Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 5, 2012.

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A WiFi enabled device with interchangeable sensors and a mobile app.

Knut is a small, battery powered, Wi-Fi enabled device that enables you to monitor your valuables using your computer or mobile device.

Knut can be used to:

  • Monitor the temperature of your home, aquarium, wine collection, home brewing operation all at the same time
  • Monitor the humidity in your basement or cigar collection
  • Tell if someone has opened your liquor cabinet or refrigerator door
  • Measure how much vibration a package experiences during shipping
  • Insure you water your plants
  • Thousand more uses that we haven't imagined yet - but you will

Knut is controlled by an app installed on your computer or mobile device. This app will give you direct access to:

  • Alerts
  • Graphing
  • Data collection 

This app will be available for most computers (PC, Mac) and mobile devices (iPhone, Android).  Knut uses email technology to send and receive data. This allows Knut to have great battery life and will never require subscription fees.  To be clear, you will not be bombarded by emails.

Setup Up Is Simple

You can set up Knut using the Knut Interface app or a web page stored in Knut. There you can:

  • Give your Knut a name
  • Assign your Knut an email address
  • Set how frequently your Knut checks its sensors (Time critical sensors such as accelerometers and switches are checked whenever they change)
  • Choose acceptable ranges for every sensor connected
  • Select your notification preferences (If you would like to receive an email or text message alert if a sensor goes out of the acceptable range)

How It Works
Knut spends the majority of the time asleep.  Every so often, Knut wakes up, checks and then records the status of all connected sensors.  When the memory in Knut is full, Knut sends its recorded information to a designated email address. 


The Knut Interface app periodically checks this email address and stores this data on the computer/mobile device. 


When the you would like to see the status of a sensor, the app loads the information which is stored on your device. Because this is simply a system of sending and receiving emails, multiple Knuts and Knut Interfaces can be associated with the same email address.  


When the Knut Interface is used on a desktop computer, the Knut Interface can export a spreadsheet file (.CSV) so you can work with this data in any spreadsheet application.

What Knut Can Monitor
Knut has a high accuracy temperature sensor and a battery level sensor built in. If you want to monitor more than just temperature, you can connect an external sensor or multiple sensors using the 3-port hub. Currently we have functional humidity, vibration, door, water proof temperature, and water presence sensors.  


We plan to offer more sensors based on your suggestions. If we don't offer the sensor you need, you can always hook up your own sensor using the breakout board.

Our Plan

After 3 years of development and 5 complete redesigns, Knut is almost ready for you. Our shortcoming is our interface applications - and this is where we need your help. We have a functional and almost final iPhone application and other Android and Windows based applications are in the pipeline.

So, Kickstarters, we need your help to make our vision reality. 

With your help, we will:
  • Buy raw materials 
  • Hire programmers
  • Hire a human computer interface specialist
  • Finish Android and Windows applications
  • Take your input and build a better product
  • Get this product into your hands
  • Provide basic technical support

Currently, we possess a laser cutter and a pick and place machine. For our prototypes, we have our blank circuit boards made in Oregon and our cases made in California. We cut the necessary holes in our cases with the laser cutter and place the components on bare circuit boards with the pick and place machine. It's a fast and straightforward manufacturing process.

Because of Jay's involvement with sales of electronics, he has extensive experience managing shipment of thousands of items on a daily basis. He also has many close connections with electronic component distributors worldwide, giving us direct access to hard to find and long lead time components. 

We think we have a decent manufacturing capability. So, for orders of fewer than 300 Knuts, we will manufacture in-house, at our shop in Boston, MA.  We can build up to 30 Knuts in a day, so it would take no more than two weeks for us to manufacture the entire order. For larger orders, we will contract with a Massachusetts-based manufacturer.

Who We Are

Jay graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Operations Management and went to work in sales in the electronics industry. Jay has always been interested in building things by hand.

After studying Electrical Engineering for two years at Northeastern University, Richard left to start an aquarium construction and maintenance company. 

Richard landed a job maintaining the aquarium at Jay's office. They became friends and soon found themselves building a very large aquarium together.  This aquarium, with its multiple lighting systems, automatic water changing system, flow switches, water level detection, battery backups, and myriad other features required some kind of control system. They looked for off the shelf solutions, and when they realized that what they needed didn't exist, they built it: a fully automated multi-sensor aquarium controller.

After this controller was built, a friend inquired about a method to monitor the temperature of multiple apartments in a condominium complex. Richard realized that this aquarium controller could be easily adapted for his friend's needs as well as an endless array of other applications. The result is Knut.

Knut Spec Sheet

We want to ship a product that we can call complete.  For the technically inclined individual who really wants to know the capabilities of Knut, we have written out a spec sheet.  This spec sheet outlines what will be supported in the release of this product. Most of the specifications in this sheet are already functional so it is likely that additional sensors and features will be added to Knut by the time we ship.  These additional items may or may not be completely functional.

