EVE alpha in 50 words!
- Eve is a plug in board for the Raspberry Pi mini computer
- A hub that connects your wireless devices to each other and the web.
- This is development hardware, we need your help to accelerate development of freely downloadable software.
- EVE is something YOU own not a service you rent.
The Raspberry Pi EVE board is the reference hardware for the IoT Toolkit gateway (http://iot-toolkit.com). It's work in progress, but will be available for general use soon. There will be software development on EVE.
The guys behind OpenRemote which is a software integration platform for residential and commercial building automation have code that will already run on the Pi. OR has end-user control interfaces for iOS and Android devices.
EmonCMS which is by the guys at Open Energy Monitor will run on a Pi, John is looking at getting our sensors to log to it.http://openenergymonitor.org/emon/
Project EVE – a background to our idea
We want you to join our mission to try and connect everything you own or may own in the future – regardless of who made them in the first place. This short (21 day) Kickstarter project is to rapidly fund an early production (Alpha) version of our EVE board, get it out to passionate people so we can accelerate software development. Unlike some projects, this will (we promise hand on heart) begin to ship (if funded) this month.
At her heart, EVE is a communicator (between devices), a facilitator (helping you interact with her) and a guardian (a gateway to allow you to see what is going on in your world). EVE is fundamentally about you, your things, your interactions and your data (and sharing that data, of course, only if you want to).
It's probably a surprise to most that many of the pieces to make EVE happen already exist today, bringing them together is the next challenge. Later down you'll find links to a few inspirational ideas. These when "melded" together onto a single box, gives you a taste of just how EVE could be integrated into our lives. We see no reason why (for example) from anywhere in our house's (or indeed almost anywhere in the world) we can't simply talk to her......(We like to think it's like Siri or S Voice on steroids)
EVE...Yes...Has the postman been?....Yes, at 9:13 this morning.
EVE...Yes...When did the cat last come in and has she much food?...23 minutes ago, there's over a quarter of a bowl full left.
EVE...put on the TV the last recorded image of the front gate....(picture on TV)
EVE..can you find out from Grandma's EVE if she's had her pills and if not to remind her.
EVE...can you set the heating to come on half an hour earlier in the mornings.
We hope you get an image of what our expectations are. Sky high maybe, but it's all possible! We just need somewhere to start, we want to start today.
What is EVE Alpha?
EVE Alpha is the first baby steps towards EVE. Hardware is the first obstacle and we believe EVE Alpha is the solution. With EVE Alpha funded we hope to accelerate the development of the fabulously exciting software that will make EVE, and with your own board you can help too.
This "Alpha" project is aimed at a developer/tinkerer/hacker audience not consumers (just yet). As an EVE Alpha developer you may need to add the odd green wire as things progress. We have very basic code to talk to our SRF, there's already people working on the RFM12B so we'll have the start of something on day one (won't be pretty mind you). Z-Wave and EnOcean we have very little to go on so far, we don't have the internal "secret" datasheets, here's where we need a little help.
There's larger pictures further down and more technical details.
Why is EVE unique? – she’s individual.... just like you
During the development process we looked at how other people were building the Internet of Things and one thing became clear – we wanted EVE to avoid following the crowd and resist having her head in the Cloud(s) (pun shamelessly intended) for three reasons; Security, Power & Speed:
Security - many people are now discovering their data (music, pictures etc.) once uploaded can become the property of others (iTunes, Flickr etc.). By avoiding the Cloud, You keep your data. All your digital life is stored and processed locally on your own hardware. Would you want a third party knowing that you have left the lights on at home because you are out shopping? We all would rather keep some things to ourselves and for this reason EVE is designed to work on your behalf, not others. It's the only way to be sure your data always remains yours.
Power (Processing power) - having a computer, (in this case a Raspberry Pi) rather than a simple gateway device, means you can process and interact with your electronic life "locally" and in real time. Via the internet you can access EVE securely from your phone, PC or tablet. (The power to grow) Speech recognition, TV interfaces, texts, emails, tweets......there are almost limitless ways of interacting and integrating with the digital world that you already own and will be buying in the future.
Speed – Not everyone is blessed with a fibre connection to their home and some of us may never get one, which begs the question, “what happens if my life is connected via the Cloud but the connection is slow or worse, goes down”? With Cloud based services if you use your tablet to switch your light on, your tablet sends a message over the air to your WiFi router, this travels over the internet to the Cloud (hopefully encrypted, but often not) then returns all the way back again back via radio to your light bulb. Delays and loss of connection mean you can no longer interact with the devices you own in your own home! What we see of the future isn't that and we are sure that you don’t either!
What inspired EVE ?
