Mynder - Intelligent IoT Worldwide Mail Monitoring
Mynder - Intelligent IoT Worldwide Mail Monitoring
Know exactly when your mail has been delivered. Make your mailbox smart and avoid wasted trips.
Know exactly when your mail has been delivered. Make your mailbox smart and avoid wasted trips. Read more
Mynder is a small IoT (Internet of Things) device that attaches easily inside your mailbox. It detects when mail has been delivered and sends you a text, email or a phone call so you know the moment your mail has arrived.
Mynder eliminates unnecessary trips and the inconvenience if you have to go out of your way to get your mail. It can notify several people at once so everyone in your household knows there is something to pick up. If your mail is picked up it lets you know saving you a wasted journey. And if you go on vacation you will know when mail is delivered, wherever in the world you may be.
Mail is not just bills, bills and more bills. Exciting things do come in the post! Purchased something on eBay? Found a bargain on AliExpress? Waiting for that latest Kickstarter project you backed to arrive? Important document being delivered? Can't wait for them to arrive? Mynder will tell you when they are ready to be picked up.
Mynder works wherever there is cell phone coverage which in Canada is more than 99% of the population. The supplied M2M SIM card has enough credits to last for a year of normal usage (assuming one postal delivery per day). There are no monthly or yearly contracts. At the end of the year you can top up the SIM with credits for the next year (pay as you go) or use your own SIM if you prefer. Mynder is not locked to any cell phone carrier.
Mynder is designed to last around a year of constant operation from the built-in lithium-polymer battery. Charging is easy using the supplied USB cable. Mynder will let you know automatically when it needs a charge by sending you a message. It has been designed to work over the extreme temperatures of Canada.
Mynder has been designed to be very easy to use and doesn't require any special app to work - it has been kept deliberately simple to ensure compatibility with every cellphone. The native mode of operation is text messaging so you can use the standard messaging app on your smartphone. This makes it easy for everyone to use, whether you are 8 or 80!
Many Canadians may be familiar with this:
The inventor of Mynder was faced with this many times last winter. James Mallett got tired of having to scale a mini-mountain of snow and ice for several weeks to open his mailbox and find half the time there was nothing in it, or he would stop by the mailbox and then get home and find out his wife had already picked up the mail. He decided there must be a smarter way to know when mail is delivered.
Several months were spent looking at various solutions. It became obvious that short-range radio/WiFi/Bluetooth were not really options due to relatively short transmission range and power limitations. Using the cellular network was deemed the best solution; range is not restricted and the vast majority of the Canadian population has cell phone coverage.
A range of sensors were evaluated. It was important to find the right one that could reliably detect mail being placed in the mailbox whilst using very little power and able to work over outdoor temperature extremes.
However the power consumption of the prototype was significant and it became obvious that a design with a very low-power microcontroller and power control circuit would be necessary for any kind of long-term use. A design was created to integrate all components on a single PCB.
Now we have prototyped Mynder we need your help to scale up manufacturing and bring it to market! Most of the hard work has been done, all we need now is a stylish case and type-approval.
The package includes one Mynder unit, a M2M SIM card preloaded with credits for a years usage, a micro USB cable and user manual.
Mynder has been designed to be very easily set up and installed to make your mailbox smart.
James Mallett is an inventor, entrepreneur and founder of Mynder. He is a Principal Electronics Engineer at a cutting-edge marine technology company. He has many years designing electronics and software for small and large commercial, industrial and military applications. He loves to invent things in his spare time especially anything involving microcontrollers!
Kiho Song brings with him 14 years of design experience. Beginning his career as an Industrial Designer in the fast paced, high demand South Korean market, covering all aspects of design including concept, logo, icon, and packaging. He designed consumer products such as a bluetooth headset for a global manufacturer. He also won the 2004 Good Design Award in Seoul before moving to Canada. He has continued his career in Canada as a Concept/Mechanical Designer. Kiho is passionate about consumer oriented design, whether it be a handheld device or a launch and recovery system that weighs more than 25 tons.
Ley Sullivan is a Certified Electronics Technologist with over 10 years experience designing, testing, and troubleshooting hardware that is intended to operate in harsh environments. With his current role as a Senior Technologist performing PCB layout and design for a large blue-chip company he is in a position that complements his capabilities quite well. He would like to continue to grow his skills by getting more involved in software programming whether through education or home projects. Ley enjoys playing with his two sons and video games.
Where can I use Mynder?
Mynder uses a cellular quad-band integrated circuit for true worldwide coverage. You can use it anywhere in the world, not just in Canada! The supplied M2M SIM also has worldwide coverage.
How much does it cost to use?
It doesn't matter where you are in the world, the cost for each mail notification is the same! M2M connectivity means true global cellular coverage. The monthly cost is approximately $2 which which equates to about 10 cents per day, and that's based on getting mail every day during week days.
Won't a Community Mailbox (CMB) block a cellphone signal?
The sensitive antenna on Mynder is positioned at the end of the case. When mail is delivered the entire panel is opened by the mail deliverer so they can deliver the mail easily to each mailbox. As the antenna is next to the opening this allows a cellphone signal to be obtained. Mynder sends out a notification within a few seconds of mail entering the mailbox. Even a closed mailbox is 'leaky', in our tests we found that a cellphone signal could still be obtained when the mailbox was closed and the nearest cellphone tower a few kilometres away.
Are there any other uses for Mynder?
Yes - although it has been designed for mailbox use it can be used in many other applications! Basically any security application where movement triggers an alert:
- Monitoring contents inside a safe
- Shed monitoring
- Fridge/freezer monitoring
- House/cottage security
Anywhere where you want long-term monitoring of movement Mynder would be a good fit! If you are handy with a soldering iron the sensor can be replaced (just three pins to desolder/solder) with a super long range version that works over 10m (around 30 foot). We can supply details of how to do this.
Risks and challenges
The Mynder Team have 20+ years of hardware, software, electronics and product engineering experience which mitigates the bulk of our concerns about delivering a stellar product.
WHAT WE'VE COMPLETED
An initial prototype has been created using off-the-shelf component parts to validate the invention. A prototype printed circuit board (PCB) has been created to further refine the product. Software has been written to test the product and features. Concept case design has been completed.
The PCB will require a further re-spin to implement some minor design issues. The case has been designed but will need finalizing before a production run. Some software features still require implementing.
The remaining risks and challenges are those that face any hardware project as it goes into mass production for the first time. For example, we could be delayed by late delivery of a part, a fault in a part, or an error in the production process. It is also possible that tests of the production Mynder units will reveal performance issues that have not appeared in production samples. We are confident enough with the design that these will not present any significant engineering issues.
Before it can be delivered Mynder requires some official approvals, for example from the CSA in Canada and FCC in the USA. We do not yet have these approvals but Mynder has been designed using components that already have these certifications (such as the antenna and cellular IC). We are confident that we will get the required approvals before the initial delivery dates, but it is still possible that delays in approvals could delay shipping.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)