hiku - let’s simplify the way we shop
hiku - let’s simplify the way we shop
hiku turns everyday grocery shopping into something modern, magical, and fun.
hiku turns everyday grocery shopping into something modern, magical, and fun. Read more
About this project
AllThingsD - "it’s dead simple ... Just press the button to scan an item or record a voice memo, and all the data is wirelessly sent to your phone."
The Verge - "The demonstrations we've seen have all worked quickly and seamlessly, another good sign"
Fast Company's Co.Design - "multi-member households have a heck of a lot more to account for, and a streamlined system would actually be a major boon."
betanews - "Sometimes it requires a specialized tool to really get a job done ... This is where hiku reveals its brilliance'
hiku remembers so you don’t have to. We’ve all been there. You get home from the store and realize you left something important off your list. "$%#*@!!!", right? We created hiku to solve this fundamental problem, and ultimately to change the way people shop for good.
Scan it or say it. hiku recognizes both barcodes and voice, instantly adding items to your shopping list. No scribbling. No typing. Just touch one button and you’re done.
It’s simple and it’s fun. hiku is designed to be so easy a five-year-old can use it. Press one simple button and hiku takes care of the rest.
Your list is always with you. hiku creates a shopping list that appears on your mobile phone or tablet. You can share your list with family or anyone else. When you add an item or cross one off, your list is updated everywhere.
hiku connects directly to your Wi-Fi network at home. So there is no need for your phone to be nearby or in-range when you use it. To add something to your list, simply press the button and hiku scans barcodes or records your voice, and then sends them to the cloud for access anywhere.
When you scan an item, hiku gives you a red line and an audible beep just like in the grocery store. To say an item, press the same big button and start speaking.
At launch, the hiku app will support iOS, and you will be able to access your list from any device with a web browser—like a PC, tablet, or Android phone.
We have funded everything to date out of our own pockets. The prototype you see in the video is fully functional. It scans, it records, it connects to the cloud, and we think it looks great. A lot of time, skill, and money have already gone into this, so you aren’t betting on some half-baked idea. We’re long-time mobile veterans ready to share hiku with the world.
Our seasoned team in Silicon Valley has done all the product design and engineering (industrial design, mechanical, electrical, and firmware development), and will continue to own that as we move into production. Manufacturing will be handled by a partner in Asia with expertise building consumer electronics. To produce hiku in larger quantities, we need money to pay for tooling and manufacturing services, as well as place our minimum order quantities.
Lastly, your support through Kickstarter shows that hiku is something you want and think is worthwhile. And that’s the most important part of the project!
You bet. hiku will be open to work with other apps and services. We posted about this in our first update, and we are also including it here for newcomers who might not look in the updates section.
To demonstrate our approach, we have already integrated hiku with Astrid Tasks, Evernote, and Remember the Milk. Now you can have the convenience of adding items with hiku, while viewing your shopping list alongside your other lists in some very popular applications. Check out the video to see it in action!
Also, many people ask us if hiku can be used for other things besides making a shopping list, so we are putting the power to make that happen into your hands! We will have a developer API available near launch to let you tap into hiku scans and voice from the cloud. From there, it’s up to you and your creativity to make hiku do way more than we ever imagined. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get notified as more details about the hiku API become available.
Some technical details:
- 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
- 1D linear imaging scan engine
- Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- Ultra-low power standby mode
- USB port for charging
hiku from the front, top, and side:
Q: What are the technical requirements for using hiku?
A: Basic requirements: An Internet connection at home with a Wi-Fi network, and you will need an iOS or Android device for an amazingly simple Wi-Fi set up – see the video here from Update #3 on how it works.
Q: Why did you make a separate device? Can’t I scan and voice record with my mobile phone?
A: From the earliest days of hiku, we set out to make a product that was instant so it would satisfy the demands of a busy family. One that’s as fast, if not faster, than pen and paper. You simply can not do that with a mobile app alone.
For example, hiku’s 1D linear scanner is a dedicated piece of hardware that scans over 50 times per second, making scans instantaneous and ultra accurate. With a mobile app alone, every time you want to scan an item you have to find your phone, unlock it, find your app, launch it, tap add, choose scan, wait for the camera to load, focus on the barcode, and then wait for the results. With hiku you press one button and you're done.
Q: How do you charge it? How long does the battery last?
A: hiku uses a standard micro-USB connection like the ones found with many popular electronics today for charging. The battery will last 2 months between charges with normal use, so you don’t have to worry about constantly recharging.
