Ex-Nokians Crowdfund A Device To Democratize The Internet Of Things


Image Credits:

Nokia’s exit from the mobile making market earlier this year, selling its devices division to Microsoft who went on to make swingeing staff cuts in the acquired division, has a silver lining in bolstering the local startup scene, via all this freed up expertise in connected devices.

Haltian, a Finnish design services startup, is one such ex-Nokia staff startup. It designs and builds connected hardware for others but is now also taking a crowdfunding route to push a connected developer device of its own to market, with the aim of lowering the barrier of entry to the Internet of Things (IoT).

The sensor-stuffed device, called Thingsee One, is designed to democratize the IoT by allowing users to easily configure a particular function, i.e. without needing to be a software programmer or hardware tinkerer to do so.

The lozenge-shaped Thingsee One resembles a chunky mobile phone and contains a smorgasbord of radio tech and sensors, including 2G GPRS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, light sensor, pressure sensor — so it can sense when it’s tilted, rolled, accelerated, plus monitor various environmental conditions such as light and dark, whether it’s raining, and more. It’s ruggedized and waterproofed for outdoor use, contains a 1,900 mAh battery and also packs in a monochrome display screen.

The user is then able to select and configure the particular combination of sensors they need to power their own project using a companion mobile app (Android or iOS).


Or that’s the promise. For now Thingsee is a prototype, with Haltian looking for $99,000 on Kickstarter to bulk buy components to ship the gizmo at a $149+ price-point next April. It’s one of several dev kits for IoT being cooked up, although others — such as relayr’s Wunderbar and the health-focused BITalino sensor kit — require more developer chops to be put to work, especially on the software side.

Thingsee started life as a shipping tracking project but evolved into a multifunctional connected DIY IoT device mostly as a result of the team’s expertise in connected devices, says co-founder Ville Ylläsjärvi. He says they also spotted an opportunity to lower the barrier of entry to all sorts of connected hardware applications. “When our engineers started talking about other uses for the hardware — everyone seemed to have one,” he adds.

The Thingsee One’s Kickstarter page details a few potential applications, such as sending notifications when mail has been delivered to a physical postbox, tracking people and triggering notifications when someone strays outside a geofenced area, along with various hobby scenarios such as mapping and monitoring location or tracking variables like speed and acceleration.

Beyond hobbyists and consumer users, Haltian sees a market for Thingsee One to help startups quickly pilot business ideas — without having to get their hands dirty building any hardware for the test phase.

“We provide a flexible hardware platform and developer tools for people that want to build a working IoT application or service, but do not want to enter into a  difficult and expensive hardware development project,” says Ylläsjärvi. “Thingsee One can be configured to serve the solution and be used from development to customer use.”

He says the device can also offer something to embedded software developers who want to hack the hardware and extend its capabilities. “Thingsee One can simply be a developer platform, but the developer can also test their solutions in real time and in real context, without the need to build a prototype hardware design themselves. This speeds up exploration,” he adds. “Thingsee One is also good for real life hacks, as it can take a little hits and allows developers to explore their code in practise.”

The Thingsee OS is based on the NuttX real-time operating system, with a little “added spice”, but the software is also open source so can be flashed with another OS if a developer wishes.

Haltian has been funding work on Thingsee through its other business, but as with many Finnish startups it has also had a helping hand from the taxpayer-funded Tekes Finnish Funding Agency For Innovation.

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

1 day ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo