Mashable - "...build an even closer connection between our real lives and mobile devices"
Engadget - "...similar to NFC tags, but with the advantage of a vastly greater range"
Geeky Gadgets - "...connect real world actions directly to your smartphone"
MyLovelyMac - "...Tod was built for some serious action"
Like many of you, the Rowdy Robot team loves to tinker with both software and hardware projects. Technology is moving so fast and there are so many amazing things that can be done.
For quite some time we have wanted to extend the functionality of the mobile devices we already own by being able to connect our projects to the web.
We experimented with a variety of options including Arduino, Active RFID and a few RF based technologies to create a smooth, seamless connection to a mobile device. These approaches had their strengths, but they were also too large, power hungry, expensive or complex to accomplish our goals.
So after a lot of hard work...
tōd (pronounced "toad") is an exciting and powerful new way to connect your mobile device* to the world around and right in front of you, using our bite-sized ultra low power Bluetooth 4.0 enabled Smart Beacons.
Simply attach or place a tōd Smart Beacon, that can run for years on a single coin-cell battery onto anything, anywhere you want to extend mobile device or web functionality. Or, you can interact with Smart Beacons placed by others that you are allowed to connect with.
When a real world action occurs — like your child wandering off, arriving at the corner market or your teenager not coming home — your mobile device will respectively register an ‘out of range’, ‘in range’ or ‘scheduled’ event based on physical proximity, or lack thereof, to a Smart Beacon.
These three core proximity events trigger a digital interaction that provides you with instant and automatic feedback. Be it a notification alerting you that your child has gone out of a predetermined range, an instant up-to-the-minute offer from the deli when you walk through their door, or informing you that your teenager did not come home as scheduled.
Smart Beacons extend the functionality of your mobile device by providing offline and web-connected experiences through the tōd App and tōd Cloud.
Your devices native functionality provides basic offline interactions with your Smart Beacons when not connected to the web. When connected to the web, you can experience the full range of digital interactions and connect to Smart Beacons other than your own.
Smart Beacons are programmable, providing open development for DIY platforms and electronic projects that can include sensors and other add-on modules. Smart Beacons offer an alternative to Wi-Fi for your projects by leveraging the versatility of Bluetooth Low Energy technology and your mobile device for connectivity.
How does it work?
Using the three core events of ‘in range, ‘out of range’ and ‘scheduled’ you can build and configure tōd App Interactions around everyday actions, people places or things. App Interactions are totally customizable and access rights can be public, private or in groups that you control.
Your tōd Smart Beacon and tōd App is ready to go out of the box with 10 Default App Interactions
Protect the ones you love with the Safety Perimeter Interaction. Simply
set the range you desire on the Smart Beacon, then rest at ease knowing you’ll be
alerted if your safe distance area has been breached. Whether you’re in the
backyard, at the park or anywhere you want to ensure they stay close by, Perimeter has you covered.
- When your child is wearing a smart beacon, you’ll know if they’ve left the yard or wandered to far away at the park
- If your pet is wearing a smart beacon and jumps the fence you will get a text, email or whatever notification method you choose automatically
Quickly find the last known location of your smart beacon by automatically dropping a GPS pin when any core event occurs.
With this pin on a map you can...
- find your car in a crowded parking lot, the last known location of your keys or anything that a smart beacon is attached to
- locate a Smart Beacon, like one attached to a lost pet, by utilizing the tōd App user network to anonymously report coordinates to you instantly when contact is made
With Locate it’s easy to find your Smart Beacons.
Use Engage to setup automatic alerts, messages and texts when tōd App users interact with a Smart Beacon.
You could use Engage...
- as part of an interactive family or company bulletin board
- to receive an email or text when your child arrives home from school and to deliver a reminder to do their Tuesday afternoon chores
- to send the updated morning memo and conference reminder to employees when they walk through the office door
- to automatically send a “I’m running late” email to your wife when you don’t leave work at a time you’ve set, then an “I'm on my way” text when you get to the Smart Beacon in your car
Automatically set configuration changes to your devices on any core proximity event.
For example Configure could...
- set your mobile phone to hands free and prevent texting when in range of the tōd Smart Beacon in your vehicle
- automatically clock in, if your workplace is tōd Enabled, when in proximity to the Smart Beacon at your desk
With the My Social Interaction you can integrate your social media accounts to trigger social updates on any core proximity event.
