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NODE Chroma, a wireless color scanner for iOS and computers's video poster

NODE Chroma, the first Bluetooth 4.0 color sensor that accurately scans any surface color into iOS apps. Read more

Chattanooga, TN Hardware
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This project was successfully funded on December 7, 2012.

NODE Chroma, the first Bluetooth 4.0 color sensor that accurately scans any surface color into iOS apps.

Chattanooga, TN Hardware
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About this project

You've already met NODE, a Kickstarter-funded wireless sensor platform for smartphones. We have delivered many NODEs to the Kickstarter backer community. Now, Variable Technologies proudly introduces Chroma, an accurate color sensing module for the NODE platform. We have prototyped and tested Chroma and now we need your help to fund the manufacturing of Chroma to make it a reality.


Twitter: @variabletech

Press Coverage:



David Pogue's Holiday Gift Guide

What is Chroma:

Life is colorful. So, naturally, when we developed NODE and started dreaming about all the different interchangeable modules we could develop, we planned to create a module for exploring and capturing the best colors we see around us. 

Chroma collect colors, translate them into color codes, and store them on your smartphone or PC for later use. 


  • find the right paint to match your favorite object
  • collect colors to match other objects
  • match color for printing
Chroma scans accurate color into your smartphone and compares colors
Chroma scans accurate color into your smartphone and compares colors
Chroma can help you find the right paint
Chroma can help you find the right paint
How we test Chroma
How we test Chroma

How does Chroma work:

Chroma is able to capture colors using a combination of white LEDs, a sophisticated photosensor, and a specialized end cap to block out ambient light. With all surrounding light removed, Chroma projects perfect white LED light onto any flat surface, bouncing the true color back into the light receptor. The clear, red, blue, and green sensors capture that color and process the data into a color code or value. We currently display sRGB, CMYK, CIE L*a*b*, and Hex values, with more color systems planned for the future.

Chroma Cut Away
Chroma Cut Away

Chroma Specification:

Color information provided:

  • CIE L*a*b* D65

  • sRGB D65

  • HEX

  • CMYK

  • DeltaE 2000 for color comparison

  • Color graphic displayed on iOS device is an approximate representation of the color scanned. Exact color information can only be attained by the numeric color information. 
  • Chroma color information provides within 1% average difference from actual color values when tested against MacBeth ColorChecker Calibration Target. (Measured under temperature: 24°C ±2°C)
  • Consistency: < 0.80 deltaE reading to reading consistency of the same color under the same temperature
  • Color collection (scan history): limited to available space of user's iOS device
  • Measurement Time: Approximately 1 second
  • Measurement Area: 1.9 cm^2
  • Hardware Connectivity: Chroma module connects to NODE Kore from Variable Technologies
  • Smart Device Compatibility: Chroma+Kore compatible with Bluetooth Low Energy Devices: iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, new iPad, iPad Mini


With Chroma, you can collect a color you see riding your bike down the street to save it for use later in a design. With a simple app from Variable, use NODE as an I-spy scavenger hunt toy. Use Chroma for quality control, making sure manufactured items are to specification, regardless of the lighting conditions. Redecorating your house? Grab the value of a color you love and take it to your local hardware store. You can literally paint with the colors around you. 

Not familiar with the NODE platform? 

Here's a crash course. NODE was a Kickstarter funded project that was brought to reality by the Variable Technologies team.

NODE communicates with smartphones using Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE), also known as Bluetooth Smart, which uses less energy than Wifi or standard Bluetooth. Using BLE, NODE can communicate with newer iPhones, iPods and iPads at a distance of up to 50 meters. 

Each NODE has two ports for sensor modules. These interchangeable modules enhance and broaden the amazing capability of our little device. So far we've developed four modular sensors that connect to NODE: Luma, Clima, Therma, and Oxa. These modules, or attachments, allow Node to sense everything from the light level in a room, to the humidity in your basement, to the temperature of your hot stovetop from a safe distance away. Chroma is our newest sensor module. By the way, we love hearing from our community -- we're not the only ones with bright ideas! That's why we're back on Kickstarter, bringing the latest and greatest we have to offer and providing you with the chance to support something awesome. We are eager to hear your thoughts!

NODE Specs

  • Bluetooth 4.0 that works with your iOS device
  • 12-14 hours continuous, 30 days standby battery life  
  • Lithium Polymer battery (650 mAh) 
  • 4 MB on-board memory 
  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • 3-axis magnetometer 
  • 3-axis gyroscope  
  • Audio buzzer 
  • 2 module ports 
  • 2 blue and 2 red dimmable LEDs 
  • Micro-USB for charging and firmware programming 

Compatible Devices:

  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 4S
  • iPad 3 and 4
  • iPad Mini
  • iPod Touch 5th Generation
  • Android devices coming in the future depending on availability of BT4.0 API

Risks and challenges

Our key challenges for Chroma are similar to the manufacturing of NODE. In fact, we have learned so much from our project to make NODE that we are much faster and better than before.

The majority of the funds will be used for making the injection molds for Chroma and to buy components.

- Plastic Mold

There are several plastic components for Chroma. The injection molded plastic parts are going to be made using the same supplier for NODE. This takes ~3-4 weeks. For the Christmas gift pledge, we will be machining the plastic parts.

- Machined Aluminum module enclosure

The Chroma enclosure will feature a machined aluminum part that will be CNC machined and anodized by our supplier. This will take ~2 weeks.

- Color Calibration

We have designed Chroma to be extremely accurate in part because of our calibration process against a set of reference colors. Each Chroma requires separate calibration that takes time and may slow down our delivery speed.

- Circuit Board Assembly

We assemble the circuit boards in-house which allows maximum control over the process. We have limited capacity but can outsource to other companies.

- App

We have a proven app submission process with Apple app store. Our NODE app is already in the app store. However, each app submission is different and the full Chroma app may take some time for approval. We will include simple Chroma function in our existing NODE app so the backers receiving rewards before Christmas will be able to use it.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter



  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    7 backers

    Want to see this project succeed? So do we! Pitch in your support in exchange for our undying gratitude.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    73 backers Limited (427 left of 500)

    You backed us once, and here's a special thank you

    FOR EXISTING OWNERS OF NODE PLATFORM, one Chroma module to be delivered before Christmas.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $149 or more

    126 backers

    One NODE platform with Chroma module. At this level you'll receive your very own Chroma sensor module, AND we'll include the NODE platform so you can start using it right away. We're skipping right to the goods. With your support, we'll be able to ship the finished technology very soon.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $199 or more

    5 backers

    One NODE platform with Chroma module and one Bluetooth 4.0 USB dongle that let you scan color to any PC or Mac.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $225 or more

    50 backers Limited (50 left of 100)

    Have a geek in the family you want to make especially happy? Wondering what to get for yourself this Christmas? At this level you'll receive advanced holiday delivery of one NODE platform with Chroma. Just in time for Christmas 2012, we'll work around the clock to finish and ship a limited number of these special incentives. *Please note that international backers may experience longer shipping times. We'll work hard, but we can't guarantee a specific delivery date.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (32 days)