Let's talk affordable home automation
Well, there is not much to talk about. Current solutions are crazy expensive and difficult to setup. That's why we created Hook!
What is Hook?
Hook is a device that connects inexpensive remote-controlled outlet adapters and bulb sockets to the Internet. This enables existing appliances and lighting in the home like lamps, light bulbs, coffeemaker, window fan - anything that is powered by electricity - to be controlled with your phone from anywhere in the world.
And you only need one Hook for your entire home! Neat!
But, wait! What are these Outlet Adapter and Bulb Sockets that you talk about?
These remote-controlled outlet adapters and bulb sockets are already commercially available. You can buy them today from Amazon, Home Depot and Costco. They come with a remote control. An appliance plugged into the outlet or a bulb screwed into the socket can be turned on/off with press of the button on the remote. They are really inexpensive - often as low as $5/ea in pack of five. They work on RF 315/433MHz frequencies and are not line-of-sight.
But they only work inside the house and only if you can find the darn remote!
Hook can make these outlets adapters and bulb sockets Smart. All you have to do is clone the remote control to the Hook app once. It's fun!
Once the remote is on the phone, you can control the appliances and lighting, connected through the outlet adapters and bulb sockets, from anywhere in the world!
It gets better! Hook works with IFTTT (now IF). You can schedule operations of routine tasks like operating holiday lights between sunset and sunrise and create rule-based scenarios like turning your coffee maker 'on' when the alarm goes off.
And the best part! If you already own these remote-controlled outlet adapters and bulb sockets, you can make them Internet-connected with Hook. Just clone the remote once and you are good to go!
By making inexpensive outlet adapters and bulb sockets smart, Hook enables home automation without breaking the bank.
Hook wants to make every home smart! We have customized the tiers to suit your needs.
Outlet adapters or Bulb Sockets - What to get? For anything you will plug in to an electrical outlet get an outlet adapter. For lamps, get outlet adapters. Bulb sockets work best with ceiling lights.
Hook does not ship with a USB wall adapter. You can use ANY standard wall charger like an old iPhone charger to power Hook. Or get one from us that's guaranteed to work with Hook! Just add $5 to your pledge.
Why USB? USB helped us keep costs down while allowing tinkerer in you to get access to Hook's core.
If you pledge for one of the kits, you have two options to get part of your reward:
Get the outlets and sockets early (June '15).Get started with home automation sooner and do the pairing yourself with Hook when it ships (it's simple, fun, and one-time). Hook will still arrive around Dec. '15.
Get everything pre-programmed with Hook (Dec. '15). The outlets and bulb sockets come pre-programmed and ready to go with your Hook.
You don't have to decide now. We will get your preference in the survey sent out after the campaign ends.
The Hook app will be available for iOS and Android when the Hook ships. It controls outlet adapters and bulb sockets connected to the Hook. It monitors the state of appliances and lights connected to the outlet adapters and bulb sockets even when you don't use the app to control them. You can still use the remote to control. The app makes it easier to remember your devices by allowing you to name them. It also enables simple rule-based scenarios through IFTTT (now IF). Hook app will also have machine learning built-in so that it can learn to serve you better. For example, it can notify you if you accidentally leave an appliance On, like a space heater or curling iron. When you get more outlet adapters and bulb sockets, the app allows you to clone the new remote to your phone.
- 1. Connect Hook to a USB power source - an old iPhone USB adapter will do.
- 2. Connect lamps and appliances to outlet adapters, and light bulbs to bulb sockets.
- 3. Pair the remote(s) - Skip this step if you are getting them pre-programmed.
- 4. Enjoy the benefits of a smart home!
Imagine a cold winter night. You are all cozy in your bed. You notice that you forgot to turn off the stupid lamp. You don't want to get out of the bed to turn it off, yet it is bothering you...
