About this project
We re-invented how your devices work
Today, most people have files everywhere. They have one content, but multiple devices. So they spend a lot of time just figuring out where are their documents. And they keep moving their files to-and-from tiny Cloud folders.
So we decided to solve this problem, from its root. We redesigned the way your devices store data, from the ground up. And we’ve built Lima.
With Lima, your devices work as a group. They all contain exactly the same files. Just like if they were one single, unique device.
- Play with exactly the same content at all times, no matter which device you’re using.
- Put thousands of movies on your iPad, even if you bought a small one.
- Watch family pictures on your connected TV, without having to transfer them.
- Share confidential folders with your colleagues without sending them to the Cloud companies.
- Send documents instantaneously.
We think you’ll love it.
We made storage as simple as it can be
Lima is a small adapter that acts like the brain of your devices. It enables you to transform your old USB drives into a special memory, common to your smartphone, tablet and computers. Install Lima, and your devices will start storing all of their content in this common memory, at Home.
It’s fairly easy: just connect Lima to your Home Internet and connect a USB drive to Lima. Install the Lima app on all your devices, and you’re good to go.
Now your devices share the same brain
With Lima, your devices are a team. They do not keep any content for themselves anymore. All your documents, music, pictures and videos are stored in the same place.
So your iPhone contains exactly the same things as your laptop, even if it doesn’t have the same size. Your devices are just like frames, through which you can see exactly the same content, at all times.
Your content is unique again.
They all have the same size
Now, whenever you're connected to Internet, it's just like all your devices had exactly the same size: the size of your Lima. The initial size of your devices doesn't matter anymore.
Even if you have the tiniest of smartphones, you can put all your content in your pocket. And even if you bought the smallest of iPads, you'll have all your movies on it.
If something doesn’t fit in one device, it is streamed over the Internet, directly from your Lima. And if you decide to travel one-month in Internet-free Amazonia, you can select which files you'd like to view when you're offline. Just like you do with your music on Spotify.
Need more storage? You don't need to split your pictures and your documents between multiple hard drives anymore. Just add a drive to Lima, and it will instantly make all your devices bigger.
With a simple USB hub, you can connect up to eight drives per Lima. Because Lima stores your content in regular USB drives, you don’t need to buy fancy hardware from us just to get more space. And you can own your storage, not rent it.
That makes Lima environment friendly, but also much more affordable to use. Even if you don’t have a drive to connect to Lima, a brand new one will cost you about 20x less than storage in the Cloud. And you won't pay for it every year. That’s why you can clearly put all of your content on Lima, and not only a small part of it.
Sending all your holiday pictures takes only a second
Ever needed to send hundreds of pictures to a friend? With Lima, we invented a technology to transfer files instantly. No matter their size, no matter their number. That’s also part of our job to simplify storage.
Every version of your work is backed up
Lima makes it incredibly easy to back up your belongings. Every time you change something on your devices, Lima saves a version of it at Home. So if you mess up this very important document, you can roll back to an old version of it in only two clicks.
By buying several Limas, you can backup your data transparently in multiple locations. Lima is also 100% compatible with backup services such as BackBlaze or CrashPlan, which enable you to backup terabytes of data for less than $5/month.
Your storage is fast and private – again
When we designed Lima, privacy was one of our main concerns.
Lima stores your files at Home. So you can be sure you own your storage. Nobody in the world can access your data, but you. And you don’t need to pay monthly fees for that. The storage technology inside Lima was designed so you can get your data back anytime, even if your Lima device is broken.
The security of your Lima device is our first priority. Like a private datacenter, your Lima is far more difficult to hack than your computer. Our team works continuously with security experts to make sure it remains so. Like high security servers, your Lima will be frequently updated with security patches to keep it unaccessible from badly intentioned governments and individuals.
Because your data is closer to you, Lima is also up to 60x faster than your traditional Cloud services, whenever you’re at Home.
Your connected TV and Hi-Fi players can enter the game
If you have a connected TV or a set-top box, it will now have the same contents than your other devices. You can tell Lima which media you want to make available there. So at last you can watch all of your movies and pictures directly from your sofa. You can also play all of your music on your Wi-Fi enabled Hi-Fi player (using UPnP or DLNA).
And it goes further
Okay. So what's the difference with DropBox?
Dropbox, in many ways, can be considered as a virtual USB key : it's like a small pen drive you copy your files into to move or edit them on other devices. At the difference that DropBox works with Internet, so you never have to carry your USB key around – which is quite handy. On the downside Dropbox is more expensive than a USB key, slower, and not your property because you have to rent it every month.
