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Crownstone - the smart power outlet (Canceled) project video thumbnail
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€71,435 pledged of €200,000 goal
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By DoBots
€71,435 pledged of €200,000 goal
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About this project

The Crownstone is a EU/US power outlet that can switch and dim devices and lamps based on your presence. It has fancy device detection on-board that raises smartphone alerts when someone rings the doorbell, unplugs the television at night, or when your fridge breaks down!

The Crowstone is a multifunctional product that simultaneously brings you comfort and reduces your energy bills.

There is no need to turn off every device or lamp when you are going for groceries! The Crownstones are nice gadgets. However, they are more than just nifty products, they are a first step to make your home aware of you and your presence. The Crownstones become the eyes and ears of your home to optimally cater to your needs.

The Crownstones are very affordable. You get a kit with 2 or 3 Crownstones for 75 euro (85 usd) excl. VAT or less with larger quantities. Apart from cool functions such as proximity and device detection a Crownstone replaces a dimmer, standby killer, iBeacon, wake-up light, timer, and smart meter with a single device! 

The retail price for the plug-in Crownstone will be 50 euro per piece excl. VAT (60 euro incl.). Your participation in this Kickstarter brings this product to life and gives you a nice reduction at the same time!

The Crownstones form a mesh network. This means that, when switching on one Crownstone, others can be switched on as well, yet only one of them needs to be connected to your smartphone to be able to reach the internet. 

The Crownstone comes in two flavors: a ready-to-go kit and a self-install kit. A kit contains multiple Crownstones (two or three).

The ready-to-go kit comes in two versions: one for US power outlets, which are designed to switch devices on a grid with a voltage of 110V (type B for USA, Canada, Mexico, and Japan), and one for European power outlets which are are designed for 240V (type C, E, and F for Europe, Russia, and South-America). The ready-to-go kit comes with detailed instructions on how to use the Crownstones in a range of scenarios and an iOS or Android app for your smartphone or tablet.

The installation procedure for the plug-in version. :-)
The installation procedure for the plug-in version. :-)

The self-install kit contains three built-in Crownstones. These can be installed in any of your existing power outlets (110V as well as 240V) anywhere in the world. The built-in Crownstones have the same functionality as the plug-in versions, but are two-thirds of the price. The self-install kit comes with detailed instructions to install this version of the Crownstone. It’s not necessary to wait till you buy a new home, they are designed to be installed behind any (new or existing) power outlet!

Exploded view of the built-in Crownstone behind a US power outlet. You can put one or two Crownstones behind (thickness is 0.4 inch / 10mm)
Exploded view of the built-in Crownstone behind a US power outlet. You can put one or two Crownstones behind (thickness is 0.4 inch / 10mm)
Exploded view of the built-in Crownstone behind a European power outlet. Note, that you can put it behind any power outlet (and most light switches) in the world though!
Exploded view of the built-in Crownstone behind a European power outlet. Note, that you can put it behind any power outlet (and most light switches) in the world though!

The built-in Crownstone can be used in any country worldwide that allows products with CE/FCC/UL/RoHS certification. The built-in Crownstone can be placed in many junction boxes because it is quite thin (10 mm). If you're uncertain send us a picture of the type of junction box used in your country! This variant of the Crownstone can also be fitted in electrical boxes that are not behind a power outlet, such as the ones used for light fixtures or ceiling fans.

The electrical components used by the Crownstone are very high-quality, mostly produced by US companies. The chip is of Scandinavian design. The original design is created by an international team from the US, Italy, Holland, among others. Our plug-in Crownstones are the perfect product for American and European power outlets, while our built-in versions are suitable for any socket worldwide!

  • Turn devices on and off through your smartphone
  • Dim the lights
  • Measure power consumption of appliances
  • Localize smartphones, smartwatches, and fitness trackers
  • Identify appliances based on their energy consumption
  • Turn devices on and off based on your presence
  • iOS and Android apps for your smartphone and tablet to fully customize your experience (no technical know-how required)

The Crownstone has many functions that can help you around the house. Device recognition is an important enabler for this. Think about:

  • Identification of an electric kettle: fire can be prevented if somehow the kettle stays on (this happens with a lot of them if you forget to close the lid).
  • Identification of the television: if someone unplugs the television at night or when you’re not at home, you might want to know.
  • Identification of phone chargers: remind someone to recharge their phone (especially useful if you use your phone as a wake-up alarm).
  • Identification of a modem: automatically reset modem when anomalous behavior is detected.
  • Identification of the fridge: when you leave the house, everything will be turned off except for the fridge!
  • Identification of devices such as vacuums: if you want to know the power consumption of a vacuum, this should be monitored over multiple power outlets.
  • Identification of lamps: not all lights can be dimmed, your power outlet can automatically detect this for you. The Crownstone can dim both LED lights and normal lights.
  • Identification of electric furnaces and heaters: a furnace or heater uses a lot of energy and shouldn't be on when you're not home.
  • Identification of no device at all: child-lock protect your power outlets; sockets don’t need to be on when you're not nearby.

