November 6, 2015 weblog
Microbot Push allows for remotely pushing buttons or flipping switches
Naran, a Korean startup has created some buzz with the development of a device called the Microbot Push—it allows for turning legacy devices on or off remotely without having to reconfigure them. Naran has announced that it plans to launch an Indiegogo project on November 9th to help bring the device to market.
The idea is relatively straightforward, to use a Push, a user would first install a Prota box, which "talks" to the Push device using Bluetooth thus allowing access to it via the Internet. Then, a Push device is put where it is wanted or needed—like on the wall (it has doubled sided tape) over a light switch. A user could then turn the light switch on using their smartphone via the Internet. The Push does its job by poking out a small arm connected to a disc—the disc is pushed forward, like a fingertip, towards the switch with enough force to move it to the opposite state.
Of course this means that once the switch is flipped, it will stay there unless another Push is applied to the same switch on the opposite side, to turn it back off again. Being able to remotely push buttons might come in handy for turning on a garage light before venturing out, for example or to turn on your computer in the other room as you are waking up—applications for the elderly and the disabled also come to mind, it would allow for turning on and off multiple devices in the home without having to get out of bed.
Naran has also added a programming capability for its Push devices, similar to IFTTT—environmental conditions can be monitored and used to automatically trigger a Push. With an app on a smartphone, for example, sensing when you arrive at your house, a switch could be thrown to automatically turn on a porch light, or switches could be flipped at prearranged times, such as turning on the coffee pot every morning at 6am.
While the Push is clearly meant to service legacy devices, as they are, it also appears that some may wish to modify their devices anyway—recessed power buttons on laptops, are just one example—some sort of attachment would have to be put in place to allow the disc to push it.
Naran has not yet announced how much a single device or hub will cost, but that should become apparent once the Indiegogo project has been created.
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