Developers to get chocolate-like box of app tools
January 21, 2014 by Nancy Owano
(Phys.org) —Diapers, monitors, thermostats, fridges, lights—whatever you want to imagine in the realm of everyday objects around your house may one day be a core part of the Internet of Things, smartened with embedded technology and gathering and imparting information. Application developers can expect wide-ranging opportunities to make a difference in the future gadget onslaught of the Internet of Things. A Europe-based startup called relayr intends to make developers' work all the easier with a product called the WunderBar, defined as a starter kit for the Internet of Things. "We provide the tools that you need to create great apps and services connected to the Internet of Things," according to the company. WunderBar is a set of wireless, detachable sensors and smart modules which can be monitored and controlled from your smartphone via the Internet. The kit has Bluetooth and WiFi and includes SDKs for Android, iOS, and Node.js.
Presently relayr is seeking funds, to get the product moving, by going up on Dragon Innovation, the crowdfunding platform that is focused on hardware.
"It is easy as chocolate," said the relayr video. "Just break off a piece and place it on anything you want and start programming." Chocolate is more than just a casual comparison; the design of the WunderBar looks like a bar of chocolate with break-off pieces. The WunderBar has a main module and six other pieces. Some provide sensors to monitor temperature, proximity, light, color, humidity, and movement. Another can control a home-entertainment system with an infra-red transmitter.
The main module is fitted with an ARM Cortex 'M' microprocessor; it uses Bluetooth Low energy to communicate with the sensor modules. All the activity that happens around the WunderBar is sent to the relayr platform, where the developer can access and work with the signals.
Relayr is on a mission: remove the hardware hurdles and give app developers an easy toolset to build applications for the Internet of Things. Toward that goal, the creators are also providing libraries, tutorials and demos to help developers start building apps that make use of the data generated by the sensor hardware. The idea is for app developers to snap off a section of the WunderBar to use sensors in locations where they want to collect data. On the crowdfunding site, the company notes, for example, that with a "Hello Thermometer" tutorial, "you can have your first Internet of Things App up and running in less than ten minutes."
After releasing the first prototypes of the WunderBar, the relayr team said they will upload their Eagle files—schematics and layouts—on GitHub. They said their APIs will always be open and they also said that, where possible, they will open-source their hardware too.
They are turning to crowdsourcing to help them bring their working prototype into production. The price starts at $149 and the target shipping date is summer 2014. At the time of this writing they raised $16,512 of a $91,000 goal with 26 days left.
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