Like a USB key, DropBox is yet-another-memory. You need to manually copy your files into it, and it has a limit of size.
Lima is not yet-another-memory. It's a way to make all your devices store their content at the same place. While DropBox tries to be a better version of our USB keys, Lima tries to correct the problem that forced us to use USB Keys in the first place.
We replace the memories of your devices by Lima, so all your devices can have exactly the same contents at all times.
There's no dedicated folder where you have to move your files into. All your files are on Lima, from the files on your Desktop to the files in your Movies folder. So you don't need to copy and move your files around anymore : just let them where they always have been, they're already on your other devices.
Another big difference is that if you rent 1TB of DropBox storage, DropBox will take 1TB of storage on your devices so you can use it. When you add 1TB of storage to your Lima, your devices get 1TB bigger. Not the same product, not the same advantages.
Note: other Cloud services, such as Microsoft SkyDrive, Google Drive, Apple iCloud or SugarSync work similarly as DropBox
And about remote backup ?
Lima already backs up your files at Home. But if you want to backup your files in multiple locations, it's also possible and as easy at it can get.
If you care about your privacy, you can easily replicate your content over several Limas. You can install one Lima in your home and one in your office, for example. Your Limas will automatically work together to replicate your content. Two Limas are enough. But with each Lima you buy, your data gets more secure and also faster to access. If some of your friends have Lima, you can also ask your Limas to back up each other's content. Your data is encrypted, so your friends will not be able to read it.
If you accept to send your data over the web to other companies (like you do when using DropBox), you can also use services such as BackBlaze or CrashPlan to backup the entire content of your Lima in remote and secure datacenters. It costs less than $5/month to backup your data using these services. That's half the price of the cheapest DropBox plan.
To sum up
- It's cheaper: Lima is not a service. You pay once, it's yours.
- It's larger: Lima is designed to store your entire digital life.
- It's faster: if you're at Home, transfer speed is 60x faster.
- It's safer: you can backup all of your content, not only part of it. Privately for free. Remotely for less than $5/month.
- It's yours: it's your own storage. Not a company's, not a government's.
We need your help!
Lima is an adventure, and you have more than your place in it.
We started it with the dream to make hard drives as easy to use as they should have been for the past 20 years. After 2 years of development, from hardware to software to web apps, we are nearly ready to launch a product we really think you’ll love.
But we have a tremendous need for feedback. We also miss capital to produce a first batch of devices on our own.
And that’s why we need your help.
By being one of the first to get a Lima, you can really help us make this project a reality. Every person backing us makes the difference. We’ll make perfectly sure you get that love back.
What can I do with my Lima?
- Go running and listen to your entire music library on your iPhone
- Access to all of your content from abroad, even if you have only a small computer
- Get all of your family’s pictures already on your computer after a holiday trip
- Send really big documents to your clients instantaneously
- Watch your iPhone pictures on your connected TV, without sync
- Put your laptop in a swimming pool and keep your data safe
- Share a folder with colleagues, so everyone always get the last version of documents
- Extend the size of your iPad to put more movies into it
- Get back old versions of your thesis after a wrong save.
- Undelete files on your computers
- Send e-mails with attachments of infinite size
- …and so many things more!
Our job with Lima is to simplify your life, whenever there are files to play with. We want it transparent, so you don’t even have to think about it. There are a lot of good things in that.
What do I get?
Your Lima will come with a power supply and a cable to keep it connected to Internet. We’ll also include simple instructions on how to set it up.
- Embedded Linux (OpenWRT based)
- x86 compatible processor
- Port for you hard drive: USB2
- Port for Internet: Ethernet port 10/100 Mbps
- Average transfer speed: 30 Mbps
- Supported file systems: NTFS, HFS+, Ext3/Ext4, FAT32
- Number of drives supported (using an external USB hub): 8
- Dimensions: 70mm (W) x 33mm (D) x 25mm (H)
- Weight: 200g
- LED Display: Power/ Action
- Operation Environment: 0 – 95 °F
- Storage Environment: 0 – 120°F
- US or EU power adapter 110V/220V (included)
- Ethernet cable (included)
To reduce manufacturing risks, the Lima device hardware is based on the Wanser-R, a commodity device produced by MRT Communications. We've partnered with MRT to change some components of the Wanser-R, so it meets Lima's performance requirements. The firmware, which gives its main functions to the device, is fully reprogrammed.
The Lima apps
Lima interacts with your devices through free Desktop and Mobile apps. These apps are the essence of Lima: they are the ones that make everything transparent and intuitive to use.
After getting your Lima, you’ll be able to install our apps on your iPhone, your iPad, your Android phone or tablet and your computers – either Mac, Linux or PC. We’re planning to support Windows Phone as soon as possible after launch.