Here are some inspirational ideas which show EVE is possible and by combining these, EVE could do much more than anything that's gone before.
Julius voice recognition (already running on Pi)(link)
Open source version of Kinetic gesture detection (link)
Samsung TV that listens to you and more (link)
Hyperglance new ways of displaying complexity (link)
Arduino shows a simple idea can release immense creativity (link)
Zoneminder CCTV (link)
ModMiPi because EVE needs clothes plus has VESA mount (link)
Why do we need your support?
We are a small and passionate company and we already have some amazing products, but we are realistic and see that EVE is far too big an idea to do on our own.
Achieving our funding target of £15,000 will enable us to release the hardware and put in the early work to get a fledgling architecture together. Once funded we will release the EVE Alpha Eagle files and Schematics. Along the journey to EVE we will release the software under open source license and work with the community to collate the feedback and experiences of developers like you.
We know there are a number of companies who have been successfully funded on Kickstarter who on the face of it are doing similar things. This shows that there is significant demand out there. However, we feel that none of these seemingly “finished” products particularly hits "at the core" of what actual people need.
Why is EVE here now and where are we heading?
For the past for 6 years we have been working tirelessly on the goal of delivering the future of connectivity (see our bio on the right for more). This idea for a wireless device server just wasn't possible (economically) until the Raspberry Pi came along. It means we can adopt many wireless standards (see the picture above) to enable people to develop software (without limits).
Why does the world need EVE?
For a so long we have been frustrated with the output of companies and projects that have touched upon the coming wave of the Internet of Things.
From our perspective, and we suspect yours too (if you are into this kind of stuff), we feel that the Internet of Things is happening far too slowly and worst of all in little silos. Whilst manufacturers wait for common standards before "moving", this desire for an Internet of Things simply isn’t being delivered – and may never be if everyone waits for everyone else to move. More sensible voices are beginning to point out that “one size does not fit all” and that lots of ways will exist.
The fear is that something developed today may have nothing to talk to tomorrow! EVE has been designed to allow US ALL to unleash the potential in the devices we have by talking to everything regardless of age or generation. Heck there's plenty of X-10 kit around, that was an idea from the 60's. Coping with legacy kit we just can't avoid.
We have discovered from customer feedback that they do not wish to openly connect all their things to the Internet and would prefer something more personal, we have branded this “My Internet of Things”
With EVE we have taken a pragmatic approach and assumed that many manufacturers will probably not get "going" in big numbers any time soon, we don’t think the rest of us should wait until they do. If you are a manufacturer, buy an EVE and join us because people WILL buy your products.
Our ultimate goal for EVE is to provide a version of a consumer ready box that would be easily available for any home – we might be coming back to you, our supporters and Kickstarter again to deliver the next step in EVE's journey. That is if we are successful in getting support for EVE Alpha.
Why Open Source, surely this is so valuable we should have kept it closed?
The reason for opening up the board so early on, is to give the community the chance to sculpt what EVE can ultimately become. Software currently is seriously sparse, but we know together we can quickly unlock EVE’s potential. You might want to brew your own version of EVE (we hope people do).
Just as the Arduino spawned innovation and how much of an successful hit the Raspberry Pi has been, it shows one thing, tools + passion = results. We see EVE as the genesis of a new way to connect your digital world. We don't want her to be owned by any single person, organisation or body – EVE is about YOU and what YOU want to connect and control.
Meet EVE in person
We all ready have some early adopters that are committed to EVE and will be helping us show off EVE at the following events, as more are confirmed we will keep you updated.
November 6th 2012 - GeekUp Nottingham (UK)
November 15th 2012 - Silicon Valley IoT meetup (USA)
November 21st 2012 - Launch forum for SH&BA, London (UK)
November 28th - 30th 2012 - IoT forum in Bled (Slovenia)
November 29th - IoT:Bring a thing, present or make a thing Cambridge (UK)
March 24th - 25th 2013 - CoAP Plugtests in Paris (France)
March 29th - April 1st 2013 - National Home Building show NEC (UK)
The very first boards will begin to be dispatched on the first day we are funded. Remaining boards will take 2 weeks to order and be shipped immediately. We anticipate shipping everything within November and December at the latest. The only problem we foresee is those ordering EVE along with a Raspberry Pi board, the delivery times on these is bound to fluctuate coming up to Christmas. We are happy to part ship if you would prefer.
Our PCB assembly is done in Nottingham in the UK on our own facilities (this is why we can do things so fast and at such good prices). The ModMyPi cases are also made in the UK as is the Raspberry Pi. The only things imported are the electronic parts and the fibreglass circuit boards.
EVE Alpha Technical Specs
The different reward levels provide several combinations of the available radio modules so please pick carefully.
