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The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, October 20 2017 12:32 PM UTC +00:00
CrowSoCs IncBy CrowSoCs Inc
First created
CrowSoCs IncBy CrowSoCs Inc
First created
pledged of $206,000pledged of $206,000 goal
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, October 20 2017 12:32 PM UTC +00:00

What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

5d7bc06cd93dbd9c19662774f75c92cb original.png?ixlib=rb 1.1

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.


IoTa Server

The problem:   

  • You want to monitor and/or control an electrical device remotely - in your home, in your lab, in your factory or anyplace
  • You don't want to design hardware or write software
  • Maybe you want a remote energy meter also

The Solution:

Use IoTa, your remote monitoring solution.

  • it is a retargetable, real-time, embedded webserver that connects to many types of electrical sensors and to its own energy meter
  • it is a full webserver with its own IP address
  • like any website, IoTa is accessible via browser from anywhere in the world
  • it tracks and presents data in real time
  • it automatically logs data to a database in the cloud to track historic data
  • the interface is not an app
  • the hardware/firmware/software is a completed solution
  • it is configured using simple point and click configuration to retarget to your device
  • it allows custom graphics to be downloaded
  • it allows custom layout, font, etc
  • mounts to your device and interfaces to sensors

In general, it is possible to select your sensors, mount an IoTa with backplane in your device, connect the sensors, power up IoTa and configure via webpage.  You have your real-time webserver!  Full instructions and examples are included with IoTa.

IoTa's list of features:
  • retargetable - the same hardware/firmware/software can attach to any device, machinery, electrical box, etc.
  • user configurable, virtual instrument interface includes, titles, names, graphics, gauges, state indicators, control buttons
  • ADC coupled ratiometric sensor inputs
  • ADC coupled resistive bridge inputs
  • opto-isolated state inputs
  • opto-isolated binary outputs
  • short term internal storage with graphing display
  • long term, remote, historic database with portal
  • NTP - sets its own time
  • MSQL - connects to database
  • Ethernet connection - Static or DHCP
  • highly configurable for tic frequency on data read, web page update, database update
  • SD card storage
  • serial debug port
  • remote program update over Ethernet
  • remote file upload to IoTa custom graphics, CSS & Javascript
  • alarm conditions - email and/or SMS notifications
  • device security - IoTa runs without an OS, it cannot be hacked in any traditional sense
  • data security - includes digest login security and AES encryption

IoTa for this Kickstarter campaign offers the following input/outputs:

  • 5 - ratiometric sensor inputs: 5VDC input, 0.5-4.5VDC output
  • 5 - optoisolated state inputs
  • 5 - optoisolated Push-Pull or open drain outputs
  • 5 - resistive bridge inputs
  • 1 - energy meter, single or three phase

IoTa serves web pages: 

IoTa generates web pages with your data displayed on a virtual instrument, posted in a simple table or embedded into graphics with an indicator.  Here is IoTa's demo web page showing 3 virtual gauges, 5 virtual state indicators and 5 I/O control buttons.

There are video tours of the web pages in the Gallery section.  Or you can look at a live IoTa online at the link below.  

Meet the Technology:

IoTa is a software and a hardware solution in four parts. 

  • the basic IoTa server
  • backplane for power and sensor electrical interface
  • energy meter / power monitor board
  • remote database server (PC)

The basic server is a processor module that plugs into a backplane circuit board providing power and electrical interface between the module and sensors.  A second circuit board is an energy meter that also plugs into the backplane.  Finally, a remote PC is configured to act as the IoTa database.

The basic IoTa server:

One IoTa webserver is firmware and software running on a Rabbit processor module RCM6750 from Digi International.  There is no OS.  All web pages are generated dynamically.  It cannot be 'hacked' in any traditional sense so device security is very high.

One IoTa server: a Rabbit RCM6750.
One IoTa server: a Rabbit RCM6750.

The backplane/physical layer: 

The IoTa module plugs into a backplane that provides power, ethernet and may additionally provide a an electrical interface for sensors (called the physical layer). 

Here is an IoTa in a Digi backplane, no physical layer:

IoTa in Digi backplane.
IoTa in Digi backplane.

IoTa can run 'as is' in a Digi backplane.  You can even stack your own sensor interface board and use IoTa as your interface.  However one reward on this campaign is CrowSoCs own simple backplane and physical layer that provides the sensor interface to you.  

IoTa plugs into any backplane made for its interface.  The Gallery shows an industrial refrigeration backplane with more than 50 IO points.  While the IoTa industrial backplane is not part of this Kickstarter initiative, it shows IoTa's abilities.  CrowSoCs believes the first real exposure for IoTa in the marketplace should be a simpler version. 

The energy meter / power monitor board:

Not all users will want to monitor power.  So IoTa is designed with a separate energy meter that plugs into the physical layer.  The power monitor board operates exactly like your home or industrial power meter using the same technology.  It can measure amperage, voltage, wattage, power factor, etc., on single or three phase electricity.