Dimensions: 2.6" x 1.6" x 1.1" / 66mm x 41mm x 28mm

Knut Interface App:
Knut can be setup and monitored using the "Knut Interface". The Knut interface is available on Windows, Mac OS X, iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad), Android and Windows Mobile. 

Knut Interface supports:
  • Setup of Knut
  • Setup of Alerts from Knut
  • Automatic graphing of data from sensors connected to Knut
  • Remote modification of most of Knut's features and settings
  • Exporting CSV files (Windows, Windows Mobile and Mac OS X only)
Wi-Fi:

Knut connects to the internet using commonly available Wi-Fi. 

Knut supports:
  • Speed: 802.11g
  • Security: WEP-64, WEP-128, WPA, WPA2. Does NOT currently support WPA Enterprise or WPA2 Enterprise.
  • Type: Infrastructure, AdHoc
  • Range: 100 meters. Obstructions (such as walls) will reduce range.

Sensors:
High accuracy temperature and battery level sensor are integrated into Knut. Serial and Non Serial devices cannot be mixed with the exception of waterproof temperature sensors which can be mixed with 1 non serial sensor. Some sensor devices contain more than one sensor.

Serial Sensor Devices (8 maximum):
  • Waterproof Temperature
  • Humidity (Contains 2 sensors: Humidity and Temperature)
  • 3-Axis Accelerometer (Contains 3 sensors: X axis, Y axis, and Z axis)
Non Serial Sensor Devices (2 maximum):
  • Door switch
  • Water presence
  • Breakout Board(Simulates 2 sensors. Either can be digital or analog)

Email:
Knut communicates using email and requires its own email address to do so. Multiple Knut's can and should be used on the same email address. The user should not interfere with this email address. This email address must support checking email remotely (IMAP or POP3) and sending email remotely (SMTP). SSL support is optional. Most free email accounts support these features.  

Knut can send alert emails and text messages.

Battery:
Knut operates for about a year on two AAA alkaline or lithium batteries using default settings and no external sensors. Battery life can vary from 2 weeks to 10 years based on choices that you make. 

Variables that affect battery life (in order of importance):
  • Distance from the Wi-Fi access point
  • How often Knut sends emails
  • Temperature of Knut (very cold = bad battery life)
  • Speed of your internet connection
  • Reliability of your internet connection
  • What type of sensor is connected
  • How many sensors are connected
  • How often Knut is set to check sensors

Environment:
Knut cannot get wet or be exposed to harsh chemicals. The sensor leads of the water presence sensor and the probe tip of the waterproof temperature sensor can be submersed but they cannot be used with strong acids or solvents. 

Knut's electronics can handle extremely hot and cold temperatures but standard alkaline batteries lose a significant amount of capacity when cold. We don't recommend using Knut above 55C (131F) or below 0C (32 F) for extended periods of time. If you would like to measure temperature outside of this window, we recommend using the external waterproof temperature sensor. We have successfully tested Knut in a -22C environment but the battery life was significantly reduced. 

FAQ

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Amperic

Boston, MA

  • Pledge $25 or more
    You selected

    10 backers

    For helping us get started, this pledge includes a Knut T-shirt. You will also be updated on our progress as we move ahead with the final design. Please join our team. Free shipping in US. (Add $10 for Canada, $15 for international shipping).

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  • Pledge $80 or more
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    196 backers Limited (4 left of 200)

    Help us get started! As a special reward for being our earliest backers, you get one Knut at a special price. These 200 will be etched with serial numbers from 1 to 200. If you would like additional sensors, pledge an additional $25 per sensor and send us which sensors you would like with your pledge. Free shipping in US. (Add $10 for Canada, $15 for international shipping).

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    7 backers

    One Knut. Includes the internal temperature sensor. Free shipping in US. (Add $10 for Canada, $15 for international shipping).

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    71 backers

    One Knut, and one additional sensor. Your choice of external waterproof temperature, 3-axis vibration (accelerometer), humidity, magnetic switch, water presence or breakout board. Free shipping in US. (Add $10 for Canada, $15 for international shipping).

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $175 or more
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    54 backers

    One Knut, three sensors and a 3-port hub. Your choice of external waterproof temperature, 3-axis vibration (accelerometer), humidity, magnetic switch, water presence or breakout board. Free shipping in US. (Add $10 for Canada, $15 for international shipping).

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $300 or more
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    26 backers

    Two Knuts, five sensors of your choice, and a 3-port hub. Plus a Knut T-shirt. Free shipping in US. (Add $10 for Canada, $15 for international shipping).

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  • Pledge $450 or more
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    18 backers

    Three Knuts (one of which can be a limited edition black case), eight sensors of your choice, a 3-port hub, and a Knut T-shirt. Free shipping in US. (Add $10 for Canada, $15 for international shipping).

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Funding period

- (45 days)