About this project
***Update: Ubi and SmartThings will work together to provide a complete voice-controlled home automation platform (checkout the Update tab above for videos). Check out SmartThings here. ***
New Video: Ubi & SmartThings
Ubi - Always on. Always ready to help.
Ubi is a voice-activated computer that plugs into a wall outlet. You talk to the Ubi and it talks back. It directly connects to the Internet through wifi.
"Look ma, no hands!"
We believe people want to do things when they're at home - they clean, they fold laundry, they cook, they eat, they spend time with loved ones. These are all things that (for the most part) take up use of our arms and hands. When we're at home, we'd rather use our limbs for other activities than typing, scrolling, or swiping.
Ubi is short for ubiquitous computer because it's always on, always listening, always ready to help. It can scribe, listen, analyze. Ubi will either talk back to you the information you seek or indicate information through multi-color lights.
Ubi listens to its environment and senses it through sound, temperature, light, pressure, and humidity. It can record this information or use it to trigger events and communication.
What can it do?
Ubi can be used for potentially hundreds of applications. The applications we plan to ship with the Ubi are:
- Voice-enabled Internet search
- Indicator light (light changing based on events, e.g. weather, stock, email)
- Home speaker system with sound piping
- Virtual assistant (audio calendar, feed reader, podcast etc)
- Voice memos
- Alarm clock
- Intercom system
- Baby monitor
- Noise pollution monitor
- Controlling the climate of your home perfectly (through web enabled thermostats like Nest)
A Helping Hand
We see a huge potential for Ubi to assist those who have visual, hearing, or mobility impairments. With its indicator lights and talk-to-activate functionality, Ubi is super simple to setup and use. We want the Ubi to make it easier for our parents and loved ones to stay connected with us and the world.
Your Kickstarter Contribution
We're serious about making this technology of our dreams easily available to everyone. Your Kickstarter contribution is going to allow us to get safety approval (FCC and CE) so that it can be used everywhere. It will also help driving down the cost of making the Ubi so that everyone can afford at least one. In a nutshell, your contribution will:
- Allow us to meet regulatory approval
- Get our first production run in place (tooling, machining, and chip printing - we are working with local firms who are very talented)
- Allow us to complete the initial apps we're going to deliver with the Ubi
Each Ubi reward above the $1 level comes with one Ubi unit that has wifi and a slew of other functionality. It also includes the Ubi web, iPhone and Android app and access to the Ubi portal to monitor and setup the Ubi remotely. You'll also get early access to the API.
Ubi is available in arctic white or midnight black. Please specify which is your preference when you back the project.
- $1 - Access to backer-only updates and early offers when product is launched
- $149 - Early backers - 1 Ubi (limited to first 100)
- $189 - Single Ubi
- $349 - Two Ubis
- $479 - Three-pack of Ubis
- $649 - Five-pack of Ubis
- NEW! - $1249 - The Inner Sanctum - The Ubi 10-pack and much more
How it works
Ubi plugs into a wall outlet and accesses the Internet through a wifi connection. It has a microphone and speakers and listens for commands. Saying "Ubi" wakes up the Ubi for receiving verbal commands. You can then instruct the Ubi to do your bidding. Ubi will receive plain language commands. Ubi communicates back to you through speech or by using lights.
- Air pressure
- Ambient light
This data can be stored online or used to trigger alerts to your mobile device or email.
The Ubi runs Android with a powerful processor to perform voice recognition and also has the ability to connect to other devices. You can plug in speakers, USB drives, or connect through Bluetooth directly to your iPhone or Android device. For developers, you can also communicate with potentially thousands of devices (through RF, wifi, or Bluetooth) and we're making the device open so peripherals and other applications can be used with it.
Technical Specs on the Ubi
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
- 800 MHz ARM Cortex-A8 Processor
- 1 GB RAM
- 802.11 b/n/g Wifi Enabled (WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryption)
- Hi fidelity speakers and omni-directional microphone
- USB 2.0 with 5 V power supply
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Temperature, humidity, and air pressure sensors
- Ambient light sensor
- RF Transceiver Module
- Plugs into a standard NA 110 V, 15A power outlet (world versions to be forth-coming) UPDATE: NA two-prong plug, but 100-240 VAC, 50-60 Hz support! UPDATE #2: worldwide plug support available!
- Dimensions (approximate): 4.0" x 4.0" x 1.1"
Where We're At
We've been working for over ten months on the concept, design, and prototyping of the Ubi and we're now at a point where we're ready to bring it to the Kickstarter community. We've also built an early working prototype and have been refining the design to make it more compact and easier to use. We've been in contact with manufacturers and suppliers and have spec'ed out the costs for bringing the Ubi to market. Ubi is currently slated to work in English with North American voltages. We hope to expand this to other regions and languages.
We're working with local and overseas suppliers for sourcing the Ubi's electronics and plan on completing the machining, assembly, testing and certification of the Ubi in the Toronto area. We've also worked with certification authorities for pricing of safety and communication testing of the Ubi and inspection will be completed at the final point of assembly.
Our team is experienced in working on dozens of projects for engineering research institutions. All of our team members have engineering backgrounds and have delivered on real engineering projects in the past.
Sample Data from the Ubi
Below is an example of some of the data that will be available from the Ubi as it monitors different aspects of its surrounding environment. The Ubi can constantly monitor your home to provide triggers or feedback.
Special Thanks and More
Thanks to all of our backers for helping us get this exciting project off the ground! We'd also like to thank the other Kickstarter projects that have inspired us like Twine, tōd and Pebble.
A HUGE thanks goes to our extremely talented friend, Joe Sarafian, of RapidParts.ca for his help in creating our Ubi prototype.
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