With its newly-launched Wunderbar starter developer kit and open source software, Dutch startup relayr is looking to make life easier for app developers wishing to create connected objects.
Creating a website or even a mobile app is now within reach of the general public. There are an increasing number of solutions available that make programming and development on the Internet much easier. And in addition to software assistance, companies are now emerging with the aim of facilitating hardware development. L’Atelier reported in June last year on EZ-Robot, a company which had just launched a robot creation kit for beginners. Now it is the turn of Dutch startup Relayr, currently based at the StartupBootcamp accelerator. The company has just kicked off a fund-raising campaign on the crowdfunding platform Dragon Innovation, the aim being to raise funds to produce and bring to market a hardware kit for developers designed to make it easier to experiment with building apps for the long-awaited Internet of Things. The kit, called WunderBar – which looks more like a chocolate bar than an electronic device – is a first step towards giving developers who lack hardware skills access to the Internet of Things before, perhaps later on, going to the mass market.
Simplifying the creation of connected objects
The ‘bar’ consists of a large WiFi-enabled piece that acts as the central hub or master module for the six remaining smaller pieces. The bar’s six ‘smart modules’ currently include sensors to monitor temperature, proximity, light, color, humidity, and movement. The main module talks to the sensor modules via Bluetooth, allowing data to be relayed from where they are placed in the local environmental back to relayr’s Cloud platform. The sensors can be placed almost anywhere, can be linked to personalized triggers and tied to notification rules, and are expected to run for about a year on a single battery.The data drawn from the physical world can then be used in an app. The company also intends to provide a set of libraries, tutorial software and example apps and promises that you will have your first app up and running in less than ten minutes. The development kit makes testing easier too, with a dashboard that allows developers to build and test simulations. The kit, which will sell at $149-plus, is scheduled to be on sale from May onwards.
Fertile ground for creation
WunderBar is however not the first-ever starter kit equipped with sensors for creating software. BITalino is a modular bio-signal sensor kit that makes it quicker and easier to build medical devices and health tracker apps. This European startup specializes in the health sector whereas WunderBar is designed for all software developers who want to build connected objects in a fun experimental way or for fast prototyping. In addition, certain elements of the WunderBar software will be open source, thus making it easier for developers to re-use existing models. The company hopes that this approach will provide fertile ground for creating apps. To date relayr has raised €250,000 in a friend-and-family round of funding and now hopes to obtain a further €500,000 from tech investors plus extra funds via the Dragon Innovation crowdfunding platform.