This is what exactly happened to our Anigo multiple times! He found the inexpensive remote controlled outlets at Home Depot. He figured this would solve the problem but every now and then, he would lose the remote. What he always had with home was his phone. Then, a desire was born - to connect these outlets to the Internet so that the lamp can be controlled with a phone.
Anigo met Rahil and found that even had a similar experience, but the smart electronics whiz that Rahil is, he was already a step ahead. Thanks to the internet and wonderful people at Spark community, he had built the first version of Hook with wires soldered to the remote itself!
However, with the 'Hack', Hook was still far from a commercial solution. What we discovered next became the essence of Hook’s innovation. We figured a way so that everybody can do the 'hack' - and make any existing remote controlled outlet adapters and bulb sockets SMART.
At this point it struck them that this could be something real and viable. Max and Rahil were colleagues. He looped him in the project. Max 3D-printed multiple variants of the Hook, starting from a circular box-like enclosure to the current version - hexagon with a twist.
The Hook project became a full-fledged team when Robert joined us. We founded Hack-a-Joe Labs LLC, filed a patent for RF-to-WiFi technology, and started working heads-down to make Hook a reality.
At this moment, we are actively making minor tweaks and improvements and finalizing the design for production. We have 30 prototypes with our alpha testers and have been getting great feedback. Our app and web service are being developed in collaboration with our partner SimplifyS.
Hook has partnered with Etekcity and GGI International to bring exclusive pricing of remote-controlled outlet adapters and bulb sockets to our backers. We have partnered with Simplifys software solutions to build the entire software stack and the iOS and Android apps.
Maxwell Wheeler - Product Design
Maxwell has helped design and manufacture products for large companies as well as multiple startups. He holds a degree from Northern Arizona University in Mechanical Engineering and has years of experience in machine shops and rapid prototyping facilities.
Anigo - Software Adviser
Anirudh is a professional software engineer with 6 years of software development experience. His passion is to tinker with web services and connected devices to make the world a smarter place.
Rahil Jain - Hardware Design
Rahil is a Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering department at UW, Seattle. He has worked with companies developing home automation technologies and is currently involved in various Internet of Things efforts.
Robert Moehle - Business Management
Robert is in the Foster Technology Management MBA class of 2015. He has assisted with managing the early stages of multiple startups from founding to initial revenue. Robert holds a Master of Engineering from Parks College, Saint Louis University.
We don't want to be just another Home Automation solution. Instead we want Hook to empower everything dumb with smart capabilities! Whether it be your lights, appliances, your bathroom scale or your toothbrush - we want to make your existing gadgets and devices smart!
By contributing to our project and help us get Hook to market, you will not only get a great product, but also kickstart a young company consisting of four passionate and dedicated engineers who have a very different vision of connected home.
Lastly, Kickstarter isn't just a way to raise money for us. We want to take this opportunity to get valuable feedback from the community to make a great product.
We have tested with every remote controlled outlet adapter and bulb socket out there to make sure Hook supports them. If you have something that you aren't sure about, let us know and we'd happy to look into it.
In theory, Hook should be able to connect any device working on RF 315/433MHz to the Internet as long as it has static codes. Car remotes work on same frequency - but they will not work. Some old garage door openers might.
Other than outlet adapter and bulb socket, we have tested Hook with following and found them to be compatible:
Risks and challenges
Kickstarter campaign is much like writing Phd general exam proposal (personal experience on our team). Before proposing your thesis aims, you identify all the risks, all the things that could go wrong and then take proactive steps to iron out the concerns or prevent them altogether. We have applied the same approach in bringing this campaign to you.
Even the most prepared can fall short. This is especially true for hardware projects. We do understand that delays and issues can occur at any stage of production. However, we want to assure you we have a unique access to resources and advisers who want to build Hook as much as we do, and we believe this synergy is key to success.
Lastly, if an unexpected scenario does occur, we do promise to keep absolute transparency and to keep our backers always in loop. We are committed to bringing you the best possible product to our backers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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