These functions will be available in our smartphone app. Third-party developers will bring in even more functions thanks to our open API. 

  • Nordic nRF51822 chip with 32 kB RAM
  • S130 Softdevice which can function as BLE server and peripheral
  • Secure Bluetooth 4.2 (with Elliptic curve Diffie–Hellman for key exchange)
  • Mesh functionality using RFC 6206
  • Dimming of high and low power LEDs and light bulbs (using IGBTs)
  • Switching of 16A heavy loads (using a relay, up to 3800 W)
  • Programmable as iBeacon / AltBeacon / Eddystone on +4dBm and 20ms advertisement intervals (better than Apple’s standard)
  • Feeds directly from the grid, no batteries required 
  • Current / voltage measuring frequency up to 2kHz.
  • Soft-fuse functionality to limit extreme currents
  • On-chip temperature monitoring (switches off with extreme temperatures)
  • Energy usage monitoring per minute, hour, day, weeks or yearly overviews
  • Timer functionality and wake-up light functionality
  • Dimensions of built-in Crownstone: 55x37x10mm (LxWxH).
  • Dimensions of plug-in Crownstone (US): 52 mm Ø, 36 mm height
  • Dimensions of plug-in Crownstone (EU): 52 mm Ø, 54 mm height
  • Open-source firmware on Github, a smartphone API, open-source apps, and open-hardware
  • Native consumer app for iOS and Android. Cordova-based consumer app for other platforms (Windows Mobile).

Please, go back to the Kickstarter to back us after you visit these links! :-) 

Photograph of the EU prototype. You can see the RFduino module from RF Digital!
Photograph of the EU prototype. You can see the RFduino module from RF Digital!
Photograph of the built-in prototype. This PCB is made as flat as possible to fit everywhere in the world.
Photograph of the built-in prototype. This PCB is made as flat as possible to fit everywhere in the world.

In the video at the top of the page you see several clips. Some are shot using the built-in chip, some with the plug-in Crownstone. You see us switching and dimming lights, measuring temperature, and detecting proximity through monitoring the signal strength (RSSI) of the smartphone. The Microview shows that the data measured on the Crownstone is also displayed in the smartphone app. In addition, you see a small part of the sine curve sampled at around 2kHz, upon which we are further improving. Note that, for device recognition, low-resolution data is sufficient.

The device classification that is shown is rudimentary, but we will be porting more sophisticated algorithms to the smartphone from Octave and Weka, over which you can read more on the DoBots blog.

Our indoor localization solution uses a combination of Extended Kalman filters and particle filters to automatically figure out the location of any beacon (including Crownstones) and any person carrying a smartphone. The code is again open-source and can be found on Github.

Crownstones function as iBeacons and pinpoint your location in the home using so-called SLAM.
Crownstones function as iBeacons and pinpoint your location in the home using so-called SLAM.

Your smartphone functions as a hub which makes this product so affordable. We also provide software for a Raspberry PI or Udoo to function as home automation center. We will also integrate with popular BLE hubs such as the Homey or Google's OnHub. A REST API will be provided to be able to interface with from online.

The design of one of the PCBs
The design of one of the PCBs
A CAD model of the US plug-in Crownstone.
A CAD model of the US plug-in Crownstone.

As frequent backers, we are surprised at how infrequent project updates can be. With our team of seven people, we will be able to give you an actual insight into our process. For example, we’ve already had fifty students working with the Crownstone hardware a few months ago, and have posted a detailed description of this process on our blog. In addition to that, we put our code on Github. Not only the code on the Crownstone itself, but also the code behind our smartphone apps. For example, I’m Busy uses the indoor localization feature of the Crownstone to indicate that you’re too busy to pick up the phone. With regular project updates, we’ll make sure to keep you up to speed with all the nitty-gritty details!

For developers that want to start as soon as possible we have a separate pledge for a developer kit. This kit contains 6 built-in Crownstones with programming headers, an ST-link programmer (the larger board), a development board with isolation (smaller board), proper cables, and an SDK. The development kit is without CE certification, and can be delivered early, namely March 2016. You can also add the development kit (249 euro) to your current pledge level to get both developer and consumer kits.

The rewards will get you the real product from the SMART BUNGALOW tiers and up. We especially invite you all to come to Rotterdam for our very affordable workshop!

The costs of delivery depend on the destination and will be listed at checkout. The rewards exclude VAT. 

The Crownstone’s primary objective is to be interoperable with many devices. This is the main reason we have chosen mainstream Bluetooth Low-Energy technology. It means you will be able to integrate with wireless flic buttons, with hubs such as homey, and fitness trackers such as fitbit. We will support IFTTT, so you can also connect to devices that do not have Bluetooth, or have an SMS sent to you when someone presses your powered doorbell.