We have a passion for simplifying the life of non-geek people, and we made sure that installation is as easy as it can get. We also built it so you can stop the installation or the use of Lima anytime, without doing any harm to your data.
We designed the Lima desktop app so it doesn’t get in the way. We are very attached to the idea of letting you use your computer just as you did before.
After installing the app, the documents that did not fit in your computer before will appear in it. They’ll have a special icon on them, telling you that you can only access them from your Home or if you have Internet. You can sort them as you wish.
At anytime, the Lima app will enable you to play with files and folders directly from your OS, so you can:
- Send files easily
- Synchronize any folder with your contacts
- Decide which files or folders should be “online-only” and which ones should be available offline
- and Browse old versions of your documents
On Windows and Linux, you’ll have to right click on your files to begin. On Mac, you’ll have to drop them on the Lima icon. It’s your computer, but smarter.
On your smartphone and your tablet, the Lima app will enable you to browse all of your files from everywhere. You’ll be able to display all of your pictures and videos, to open documents, and to listen to your entire music library. Everything will be there.
That's super practical to review or share your files on the go. As all of your devices work together, the pictures and videos you’ll take with your phone or your tablet will also appear in your computers right away.
Be advised, this chapter enters the rabbit hole. We're getting technical. Feel free to ignore this chapter.
The main force of Lima... is you don't even realize it's there. To make it so, we had to adapt and develop a set of new technologies to make all your devices work together without even letting you notice it.
With Lima, all your devices are connected with each other thanks to a zero-configuration, private and encrypted VPN (asymmetric encryption based on RSA-2048/SHA-1 keys). We had excellent speed benchmarks on this network. It goes through any main NAT & firewall we tested, it's decentralized when possible, and it doesn't require any user configuration. It's safe and does the job.
When Lima is installed on your computer, our application intercepts all the input/output operations performed on your files, using several patent pending technologies. When Mac OS X, Windows or Linux want to store or access data, they ask our application instead of manipulating the hard drive. When needed these operations are redirected to Lima. Thanks to this, we give you the best experience possible. We show in your OS all the files you have in your Lima, even if they're not actually in your computer. We use your local storage memory as a cache, to store both the files recently used and the ones you want to keep for offline-viewing.
The Lima device itself is a small Linux-powered dongle. It's made to be kept always on, while drawing little power. Its job is to download and upload your files in the background when you need it, to secure the communications and to attract all the content that you create on your devices so it can be backed up on your hard drives.
You can connect any USB2 compatible drive to the device, and even use a USB hub if you want to connect several drives. Your drives are put in hibernation when possible. Under the hood, the average transfer speed for your data will be around 30Mb/s. This is not super-lightning fast, but it's sufficient for the usage of Lima. In fact, our cache policy reduces a lot the actual need to access your hard-drives. Your storage is as asynchronous as possible.
« We’ve been talking a lot about the post-PC era. But our devices are still not a real replacement of our old desktop computers. Each one is independant, with its own memory. So none of them truely reflect us.
Lima brings the kind of unity that can make or devices really work together. It opens an era where we can think of all our devices as a single group ; where playing with two devices from two different manufacturers can really make us live a single and continuous experience.
Developers can now focus on the user instead of focusing on the devices they are using. Because now, our devices share something truely important for the post-PC era : a context. »
Severin MARCOMBES – CEO of CGC
Where we’re at
We’ve been working on Lima for over 2 years now. The hardware device you’ve seen on the video is ready for production. It will be manufactured by one of our partners in Shenzen. On the software side, we are in the process of transforming our prototype code into production code. It means running extensive tests on our software, and finishing up our user interface to make sure Lima is stable, beautiful and easy to use.
We estimate everything to be ready in six months, which should match the time when we receive our first devices from China.
To ship Lima into homes worldwide, the last required step for us is to be able to order a minimum of 1,000 devices. We can only do it with your contribution.
Thanks for your support!
Risks and challenges
There is always a risk when producing a product that combines both electronic hardware and software. So we made everything to reduce it to a minimum before launching this Kickstarter campaign.
The hardware used by the current version of Lima is a proven, tested hardware. Our manufacturer has already produced thousands of units successfully for other clients. The main risks concerning hardware are thus reduced to logistics. Unplanned delays in the manufacturing process can still occur, but problems related to the hardware design of the device are very unlikely.
On the software side, we’re glad to say that we overcomed the most critical technical challenges brought by our app. After 2 years of research and development, we have already built a prototype of our application on Mac, Windows and Linux. We are currently in the process of optimizing our application code to transform it into production-grade software. And we are confident we can do it during the next six months.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Synology, Qnap or Iomega devices are Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. They add a new folder or virtual hard drive in your computer, and make it accessible from all your devices. Owncloud works the same.
This hard drive or folder is yet-another-memory, a separate place where you have to copy, move, your files into. So at the end of the day, if you use these solutions you still have to constantly manage and figure out where is your data.
The main innovation in Lima is that it manages all of your data for you. Not only the contents of a specific folder.
The Lima app replaces the entire file system of your computers. It handles everything: from the pictures in your "My Pictures" folder, to the files on your Desktop. So it really does feel like all your devices have the same memory: you can download something on your Mac, and open it on your PC.
Everything is in Lima, and the Lima app makes synchronization invisible to you.
Want an example? You should watch our demo video, in the "Lima apps" section. Tell us if it's clear enough!
We do. The shipping price is the same for US and international backers.
This price included in the description of the reward you want to receive.
- If you backed us on our December batch (rewards at $59, $69 and $129): you'll have to increase the amount of your pledge by $10 per Lima to include shipping (For a reward at $59, add $10. For a reward at $69, add $10. For a reward at $129, add $20).
- If you backed us on our other batch: shipping is included in the rewards. You don't need to add anything to your pledge. We've followed your advices and comments, and you're right: it's much simpler this way.
Kickstarter lets you to increase your pledge via a blue button, [Manage my Pledge], on the top-right of this page.
As for now, we've planned to let you the choice between a US or an EU power adaptor. However, we'll do all our possible so most people can get the power adaptor they need.
Right after the campaign, we'll send you a survey to count how many people need a UK adaptor, how many need a AU adaptor, etc. If you are enough to need the same adaptor, we'll do our best to ship it.
Not yet, but it's something high in our priority list. We are working on it.
Hopefully, in the near future, people living in the same house will be able to use a single Lima. They would be able to share the same hard drives, without sharing all of their data with each other.
However, this "family" feature will probably come only a few months after we ship.
For the time being, we advise you to consider using one Lima device per user: you will win both in convenience and performance.
We got loads of requests for putting USB3 and Gigabit ethernet in Lima, and we've serioulsy taken them into account.
We'd love to do it, because USB3 transfer speed makes everybody dream. And we can't miss a chance to make you happy.
However, two thing worry us:
1. First, for a small startup like us -- producing *only* (wooohooo!) 5,000 devices, putting USB3 and Gigabit ethernet would make Lima a -least- 2.5x more expensive than what it is today. You Lima would cost you around $200. In fact, putting USB3 is not just about changing the USB port: it's about redesigning the electronics inside Lima and changing every component inside. It would also make manufacturing far more expensive for us.
2. Second, even if USB3 would make you Lima device faster, we're not sure you'll feel a big enough difference when using our solution. Here are some explanations (let's go a bit technical):
When you connect an external USB hard drive directly to your computer, data is written directly on this drive everytime you modify or copy a file on it. So everythime you press "save" when editing a big file, your computer waits for the data to be transferred to your drive. This process was quite slow when using USB2: 480Mbps. USB3 is 5Gbps, or about 10x faster. That's why in this configuration, it makes a lot of sense.
However, when you connect your drive to Lima the process is different:
To avoid performance problems, we just apply a very simple rule: we keep temporary local copies of the files you use the most in your local drives (if possible). It means that when you ask for a file, your device will check if it doesn't have a temporary local copy of it. This is named "caching", and we do a lot! All these operations are transparent to you, the user.
So when you save a file, the data will be temporary stored on the local hard-drive/flash of your device. This is a very fast operation. In fact, the hard drives inside your computer use SATA3 to communicate with your system. SATA3 is 6Gbps: it's 20% faster than USB3! Of course, we *do* need to transfer these files to your Lima afterwards. But this second part is completely asynchronous: it's done in the background, so you won't feel it as a user. It *will* take some time, but as the file is already saved (at the opposite of what happens when you use a regular USB hard-drive), you won't have to wait for the writing to be done: so it doesn't matter that much.
Due to the small perceived difference between using USB2 or USB3 in the Lima device, we've opted for a USB2 design. Thanks to this choice, we could make Lima far more affordable. Our philosophy at CGC is to build devices with the best perceived performance as possible. Not to sell you big specifications that would make you pay more without being worth it.
Feel free to react. We'd like to hear your arguments.
What’s good with Lima is that it’s entirely private and decentralized. So Lima can work independently from any servers, and continue managing your data even if our startup dies (disclosure: we don’t plan anything like that).
The only thing we manage on our side of the equations are updates of our app and the web interface of Lima. In case of company crash, we’ll do our best to open source at least the most critical parts of our code, so the community continues improving the solution every night.
