2014-01-17

Co.Labs

Want To Hack On The Internet Of Things? Meet WunderBar

Six ambient sensors and a microcontroller make up this homebrew kit styled to look like a chocolate bar.



WunderBar is a sensor and software kit for which you don’t need a degree in electronic engineering. We have seen a number of DIY kits lately which allow users with no technical background to build their own devices, from a computer you can build in 107 seconds to kits for building your own speakers.

WunderBar is designed specifically to get mobile app developers who do not have hardware experience started with the Internet of Things. The makers claim developers can build their WunderBar app in less than 10 minutes.

“Every beginning needs creativity,” says founder Jackson Bond, “a starter kit which allows you to play. There is no comparable offer in the market of which we know.” Wunderbar today launched a crowdfunding campaign on Dragon Innovation’s hardware-only platform.

WunderBar is designed to look like a chocolate bar--hence the name. The hardware part of the kit consists of a microcontroller connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi and to six sensors with Bluetooth low energy, the same technology used in Apple’s iBeacons. Break off a sensor, place it in your environment, and program via a REST API or SDKs for iOS and Android.

A cloud platform, which the team calls the OpenSensor Cloud, gathers sensor data, and persists it. Programmatic rules can be defined based on the sensor data resulting for example, in notifications to your app.

The sensors included in the kit measure temperature, proximity, light, color, humidity, movement. A fourth sensor contains an IR transmitter to control home entertainment devices. The final two sensors will be chosen by supporters of WunderBar’s crowdfunding campaign. Initial candidates include noise, air pressure, EMF (Electromotive Force), and moisture.

Bond knows which sensor he would like to see in the kit. “We’re really excited about turning one sensor into a Grove twig,” he says. “This would give developers access to Grove's 50+ sensors and actuators. It would also open the door to Arduino developers, giving them a Bluetooth LE module to start working with, and of course giving them access to our OpenSensor Cloud.” Grove is a set of plug-and-use electronics components, like sensors and controls, intended to be used with an Arduino-compatible shield.

Security is essential in any application that can be used to sense or control systems in the home. Each WunderBar has a unique certificate, which is exchanged with the server, allowing a secure SSL connection to the open sensor cloud. Oauth2 is used for authorization on the API.

WunderBar costs $119 for a limited number of early bird funders and $149 for everyone else. Funding packages go up to $1,300 for the Makerspace kit. The WunderBar is expected to be delivered in August 2014.

[Photo via Dragon Innovation]





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