 Arduino

At 300 000 euro we will make the Crownstone fully Arduino compatible. The current code (C and C++) will be accessible through code in your Arduino sketch. New sketches will be uploaded to the Crownstone through a Bluetooth Low-Energy connection.

 Apple Homekit & Weave

At 500 000 euro we will make the Crownstone compatible with Apple Homekit and the Weave protocol. Towards Apple Homekit the selected nRF51822 chip is already able to run the required encryption methods. Weave is a protocol from Google that can run on top of our software.

The DoBots team is extremely well versed in a wide variety of skills. Our technical team all have master’s degrees at Dutch or international universities. Above all: we like a good challenge!

It is easy to contact each of us individually. Just use our first name and attach @dobots.nl at the end.

Our special thanks go out to Alex de Mulder who made our top notch pitch video and 3D renderings, Chloé Pothof for her linguistic skills, and the JMP team of industrial design at the TU Delft!

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Share your knowledge and become a local ambassador for smart home automation! We will put a website online where people can contact ambassadors about questions concerning smart homes, home automation, or just electrical wiring. This forum will be open to everybody. This way, you can help your neighbours with changing a light bulb, or organize hackerspaces and tech events to make everybody’s home smarter. Needless to say that it would be nice for non-ambassadors - such as your grandmother, or just the not so tech-savvy people among us - to find ambassadors to help them with such issues. We’d be happy to see that the Crownstone would be an enabler to create a community around smart homes in all your neighborhoods! You can become a “smart home”-ambassador of your city by sending an email to ambassador@dobots.nl with your name, the name of your city and country, and why you think you would be a great ambassador.

Thanks everybody for featuring this pretty cool product! :-)

A press release kit with more background information can be found at http://crownstone.rocks/media.

Risks and challenges

# Patents
Nothing would be worse than having our product shipped and then suddenly having to pay others for patents we unknowingly breached. Hence, we filed our own patent to protect you as a user. Filing a patent is a cumbersome process and will have its setbacks, but we're certain our product is so unique that we will be able to protect it and give you all the freedom to use it.

# Mass production
To go from null-series production to mass production is not a trivial affair. We have selected multiple local parties with production plants in China. One of these partners has extended experience with Kickstarter projects in general. This way we made sure the offers for mass production are realistic.

# Large demand
We will be very happy if the demand exceeds our expectations. In this case there will be more items to be manufactured, which will only slightly increase the length of the production period. We make sure that shipment won’t be delayed due to larger shipment quantities, by using a professional fulfillment center.

# Certification
The certification period required to obtain CE/FCC/UL/RoHS depends on the quality of the tests that are done beforehand. To improve the quality of these tests, we make use of a select set of external experts. For example, we already have extensive reports about heat dissipation for the built-in Crownstone in walls of a variety of materials.

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    Pledge €1 or more About $1.13

    I love you guys!

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    Wall of fame. Your name on the Crownstone.rocks website!

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    Test screwdriver with Crownstone logo that lights up if the wires are live! A good tool for any electricity related activity!

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    EARLY BIRD - The SMART COTTAGE reward early birds! A single "self-install kit" with 3 built-in Crownstones or a "ready-to-go kit" with 2 plug-in Crownstones.

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    SMART COTTAGE. A single "self-install kit" with 3 built-in Crownstones or a "ready-to-go kit" with 2 plug-in Crownstones.

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    SUPER EARLY BIRD - The SMART BUNGALOW reward for the very first early birds! Two kits, this can be any combination of "self-install kits" and "ready-to-go kits".

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    EARLY BIRD - The SMART BUNGALOW reward for early birds! Two kits, this can be any combination of "self-install kits" and "ready-to-go kits".

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    SMART BUNGALOW. Two kits, this can be any combination of "self-install kits" and "ready-to-go kits".

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    SMART HOUSE. Three kits, this can be any combination of "self-install kits" and "ready-to-go kits".

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    DEVELOPMENT KIT. This kit contains 6 built-in Crownstones with programming headers, an ST-link programmer, a development board with isolation, cables, and an SDK. The kit is for development, without CE certification, and delivered very early. You can also add the development kit (249 euro) to your current pledge level.

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    SMART MANSION. Five kits, this can be any combination of "self-install kits" and "ready-to-go kits".

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    Pledge €690 or more About $783

    SMART CASTLE. Ten kits, this can be any combination of "self-install kits" and "ready-to-go kits".

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    The SMART CASTLE package plus a personal 1 day workshop at DoBots. You will meet our fantastic team, have the opportunity to ask all your questions, and can choose to learn all about the Crownstone and BLE tech in particular, or home automation, indoor localization, and device recognition in general!

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Funding period

- (60 days)