- enable 1-click or automatic status updates on any core proximity event
- automatically check in when you walk in the door to the tōd Enabled shops, venues and other places you love
- seamlessly leave reviews and ratings for the tōd Enabled places you visit
The In Crowd
You can quickly and easily share information across a large tōd Enabled crowd or event.
With the In Crowd Interaction...
- a speaker at a conference can instantly share their presentation materials, bio and digital business card to the tōd Enabled crowd in proximity to their Smart Beacon
- at a tōd enabled wedding, guests can sign the digital guestbook and upload candid photos and videos of your special day
For those that are single or just looking to mingle, your personal online tōd profile can be configured to request an instant face to face connection based on compatibility and a mutual desire to connect when in proximity of a Smart Beacon.
With Mingle you can...
- connect with other singles that share your common interests
- enjoy a conversation at the coffee shop with someone you know you have things in common with
One part location, one part proximity, tōd Let’s Play Interactions are all fun. With text, pictures, audio or videos you can take your interactive adventure to the next level.
Let's Play Interactions will get you off the couch and using your devices to interact with the world around you.
- Clowns are so 90’s, this year create an interactive video scavenger hunt for your next party
- The next time you’re out in the wild hide a tōd to share a custom badge with others that hit your favorite trail
You’re an active customer and tōd Feedback Interactions make it easy to interact with your favorite local tōd Enabled places.
- Take the reward cards out of the wallet where they’re forgotten and into the tōd App where using them is automatic
- Good or bad, now you can quickly let them know how they’re doing across a variety of platforms using surveys, ratings and reviews... all in 1 app
With Build you have the power to create your own rich, instant and interactive tōd experiences with no advanced degree or technical knowledge needed!
Those are just a few examples of what is possible when triggering the core proximity events to create real world interactions with the tōd Smart Beacon and tōd App.
With the free tōd App on your Bluetooth Smart Ready device you can start interacting with tōd Smart Beacons instantly and automatically, even if you’re not connected to the web.
The tōd App also allows for easy registration and management of your tōd Smart Beacons, including settings for who can interact, when they can interact and what happens when they do.
For the security conscious the tōd App gives you full control over the information you share across App Interactions and through your Smart Beacons.
All of the configuration and management features of the tōd App, in addition to the Build Interaction are accessible from our online Dashboard as well.
Smart Beacon Specification
At the heart of tōd lies the Smart Beacon, which offers...
- Bluetooth Smart 4.0 connectivity
- capable of running for years on a single coin cell battery
- adjustable transmission range from 3 to 500 feet
- small form factor, place anywhere sizing
- options for add-on module expandability
- active RFID-like properties with better range and power
- programming and debugging options for developers
- water resistant case
App Developers can leverage the tōd Cloud to create rich, branded, and interactive experiences for tōd App Users. App developers can also connect to the tōd API for creating and launching proprietary apps. The tōd Cloud and API drastically reduces the costs and time to market for your Bluetooth 4.0 enabled project.
For hardware developers, the tōd Smart Beacon provides an affordable plug and play opportunity to experiment with secure Bluetooth 4.0 technology. The tōd Smart Beacon can be easily coupled with a variety of DIY platforms and projects thanks to the included data and debug pins.
Developers can program the tōd Smart Beacon and create add-on modules to connect to the provided data headers, that could include;
- temperature data
- accelerometer data
- energy consumption data
- heart rate data
- light detection
- motion detection
- moisture detection
- sound detection
- Human Interfaces (game controllers, keyboards, remote controls)
- LED displays
With a development community, getting started is easy and we can’t wait to see the amazing things created using the tōd ecosystem in the vast array of emerging Bluetooth 4.0 markets.
The design for the tōd Smart Beacon electronics and enclosures have been completed, several prototypes have been received for verification of the circuit design and functionality so we are ready to move to full production. We have evaluated the costs and timelines with several US manufacturers who are ready for production upon payment.
In order to make tōd Smart Beacons affordable we need to order them in batches over a 1000 as the costs to produce a single beacon is $68.00. While this isn't terrible compared to other current Bluetooth 4.0 options, we want to make them much more affordable so our goal is production of at least 1500 Smart Beacons.
Manufacturing the Smart Beacons is the easy part and the they will be completed within a month of receiving our project funds. However, the tōd App and tōd Cloud will be built on a robust HTML 5 architecture so that we can release the tōd App on iOS, Android and WinMobile app markets in addition to an Online Dashboard.