We already gave insights on this one, but here is a more complete answer:
"You also asked us about improvements, stretch goals, ... We need to deeply think about the implications of such choices before giving you a proper answer. We won't tell you ‘yes, we'll do it’ without *really* knowing if we are able to. Answering you too fast would not be serious.”
You gave us very interesting advices through this forum and via privates messages: USB3, Gigabit Ethernet, pledge discounts, multi-USB ports, free shipping, color options, a dock, a future discount for future versions of Lima. Some of these ideas are awesome. We’d love to receive more.
We’re thinking hard about what would be best for this campaign, but we can't tell you yet if we'll offer stretch goals or not. Our secret is that we don't want to make the production late because of additional goals. We’ll do our best.
Android and iOS applications will be provided. WP8 should follow. They'll be obviously free.
You'll be able to access and modify your files from our application, a little like you can do it today with the Dropbox app. The difference is that all your files will be there: from your “Desktop” folder to your “My Documents” folder. You’ll be able to listen to all the music from your “My Music” folder and to watch all your videos from your “My Videos” folder. Just like if you were on a PC or a Mac.
Anytime, you can ask Lima to keep files or folders for offline viewing. This enables you to access/edit this file or folder even without a data connection. It works a little like Spotify or Google Music.
Integration with other apps is done through the “Share” button: Lima enables you to send files to your friends in just a few clicks. When you take a picture from your smartphone or your tablet, it gets automatically uploaded to your “My Pictures” folder in Lima.
We also provide a SDK to enable mobile developers to integrate our technology deeper in their apps, to provide a new set of experiences.
Lima is not a folder like Dropbox or a hard-drive like a NAS. Lima is designed to replace the memory of your devices by itself, so that all your devices will have exactly the same memory, and (by extension) the same content.
So it’s like if your PC, your Mac, your smartphone and tablet had all exactly the same “hard-drive”.
Lima will bring more space to your devices. You won't feel any changes. You don't need to move your files in another location: just let them where they already are, in your "My Documents", "My Pictures", "My Videos", "My Desktop" folders.
Lima only manages your documents, music, pictures and videos, it ignores your applications and your systems files.
The following is a little techy. The last paragraph sums up.
Lima uses asymmetric cryptography. When Lima is installed, the application generates a RSA-2048 pair of keys, identifiable by the user's email, and with a private key protected by the user password. This private key, which is what authenticates a user in the Lima system, is stored in your Lima and your devices. We don't know this key because we don't have your password, so we cannot - us or anyone else - steal your identity.
AES is used to encrypt your files, using a key derived from your user key.
When you want to access your files from the Web, we'll ask Lima if you're really you: we're just a third-party, and we’ll do the relay. Even there, we won't see any of your data as everything is encrypted. Note that the Web access can be disabled if you don't even want us to be a relay.
To sum up, we developed Lima in such way that your Lima is the only one which contains your real identity card. It is impossible, even to us, to steal it. That's another reason why we are decentralized, and why we say Lima is an anti-PRISM solution: we cannot access your data, or provide the access to anyone, because the security is built this way.
This paragraph is a little technical. Feel free to ignore.
As mentioned, each one of your devices is connected to a decentralized P2P VPN.
Every "Lima"-ed device is given a unique name, a little like a domain name. Each device has to announce to the network its name and how to be contacted. And when another device wants to talk with it, it asks to the decentralized network how to reach it.
So, Lima works even if you don’t have a static IP. The VPN is made to handle this common situation.
If two "Lima"-ed devices want to talk with each other, and are on the same network, the transfer will be done locally, without going through the Internet. That's why transfers are faster when you're connected to the same LAN than the Lima.
Please be aware that most of the VPN solutions have a "star topology” (ie OpenVPN), meaning there's a central server somewhere which relays all traffic. This is not something which can be done with Lima, as we do *not* want to manage your traffic, for security reasons.
Lima supports the following file systems: FAT32, NTFS, HFS+, Ext3, Ext4.
If Lima can read the content of your drives, it will not format them. It will try to use them as is. The initial contents of your drive will be put in your computers, as shown in our demo video here: https://vimeo.com/69322475. You are free to reorganize these contents as you which in your computer.
Lima will only format your drives if they are unreadable. In this case, the default file system used will be Ext4. Of course, Lima will ask for a confirmation before formatting anything.
If you have several drives connected to Lima, they can use different file systems.
On your drives, Lima will reorganize your files to replicate the same folder hierarchy as your computers. Your files will be stored in readable format, so you can read your data directly from your disks should any problem occur.
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