Q: How rugged is it? Will it break if I drop it?A: hiku was designed to live in the kitchen and be handled by kids of all ages, so we knew we had to build it tough and water resistant. To withstand falls, the shell is ribbed on the inside for reinforced structural integrity, there are no moving parts, and the electronics inside are locked in place with metal screws during assembly. The round design also minimizes force impact during a drop, distributing impact across the entire surface. To resist water, the microphone opening is sealed with advanced hydrophobic mesh, and the USB port is internally sealed with a silicone gasket. Not bad for such a simple device, if we do say so ourselves.
Q: How does the voice recognition work? How good is it?
A: hiku uses industry leading voice recognition technology, like what you find in Apple’s Siri or Google’s Android. hiku records your voice and sends it to the cloud, where it is transcribed and the item added to your list. Since we all know voice recognition isn’t 100% perfect, hiku also saves the recording so you can play it back as an audio file right from your list if needed.
Q: Will hiku work outside of the U.S.?
A: You can use hiku anywhere in the world for capturing scans and voice, and viewing your list. All you need is an Internet connection and a Wi-Fi network. For now we officially support English only. Please let us know in the comments section what additional languages you would like to see supported.
You can see a picture of both using the link below. The backside picture is a raw untouched shot straight from the NIkon used for our 'beauty shot' photo shoot. The round shape on the back is soft touch for no scratch magnetism, and also makes holding the device in the hand even better.
Absolutely! hiku was designed with the busy family in mind, so multiple people can share the same list. The list is stored in the cloud, and kept in sync when accessed via the hiku iOS app or the web by any users sharing an account. We are considering other ways to share a list temporarily, e.g. send your list to someone via email. But for now are focused on delivering a great shared list experience for members of the same household.
Will there be a service fee to use the device, cloud service, or mobile app? (e.g. monthly or yearly fee)
Never. Ever. None. Buy the device, and the cloud service, mobile app, and web access are free.
What do you mean web access and an iOS app? What's the difference? I want Android too, what about that?
We will provide basic functionality via a web browser that includes viewing your list, adding items, crossing items off, device battery status, and partner app setup. You will be able to access that from any device with a browser like an Android tablet or desktop computer. We will focus on an iOS app to develop a richer user experience. For example, in the iOS app we will provide 'offline' viewing of your list, so you can see your list on your iPhone even when you are not in cell coverage (e.g. deep in the bowels of a large grocery store). We want to bring that same end to end hiku experience to all platforms, and Android is next up on our list. But we can't do it all at once and we do not want to overpromise. So for launch we will deliver a hiku iOS app, and basic web access to hiku via a browser.
If you are an Android user and an app is a must have, please check out Astrid Tasks, Evernote, or Remember the Milk. hiku is compatible with all of them, so you can scan or speak items into hiku and they show up as a list in any of those popular apps. Pretty cool eh?
Since there are so many questions about Android, other platforms, and what all is supported, here is a handy punch list of what is supported:
a) Configuration / setup: iOS and Android both supported
b) hiku created shopping list app: commitment at launch for iOS app, and web support for basic list functionality, battery status, and partner app setup.
c) Android app support: We fully intend to do a hiku created Android app – we are just not committing to it right at launch so we do not overpromise. For the Android crowd, there are partner apps that work with hiku at launch. Evernote, Remember the Milk, and Astrid Tasks are the first ones, and more are expected especially as launch approaches.
Since hiku uses a commercial grade scanner, it can read a wide variety of 1D barcodes instantly. hiku supports the most popular symbologies like UPC-A, Code 128, Code 29, UPC-E, EAN-8, EAN-13, and more. Our barcode database currently has over 1.5M records for translating a barcode into something intelligent in your list. Today these are mostly products geared toward the North American market, but we are in no way limited to that.
The beauty of hiku is that whenever it does not recognize a barcode, it emits a different beep to prompt you to speak the name of the product. We then associate that name with that barcode, and make it available for everyone in the hiku community. So we can crowdsource the universe of barcodes together and make something really useful.
Today hiku officially supports English. The voice recognition can absolutely be expanded over time to recognize additional languages, which are essentially language packs on the backend. To support additional languages the right way, we would also want to localize our application and website as well (right?). Again we do not want to overpromise, so for now we will commit to English at launch, and then respond to the community based on demand for other languages.
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