The remote database server:

IoTa is a standalone device.  For long term historic data archiving, it can connect to a remote MYSQL database to save data. 

As part of this campaign, some rewards offer a fully configured Intel NUC computer running Fedora Linux pre-configured to operate as a LAMP database (Linux-Apache-MYSQL-PHP).  However IoTa is configurable to operate with any MYSQL database.

The prototype gallery show pictures of IoTa technology and a sensor test rig with thermocouples, pressure sensor and state sensor.

How it works:

In general, at the basic level, all electrically operated sensors output only a voltage or current. The output is transformed into a meaningful quantity, such as temperature or pressure, by first performing an analog-to-digital conversion and multiplying the result by a conversion factor that makes 1VDC = 75psi or whatever quantity is measured.

IoTa is built to interface to sensors, convert the sensor voltage to a digital number and save that raw data number.  IoTa reads data at regular intervals defined by a configurable update tic.

For a webpage, a virtual instrument can be constructed using HTML/CSS/Javascript.  The virtual instrument can display a sensor quantity.  When a user makes an HTTP request to the IoTa URL, a new HTML web page is generated dynamically.  IoTa transforms the raw data in storage into a meaningful quantity per its multiplier and embeds that as a variable in the web page. 

IoTa transmits that web page to your browser and your browser renders the HTML code into a user interface with virtual instruments and your data embedded for you to read it in real-time.

Of course IoTa performs many more functions that support a real-time webserver such as timekeeping and timestamping, DHCP, serial communications, connection to MYSQL database, data auto-update, etc.

IoTa is simple to use:  plug IoTa into your router, power up, check its IP address, and point your browser to the IP address.  Its as simple as that!  Plug your sensors in, set its multiplier and label and you have your IoT.


Retargeting is CrowSoCs' term for using IoTa in many different applications without changing source code.  The software running on the RCM6750 does not change. 

Traditionally an embedded web server is built specifically for a single device with a specific sensor.  (CrowSoCs' founder, JD, built so many of these that he started to understand the commonality between all such servers and began to develop IoTa in 2008.) 

The basic IoTa is built to interface with a limited, although common, set of sensors.  If a generic sensor input can be designed to read the sensor voltage, for any sensor, then a generic HTML virtual gauge can be designed that can represent temperature, pressure, etc.  The gauge is retargeted by changing its multiplier, name (label), background image, etc.  (Examples of this can be seen in the live demo.)

In practice, basic retargetable IoTa serves a web page (called the Demo page in the online example) that has 5 HTML canvasses and hooks for Javascript functions. The canvasses can be used with Javascript and 'hooked' to the sensor.  They can be modified by editing the Javascript file or used as-is in basic configuration.

Also available on the demo page are 5 tabular indicators

The basic version of IoTa for this campaign has a limited sensor input to keep things simple. 

Online Demo:

Only one simple video demo is included on this campaign website.  Instead you can literally look at an IoTa, live online, right now!  A development IoTa is online at:

IoTa live online, in real time.

And a development historic portal is online at:

IoTa's test Portal.

In fact, if you have questions, JD can talk with you directly while you explore the IoTa interface.  Simply contact the company at:


Kickstarter Projection: 

Crowsocs offers 6 different reward levels.   The simplest rewards are meant to provide an easy technology evaluation without large cost.  However the rewards progress to increasing capabilities with the highest reward to be a full embedded server application with supporting interface, power monitoring and the remote database.  The Company projects the following breakdown:


The largest expense is cost of parts for this project.  CrowSoCs projects approximately 750 units to meet funding goals.  Cost breakdown for 750 units is to be:

In this budget it shows: 

  • Labor - reward buildup: USA assembly
  • Administrative - business and engineering expense
  • Parts - the actual costs of procuring components
  • Shipping - estimated shipping
  • Risk - failed backers, parts wasted, other unknown
  • Fees - Kickstarter fee

Why 750 units?  Administrative costs are fixed.  To avoid these costs becoming a disproportionate percentage of the budget, it is better to scale the campaign to a larger amount.  If the campaign succeeds, there is great interest in IoTa and fixed costs are spread over a larger volume.


CrowSoCs projects the following timeline for this project:



JD, the founder of CrowSoCs, is passionate about developing IoT technology for the world.  He believes there are few, if any, cost effective alternatives for a retargetable embedded webserver.  So every person or company who wants IoT technology must design, code and build it themselves.  He hopes he has developed easy to use, retargetable IoT technology that anyone or any company can use without needing extensive engineering support.

He has initiated a Kickstarter campaign for several reasons.  First, he has self funded the development of IoTa until now and his goal with Kickstarter is to fund the next step of getting the technology 'out there'.  Second, in getting the technology 'out there' in use, it will develop a large enough install base to be able to receive meaningful feedback on problems encountered, future project development, desirable features, etc.


