A few months ago, the guys at Seed Labs showed me an Internet of things product that piqued my interest. While the product isn’t quite fully-baked, it was essentially a low power Bluetooth chip that could fit into any device – a lightbulb, a kettle, a toaster – and report, without pairing, to a cellphone. In other words you could simply plug in a lamp and your phone would automatically find it and add it to your IoT network. It was, in short, amazing.
The team was quiet for a bit but now they’re ready launch a dev kit that lets you and me connect our toasters, light bulbs, and anything else to our phones with an ease that is, in fact, startling. Their hardware solution is currently available in a Dev Kit that is available for pre-order.
Why is this platform interesting? In the demo I saw, you could simply plug in an appliance and it would appear on your phone’s control panel. Unlike systems like WeMo which require extensive pairing or other more techie solutions like Spark, the assumption is you’ll have Seed inside your appliances and they will begin communicating immediately. Because of the limited range you won’t be able to connect to your neighbor’s Christmas lights or TV but you will be able to connect to your kitchen, configure all of the devices, and then start the rice cooker before you come home from work.
The project is still in its infancy but it’s a very interesting platform and, because I’ve seen it working, one of the most compelling IoT plays in a while. Will it ever make it into production? The team, led by Rafal Han, said they are working on appliance partnerships that could lead to some true human-lamp communication in the next few years.