Hello, Maker of Sense, Nabs The Technical Head Of The Google Nexus Phone Program

Hello, the startup that smashed its Kickstarter goals by raising $2.4 million for an elegant, spherical sleep sensor called Sense, just poached Scott Bartlett, the technical lead behind Google’s Nexus phone program to be its director of hardware.

Notably, Bartlett was one of the people behind the Nexus Q, the failed media player from Google that ended up being a source of design inspiration for the Sense. The device, which fits into the palm of your hand, is a sensor that detects noise, light, temperature, humidity and particles in the air in your bedroom so you can sleep better.

Hello’s CEO James Proud, who was a Thiel Fellow, started talking to Bartlett about a year-and-a half ago. But things picked up again coincidentally during the course of the Kickstarter campaign.

“I’ve seen and been part of a number of transformations in computing going from desktop to portable, and then from handheld devices to wearables. I think all of these transitions are redefining what a personal computer is, and Hello is making that computer more personal,” Bartlett said. “It’s about understanding yourself as a person and how to make yourself a better person. This is another inflection point in computing.”

Sense is one of many smart sensors that have come into the market over the last few years. The space includes everything from wearables like Misfit’s activity tracker Shine to things like the Beddit sleep sensor out of Helsinki and even Apple’s new watch, which can detect heartbeats.

“This is a new category. Some people are going with wearables and we’re trying to go at it with a very different way of looking at the problem,” Bartlett said.

So far, Hello has done about 20,000 35,000 units in sales to about 20,000 individuals through the Kickstarter campaign. It’s $99 for the device plus something called the “Sleep Pill,” that you can clip to your pillow to track your nightly movements.

“This isn’t something that just a tech guy in San Francisco would want,” Proud said. “This is something we’ve seen moms in Australia and teenagers in France order.”