As microcontrollers become more powerful and less expensive, everything and everyone is using "smart chips" in their designs. By 2020, there will be 20 - 30 billion or more "Internet of Things" and embedded devices in existence.
A good number of large-scale manufactured products are already controlled with smartphone apps. However, it can take months of work and a lot of $$$ to make that happen. Not all product designers or hobbyists / makers have been able to afford this - until now!
What is Smart.IO?
A 3-part toolkit which allows you to add an app front end to any embedded project:
A Small Chip Module compatible with any microcontroller.
A Software API for creating Graphical User Interface (GUI) objects.
A Programmable Smartphone App that requires only a Bluetooth connection to use.
You do NOT need to write any wireless code, or write an app. Just add the Smart.IO chip to your existing microcontroller-based design, then use the API to create GUI objects in your firmware; Smart.IO (patent pending) does the rest!
Smart.IO is awesome, because you can:
Get Your Products First-to-Market:
If your competition hasn’t already add smartphone control to their products, it’s only a matter of time. Get there first with Smart.IO! Add the Smart.IO hardware and have a demo working within a day; it’s that simple.
Do More With Less: The cost of Smart.IO is minimal - about the typical cost of a few hardware switches and a character LCD module. But with Smart.IO's programmable app interface you have much greater flexibility and can implement vastly more features.
Built-in Security: Secret key encryption is used to ensure secure pairing of the device and customized app. As Smart.IO does not use the Internet, there is no risk of your device being used for DDOS or other types of attacks through the use of Smart.IO.
Give Your Products a Modern Look: A Smart.IO-based app provides a much better user experience with the smartphone's high resolution touch screen:
- The GUI elements include all the useful controls for interacting with real-world products: push buttons, on / off buttons, sliders, gauges, and any other input and output objects.
- Objects can be made visible or invisible as needed, allowing interactive interfaces.
- An app can store multiple pages of controls and text information.
By eliminating some of the physical controls, products can have a more streamlined modern design. You could put all the controls on the Smart.IO app, or keep basic controls on the device while using the app for advanced features. How you use Smart.IO is up to you.
Faster Prototyping: Use Smart.IO for rapid prototyping while perfecting your products. Changing the user interface requires NO physical changes to your design. All it takes is a few lines of code.
Run Without Internet Access: Smart.IO uses Bluetooth, and can operate without data or WiFi access. Even a smartphone without a data plan can be used.
Smart.IO Opens Up a World of Design Options: With a programmable user interface, you can do pretty much anything you can imagine. Create a smart light dimmer with an app that gives the user preset lighting options with labels like “reading”, or "theater" or “ambient”. Other features could include programmable on / off scheduling. Via your user's smartphone, your device can do anything you want.
Use Your Preferred Microcontrollers: The Smart.IO chip module is a standalone module which interfaces with your existing microcontroller system.
Smart.IO is Affordable: A Smart.IO chip module costs only $16 for a single unit; less at volume purchases.
The Smart.IO smartphone app is free with limited functionality, and $3.99 unlocks its full capabilities.
The Smart.IO Chip Module
It's Wireless!!: The Smart.IO chip module uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), so it is compatible with all smartphones and tablets. The Smart.IO app can operate your embedded device from up to 10 meters away.
IMPORTANT: the use of BLE is completely transparent to your embedded programs. All BLE communication details are handled by the Smart.IO toolkit. This alone saves you months of development time.
It's Easy to Add to Hardware Designs: The Smart.IO chip module is only 25mmx14mm. It has a 2x5 10-pin header which is easy to solder onto your PCB, or use in a prototype system. It interfaces with your host microcontroller using industry-standard SPI pins, plus extra pins for interrupts for data notification.
Smart.IO is Arduino-Compatible: ImageCraft will provide Arduino drivers for the Smart.IO API. NOTE: The "Arduino Smart.IO Shield" in the "rewards" section is an Arduino-compatible shield that comes with a Smart.IO chip module, so that Arduino users can start using it immediately.
It's also Low Power: The Smart.IO chip module draws very little power, typically about 100mA, and much less during standby mode.
The Smart.IO API
Easy to Use: Use the API functions to create GUI objects and modify their values. A simple callback mechanism notifies your firmware of input changes. Utility functions include security pairing, persistent state storage (e.g. for user interface settings), etc.
Minimal Use of Host's Resources: The Smart.IO chip runs the API code in its own firmware. The host MCU only runs the API interface layer code. The interface layer source code is written in Standard C, and compiles to approximately 4K of code.
"One App to Rule Them All" - The Programmable Smart.IO App
Clean, Elegant Design: The GUI elements incorporate solid, current user interface principles. We will provide design suggestions and templates as part of our documentation, so your app can look its best, and how YOU want it to look. (Design services are also available for a fee.)
Scalable: Your UI will look and work exactly the same way across all iOS devices, from the iPhone 5 to iPhone 7+, and all iPad devices, including the iPad Pro. An Android friendly UI is planned for Spring (to be accelerated if we reach our Stretch Goals.)
Branding and Customization: Want to move your cool new product into production? We provide a customized version of the app specific to your product and branding for an inexpensive one-time licensing fee, including:
- Customized app logo and name
- Security key to ensure your product will only work with your app
Work Completed so Far:
How Your Funding Will be Used:
The funds raised will be used for:
- Hardware manufacturing
- Completing the iOS App development and App Store process
- Completing the API development
- Completing the Smart.IO firmware development
...Why Back This Project?
The rewards include discounts over the post-KickStarter pricing. Moreover, not only will your funding help us to manufacture the chips and finish development, your input will help design the product to meet your needs! We will survey our backers regarding API and app design. Plus: backers will be eligible to enter our DESIGN CONTEST!! (see below).
Estimated Delivery Date:
60-75 days after the end of this Kickstarter.
Post-Kickstarter Product Pricing:
- A single Smart.IO chip will retail for $16
- The full Smart.IO app will be unlocked for $3.99
- A customized app with your branding and security key will be a one time license fee of $199 (estimate).
- Additional services available, such as getting your branded app onto the App Store.
- FCC certification (see FAQ), when available, will be a one time license fee depending on the volume of the projected first year sales of Smart.IO-enabled products. If the projected sales is 1000 or fewer units, the cost will be $199 (estimate). For customers with higher projected sales volume, the price will be $499 (estimate).
If you are a backer (thank you!!) or just have an interest in Smart.IO or in ImageCraft's other products, such as wifi2go for easy-to-use WiFi connectivity for embedded systems, please join our community at https://forum.imagecraft.com
Design Contest for KickStarter Backers!!
We will be working with an industrial partner to create a contest for the best Smart.IO designs. We will release more information in the KickStarter campaign updates, and also on our community website: https://forum.imagecraft.com
Only KickStarter backers will be eligible for this contest, so select a reward level now!