Finalizing the development of this web based architecture will require more time due to the robust features that we are launching with and the feedback that we are requesting from the Kickstarter Crowd. This is the basis for our October delivery date, however over funding of our initial goal will be used to reduce development timelines.
In order to get the power of Bluetooth 4.0 with the tōd Smart Beacons into the hands of hardware developers and DIY hobbyist's, we will be shipping the Smart Beacon and Development Kit rewards when they are manufactured at the end of July 2012 to those that are interested. These early roll-outs will be shipped with the understanding that they are for hardware development only and that only the BlueGiga SDK and TI Debugger software will be available.
When we release the tōd Cloud and tōd API in October, these early release Smart Beacons can be registered to leverage our development protocol.
We are very excited for the future of tōd with plans for an array of sensors and add-on modules to extend the functionality of your tōd Smart Beacons. We are actively engaging existing products and services that could be enhanced by the power of the tōd Cloud, tōd App and Smart Beacons.
After several thousand dollars and hundreds of hours, we have come as far as we can in this process.
We have quotes with several companies to manufacture and assemble at least 1500 tōd Smart Beacons and enclosures. We have also evaluated several opportunities for software and App completion. These quotes are based on our stated goals and Backer Reward timelines.
To make this all happen we need $50,000. To meet this goal we we need your help Kickstarter and to say thanks we have setup some great Kickstarter Backer Rewards.
In addition to funding we also value the opinion of our Kickstarter backers for our final product design. So we will be asking for feedback and input on t-shirt designs, enclosure colors and designs as well as which social media and feedback platforms will will integrate with at launch. In this case majority will rule making the top 3 choices part of the project. Backers will also vote on which app market we will launch in first.
Click “Back This Project” to see what tōd can do for you!
*Since Bluetooth 4.0 is the new standard implemented in 2011, this cutting edge Smart Ready technology is currently only available on the iPhone 4S, the new iPad, Mac Mini, MacBook Air and the Droid RAZR. We will update this list as more Smart Ready Devices are released. Windows 8 has already announced it will be Bluetooth 4.0 compatible. According to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), “By the end of 2012, virtually all new smartphones will include the Bluetooth v4.0 technology...”.
We understand that there are many products that have been on the market for years that can do similar things. Here's what separates us from the rest:
1. Low Energy - The ability to run for years on a single coin cell battery trumps anything currently on the market.
2. One Platform. Many Uses - Put simply, we are not restricting our product to a single use. Between the App, the Cloud, and the ability to add sensors and other expansion modules onto our Smart Beacons, users can own a single product and choose which functionality they want from it.
3. Developer Friendly - We have created our Smart Beacons with open development in mind. This allows for wide variety of sensors and other modules to be created and distributed not to mention the mobile and desktop applications that can be created around it.
4. Stand Alone - There are many apps that do similar, pseudo proximity functions but don't allow for 'set and forget' applications. With the tōd Smart Beacon, you can place it anywhere, set the interactions and permissions you want, leave it be and let it do all the work for you.
As you can see, the tōd Smart Beacon stands out from the rest, offering the best of all worlds.
The idea of a proximity based interaction system was built around a transmit only device, the tōd Smart Beacon!
Yes we do, add $15 to your reward and we will ship outside of the United States.
You bet! We have setup some links on our site at: http://todhq.com/Preorder.html
We will be taking pre-orders until we are ready to begin manufacturing which will occur towards the end of June 2012.
Absolutely! Just pledge the total amount of the rewards combined, select one of the rewards, and when we send out surveys after funding just let us know which other rewards you wanted.
*NOTE: The Early Adopter is a One Per Backer reward but you can combine it with other rewards.
Currently, tōd is compatible with the iPhone 4S, new iPad, new Macbook Air, new Mac Mini, and the Droid Razr. However, there is a USB Bluetooth Low Energy Dongle by Bluegiga for $30 that plugs into a PC or Mac further extending tōds compatibility. If you would like one of these dongles, please add $30 to your reward level, and we’ll ship one out to you. If you want more than one, just add $30 for each additional USB dongle. Also, for a future project we hope to provide compatibility for non-compatible smartphones and other devices with our own device specific dongle.
A Texas Instruments Debugger Kit is needed in order to license and access the firmware software and connect your computer to the Smart Beacon to add your own firmware. Utilization of BlueGiga's SDK and BGScript firmware language is also required to create your own solutions.
As a very special THANK YOU to our Kickstarter backers, we are delivering Smart Beacons below the suggested retail price of $39.99 each.
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