Droplet Is A Bluetooth Button That Makes Reminders More Sticky


Image Credits:

At the end of March Amazon dropped what many assumed was an early April Fools’ joke: a physical, Internet-connected button (called Amazon Dash) intended to be stuck to household items like your washing machine so you can thoughtlessly reorder staple products like washing powder without even having to open your smartphone and use an ecommerce app.

But apparently Amazon’s lazy Internet of Things product-branded buttons were bona fide, not badly timed joke. Which means — inevitably — that more of these connected bridging interfaces betwixt existing ‘dumb’ objects and the capabilities of the Internet are on the way as startups spy an (apparent) opportunity to add a physical interface to everything. (Well, at least until all objects are ‘smart’ by default and can automatically track and quantify our existence.)

To wit: Droplet, a Bluetooth button designed to stick onto your stuff and deliver configurable functionality such as reminders or custom messages. It takes the push-button ease of Amazon Dash as its jumping off point but is promising a “highly configurable” experience — whereas Amazon of course just wants to shovel more revenue into its yawning coffers. Droplet is also positioning itself as a consumer device from the get-go, vs the b2b focus of another wireless button startup, Bttn.

“Droplet helps users manage any and all tasks, whether it’s reminding, tracking, or automating internet actions,” says co-founder Sohan Japa, when asked how it compares with Amazon’s staple reordering button. “Unlike the Dash, each Droplet is highly configurable and can be assigned for many roles. Whether it is to trigger an SMS to a loved one or tracking work hours into a spreadsheet, Droplet can be tailored to the individual and its actions can be changed at any time.”

He says the Droplet button is also smaller than Dash, and designed to be “discreet and portable” — with the team suggesting use-cases such as attaching it to medicine and supplement bottles and caps as a reminder for taking pills, or lettings others know you’ve taken your pills.

Why is a hardware button reminder better than just using a reminder app? Because these custom notifications can only be dismissed by going to the physical location and pushing the button itself. Ergo, you’re more likely to actually complete the task, rather than just dismissing the notification (or that’s the theory).

Other ideas for Droplet are as chore reminders to do stuff like take out the trash, water the planets, or feed the fish. Or for tracking exercise activity (although really a wearable seems a lot better placed for that). Or tracking personal hygiene regimes. And so on.

Whatever forgetful tasks or quantifiable activities you think it would be useful to stick a tracking button on to keep tabs on — albeit the price per Droplet (which starts at $39 per button) will probably curb your enthusiasm somewhat. Each Droplet also has a limited lifespan of around a year; once the battery expires so too does the button. Natch.

The Bluetooth button requires a plug-in hub that hooks into your home Wi-Fi, and sucks up all your button-based data to Droplet’s cloud servers (so this is not a scenario privacy-conscious types will welcome), and has a companion iOS or Android app where you can configure the content and type of notifications (email, text, call etc) you want from each Droplet, and how often it should ping you. The app will also offer data visualization of your usage and routines in graph form.


The San Francisco-based startup, which was founded back in 2013, is launching Droplet on Kickstarter today to try to raise $80,000 in crowdfunding from people willing to expand the quantity of notifications in their life (via the promise of greater utility) and turn their current (working) prototype into a shipping product, starting in December.

Droplet is not the team’s first startup. Japa was pitching a prior startup, HealthCrew, on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt NY last May. While his co-founder Joshua Newth previously worked at a medical device startup, Cardica. The team is advised by Lex Bayer, who is also a seed investor. They have otherwise been bootstrapping development up to this point.

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.

2 days 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