An ingenious tech start-up has invented new hardware/ software that lets users automate pretty much anything, getting massive donations and support, leading Integreight's KickStarter campaign to become the most successful one coming out of Egypt...
Let's face it - modern living is hard work thanks to the never ending stream of daily tasks required just to make it through the day. From remembering to set your alarm and lock your door, to watering your plants and programming your remote control, it can be difficult to keep track even at the best of times.
Well, now the clever chaps Integreight – a cutting edge start-up, recently graduating from Flat6Labs’ accelerator programme – have created 1Sheeld – a device which they claim will allow the user to automate almost any home or hobbyist device using their smartphone. Now, if that wasn’t awesome enough – imagine your coffee machine pouring up the perfect cup, as soon as your alarm goes off in the morning or your front door not opening until you enter a secret pin-code on your phone – the Integreight team saw massive success and garnered global praise the moment they turned to KickStarter for funding. Their target to start producing their 1Sheeld chips was a humble $10,000. However, the ingenious of their idea and the fact that the 1Sheeld’s technology is so versatile (you can configure it to work with any of your smartphone’s software or hardware capabilities, from the LCD screen to the accelerometer, and all forms of connectivity from Wi-Fi to GSM), they raised a whopping $85,210, making it the most successful KickStarter campaign coming out of Egypt to date. We caught up with Integreight founder Amr Saleh and CTO Islam Mustafa, off the back of a momentous win at Berlin’s TechCrunch Disrupt Conference where the company was voted people’s choice start-up, to find out more.
How do you think your product will change the lives of users?
We believe that it's a new edge for hobbyists and students, it's a much cheaper alternative and will make use of the old Android phones instead of throwing them away.
Why do you think people were so willing to give to your start-up?
I think we managed to get the support of the community as because it was the first time for many to see a technology project on KickStarter coming from Egypt. A lot of pledges and support came from Egypt and once the campaign was launched it went viral, the heavy traffic on the campaign page and the pledges in the first few hours got us to the popular section on KickStarter.
In the promotional video, you demonstrate a number of uses for your product. Tell us about a few of your favourites:
Yes, it can be used in a lot of applications, here are some examples:
Home Automation: Of course, you can control your home with your phone and Arduino, like controlling heat, ventilation and air conditioning, yard watering, pet feeding and the list goes on. However, we’ve integrated a plugin to Tasker on Android. By linking Tasker to the hardware, you get a whole new experience of home automation. You can use any hardware event to trigger an action on the phone or vice versa, you can use a phone event to trigger an action on the hardware. Possibilities are endless!
Quadcopters: With the help of 1Sheeld, you can use multiple shields in the same application, hook Arduino, 1Sheeld and an Android phone to a Quadcopter, turn on the GPS and camera shields, set a pattern, write a decent code, and send your copter on a mission to photograph specific targets!
Social Media: 1Sheeld made it very easy to integrate social media posting capabilities to Arduino; with only a single line of code you can post to Twitter, Facebook, or even check-in on Foursquare. All of the hassle of dealing with different social media providers APIs is removed now and replaced with out-of-the-box methods.
How do you think your product differs than similar devices that fail to deliver?
Well, we finished complete prototypes of our product before launching the campaign itself, we tackled all the major issues and what's left is mainly the software and final touches in the hardware. We partnered with a manufacturing company in China to be able to deliver. Our most important focus is on quality, testing and delivering on time.
How will you use the KickStarter funding to further enhance the device?
We are now expanding the technical team, providing more resources which will help us add more features to the mobile app, providing more sensor shields and adding the ability to use multiple instances of the same shield.
What is your vision for a digital future?
We believe the Internet, especially, will play a great role in our lives. For example, your fridge will check if there are missing items and order them from the grocery store and your home appliances will be able to talk to each other. Getting machines connected to each other and to the Internet will surely make a revolution in hardware devices and for sure will raise the quality of our lives.
What’s next for your product? And have you got anything else in the pipeline?
We want to grow our library of shields to a 100 in less than a year, we need the community to contribute with half of them to be able to connect Arduino to anything hardware or even software. We are also working on another original product called Smart Breadboard which is a new prototyping kit for engineering students and hobbyists. We have a couple more ideas but we're focusing on 1Sheeld and Smart Breadboard right now.
Find out more about 1Sheeld on http://www.1sheeld.com/