A broad range of rewards are available to experiment with IoTa technology.  As seen, the simplest is just a single module preloaded with IoTa software.  It can be plugged into a Digi board and used today. 

Early-Bird rewards let you do just that.  WIth Early-Bird you receive one IoTa, with beta firmware, immediately upon close of a successful campaign.  You will receive a second IoTa in January with release firmware.  The first IoTa is upgradeable to release firmware. 

The barebones IoTa ships with full documentation, schematic interface diagrams, example sensor interfaces to build your own.

Meet the CrowSoCs team

Justin 'JD' Downs III, Ph.D - engineering

With more than 20 issued patents in diverse technology, 'JD' is a mechatronics expert.  He has been working in IoT technology since 1998, before it was called IoT.  He has personally developed the IoTa technology over an 8 year span.  He lives in Las Vegas and China.

Wang Shuang - China VP & Logistics

Ms. Wang is a business expert with specialty in English.  Her experience includes import/export, management and English translation.  She lives in Dalian, China.

Hu YanLi - assembly & shipping

Experience assembling electronics in China make Ms. Hu a strong team member for completing product delivery schedules.  She lives in New York and China.

The Future: 

It is deliberate that IoTa is limited for this Kickstarter Campaign.  Don't try to do too much.  However in reviewing the online demo, you can see many pages that show both the past and the future of IoTa.  The initial Kickstarter version is kept simple on purpose.  However IoTa has already been developed for larger input/output needs. 

Previously IoTa was retargeted by re-arranging code modules, performing a recompile and downloading new software to the module.  The online demo shows an example in the graphics page.  The next step for IoTa is to make this type of page retargetable also.  In this case, 50 or 100 inputs or more can be retargeted from a point and click interface.  Multiple pages can be added to the menu.  The user can retarget his own application by downloading graphics and arranging sensor indicators, all with an online, point-and-click interface.

New features:

  • WiFi
  • alarm conditions with email/SMS messaging
  • SPI - sensors
  • I2C - sensors
  • custom processor module with additional sensor interface
  • custom backplane with additional sensor interfaces
  • Mongo NoSQL database




Risks and challenges

We believe there are few software/hardware developmental risks to this project. The server/hardware/software/firmware described here is online and you can look at it working now. The embedded and historic servers can be used today exactly as seen online.

Small software modifications are planned prior to a V1.0 release in January.

There are three developmental challenges remaining:

1. Software features finalized. The online demo shows a working copy of IoTa. Two software objectives remain. First an internal module storage when not using an SD card. Second complete a feature setup page with help from backers during the campaign and release V1 with that setup page.

2. New PC layout for industrial backplane with limited IO and smaller size similar to the Digi backplane. The current industrial backplane is too large and expensive for the simpler objectives of this campaign. A simple 'Kickstarter' backplane will be designed by reducing the industrial backplane technology. The physical layer will work in tandem with the Digi backplane.

3. New PC layout for power monitor board for smaller size and single channel. The current power monitor board has two power channels and is again deemed too large for this simple campaign. It will undergo a new layout for single channel.

The embedded server has been tested extensively both in the lab and onsite for refrigeration monitoring. The software shown has been operating for years in different applications. So no problems expected from the software.

Most risk then is associated with the logistics of delivering final product. CrowsSoCs is a small company, with only 4 'employees', working until now without pay as we try to grow the company. The projected goal is to deliver approximately 750 pieces of product. CrowSoCs believes the current team can meet this design goal.

Should the campaign exceed the 750 placements, CrowSoCs expects the logistics to scale easily. Adding product placements can be accomplished by ordering more circuit boards, parts and PCs. Programming the embedded modules and setting up the historic databases, packaging and shipping is process work for an assembly line. We believe it will scale easily. The company is prepared to hire should demand far exceed the original 750 placements.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    Basic IoTa real-time webserver

    A Rabbit RCM67xx module with the real-time server preloaded. Build your own hardware interface with included instructions. Plug and play in Digi's own interface board.

    Estimated delivery
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    1 backer
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $198 or more About $198

    Early BIrd

    Receive an IoTa now with beta release software and a second IoTa later with final release software. The beta release is upgradable.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $249 or more About $249

    IoTa server with backplane

    A Rabbit RCM67xx module with physical layer to interface up to 5 sensors and measure up to 5 states.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $399 or more About $399

    IoTa server with an energy meter

    Reward 2 with added power monitor board. Measure power in your industrial cabinet, house, air conditioner, etc.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,299 or more About $1,299

    IoTa short package

    IoTa server, backplane and Intel NUC embedded, Linux database and historic portal.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,449 or more About $1,449

    IoTa complete package.

    IoTa server, backplane, power monitor and Intel NUC, embedded, Linux database and historic portal.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
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Funding period

- (35 days)