EVE Alpha can physically support:
- (top left) Extra pads to enable easy wire mods
- (bottom right) 433Mhz or 868-915Mhz RFM12B module (connects to JeeNode wireless networks, Open Energy Monitor, X10, Bye Bye Standby, Current Cost and so much more)
- (centre bottom) Z-Wave module (off the shelf home automation products)
- (left bottom) EnOcean module (off the shelf energy harvested light switches and controls)
- (right bottom) SRF or RFM12B style connector for another 433 or 868 device.
EVE Alpha board also includes(in Pre-built versions):
- (top left) 868-915Mhz SRF module (the surface mount variant of our fantastic data radios)
- (centre) XBee shaped module (Bluetooth, 802.15.4, Zigbee, LLAP, WiFi (RNXV), RF Bee and many many more) This includes our XRF and the new hyper range ARF which does 10's of KM. Can also be Zigbee - Telegisis ETRX3 series via custom adapter (uses the XBee socket)
- (centre left) I2C connected Real Time Clock with battery backup TI BQ32000k
- (centre left) I2C connected Local temperature sensor TI TMP100NA
- (top right) Extra solder pads for future development
- (centre right) External Power Jack and 3v3 regulator
EVE has support via USB for:
- UMTS, 3G, 4G, LTE, Wifi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, X10 and much much more
EVE has support via Ethernet for:
- IP to local networks, connection to the Internet, twitter, emails, facebook and so much more.
Not sure what you get in the different reward levels?
I have radios and love to solder
Then the Bare Bones or Entry Level is just for you.
Bare Bones - gets the EVE Alpha PCB, stand off, XBee connectors and a 2x13 way Pi connector, You will need to supply and install your own radio's.
Entry Level - has all the tiny surface mount parts soldered in place leaving you to add the easy to solder radio modules of your choice. The real time clock and temp sensor.
Pre Built and above all have the basic SMT parts and a combination of radios already installed.
What does the EVE case/box look like?
On a 19" monitor, this picture is visually larger than the actual case (95x62x28mm). We might move the logo to the top corner (your thoughts welcome)
What happens if no one is making the wireless device you want?
So make your own! The Developers Dream and Extra Mile includes the XINO RF. This Arduino with on board radio is an easy to use sensor development platform with thousands of code examples already freely available.
Also included is a LLAP wireless temperature sensor that uses simple and easy to use text commands, the box is about the size of a box of matches and can run for years on its internal battery by sleeping between transmissions. We are just working on devices that require no batteries at all. We don't understand the word boundary :)
Risks and challenges
Delivery: Through the various prototypes we have refined the end product to the point we are happy the project can be delivered. The delivery part is reliant on our supply chain and our internal capabilities. As we produce electronics on a daily basis, this will not stretch our facilities internally. We have in place long standing relationships with our suppliers and have purposely chosen readily available parts. Only the PCB’s are sourced by export, everything else is next day UK or things we already stock. Although there are stories of some Chinese suppliers delivering substandard quality and not meeting time schedules (we have experienced this is the past too). With our current choice of fab house that we use every few weeks, we know they can deliver consistently. Knowing we have set a very short time scale for delivery is testament to our confidence that physical supply of product is assured. No one will be left waiting for delivery of this Kickstarter project.
Risk to the company: Ciseco has been in existence now for 4 years. We are consistently growing and are entirely self funded. It being our own money, blood sweat and tears to date, we feel, shows we are fully committed to this endeavour and market place. So much so that others should share our confidence. People within organisations such as IBM, Google, Telefonica, HP, Diversy and many more, plus the thousands of individuals who order from us can see that we strive tirelessly to make the world that "little more connected". Our track record, we feel, shows we are here to stay and that this project is another exciting route our company is taking.
Being funded: That we are too early and that people don't yet see that there's a real problem to address. We know there's an appetite by many people we know (customers, friends etc), we hope in the Kickstarter community there are similar desires.
That people expect a "consumer level experience" from day one. As the project progresses we will update people via Kickstarter updates and other mechanisms. Our blog and forum are already busy places and have existed for over a year, there are specific areas just for EVE Alpha. Last week we moved it all to a cloud provider that can scale to meet demand.
That it proves difficult to uncover the information required to converse with the Z-Wave and EnOcean modules. Both providers are very secretive and publish little of use in their public data sheets. The quick fix for this is to pay to join either "alliance". If this happens we will go back to the community and ask if we all feel it's the right path to take. The slower fix is to get out a logic analyser and figure out from the 0's & 1's what is happening, this we have experience of.
That people consider the Raspberry-Pi more gizmo and less end user product. Now that the Pi hardware is becoming fully “Open” and we have the facility here to design everything into one integrated end user product, this can be overcome.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)