March 9, 2014 at 4:29 pm

SXSW: Kinoma’s Web-Friendly Kits Could Put Like, Ban, Skip Buttons on Your Walls

We eagerly await the moment when some enterprising hardware company builds service-agnostic buttons that you can stick on your wall, to like, heart, and ban your music without navigating through a bunch of smartphone screens or walking over to a computer like some sort of premillennial caveperson.

That day has yet to come, but it’s getting closer.

Marvell’s Kinoma, which also makes a Connect app for playing music on devices around the home via DLNA, launched a hacker kit on Sunday at SXSW called Kinoma Create, a “JavaScript-powered Internet of Things construction kit.” The project has already reached its funding goal on Indiegogo – it costs $99 for early funders there, and $149 after its release.

Kinoma Create lets any web developer (as opposed to a embedded hardware programmer) make anything from a DIY fishtank monitor to a door sensor that starts the music playing when you open a door by combining “a power-efficient system-on-chip; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity; a capacitive touchscreen; and numerous input/output options for external sensors, LEDs, and input devices.”

One thing that differentiates Kinoma Create is that it’s designed for web developers to use, even if they have never programmed bespoke hardware systems.

“We’re taking a classic developer product — people have been working with breadboards forever — and trying to get it in the hands of the creative community,” explained Kinoma vice president Peter Hoddie. “Our main goal is to get this in front of web developers, because they are the ones who are creative, have the ability to make things that look great, that work great, and they know how to connect them to the web, too. The classic embedded programmer doesn’t want to hear about a network connection at all.”

One hardware project on display at SXSW was a fish tank monitoring and control system, inspired by one developer having lost a tank full of fish when a pump failed. By adding multiple sensors to the tank, as well as controls for the pump, temperature, and other aspects of the tank, the developer will have hopefully prevented that from happening again. “The system took two weeks to build,” said Hoddie, “and his day job is that he’s an IT guy in a lawyer’s office… I think music is a perfectly natural place to take that, and as we get it out there more, we’ll see.”

Given our obsession with wall-mounted buttons for controlling apps, we put the question to Hoddie: Could this system let a web programmer build Like, Ban, and Skip buttons and put them on a wall, so we don’t have to stare at our screens quite so much in the future?

“It would be very easy, in fact,” said Hoddie. “I think you’re right on it with these big things that are custom-built for a particular purpose. I was having a conversation with someone the other day, and they were like, ‘Why do I need (this particular product we were showing them), when I could run this app on my phone to do the same thing? I said, ‘Yeah, because you don’t want to reach into your pocket and dig out your phone [and unlock it and jump through menus] — if this is something you do a lot, you want it in your house at that level.”

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  • Latheef a

    Hi friends
    It is very good idea and product. It is an out of the box hardware for embedded developers.Wish u all the success.
    with regards