE and its modules:

  • Kore ($149): required for any module, it serves as the heart of NODE. KORE contains a accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope to measure motion and space.
  • Chroma ($75): color matching and sample collecting module.
  • Therma ($75): measure temperatures at a distance or where you are via IR.
  • Clima ($50): Senses barometric pressure, ambient light, temperature, and humidity.
  • Luma ($25): Use up to 8 LEDs provide a flashlight or even a camera flash.
  • Oxa ($149): Provides an industrial grade Carbon Monoxide gas sensor. Other gases can be requested.

The professional and personal uses of NODE and the modules are really endless. Quality control on a production line can be aided by confirming the proper paint color of your product. Maybe you conduct house inspections. You could easily measure temperatures and humidity to detect faults. If you are a hiker or biker stop to read the climate and understand if adverse conditions are coming. Check CO2 levels even in your own home – while switching modules to make your picture hanging a level process. There are plenty of professions that require a variety of these measurements too. With NODE plus the applicable modules you save yourself multiple devices. I think you get where I’m going with NODE.  Presently, NODE is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPod Touch 5th Gen, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Mini, Macbooks and Android devices. Yu made it a point to leave the possibilities out there with open firmware & open API. And they will provide Arduino source code as well as iOS & Android source code so programmers can then create the applicable app for the measurements of their users. NODE is rechargeable via micro USB and is FCC and CE certified. Sure, it may be more expensive if you only have a need for one particular sensor. But I think most of us could easily find uses for NODE in a variety of places in our lives.

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