Android Central

A Kickstarter project out of Toronto called Ubi recently reached its funding goal for a tiny Android-powered computer that plugs directly into a power socket. It's riddled with sensors and hooks up to the local Wi-Fi network so it can push out notifications to your phone about the room's conditions - lights, temperature, sound, movement... Even humidity. It's got a full-sized USB and headphone jack and RF and Bluetooth capabilities for added connectivity. There's an LED light on the back plus speakers so the Ubi can do some communicating of its own, plus a decent amount of horsepower under the hood to keep things running (800 MHz processor, 1 GB of RAM). The unit itself will ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and is going to have its own app ecosystem with a handful launching with the device.

  • Voice-enabled Internet search
  • Speakerphone
  • Indicator light (light changing based on events, e.g. weather, stock, email)
  • Home speaker system with sound piping
  • Virtual assistant (audio calendar, feed reader, podcast etc)
  • Voice memos
  • Alarm clock
  • Intercom system
  • Baby monitor
  • Noise pollution monitor
  • Controlling the climate of your home perfectly (through web enabled thermostats like Nest) 

It's a pretty sweet little device by the looks of things. In some ways, I prefer Belkin's Wemo, since it has the ability to power on or off home appliances within a wide range of criteria, but maybe these two home accessories could work in tandem (especially if Ubi has support for IFTT). The main use case here is going to be making voice-activated web searches without even having to pick up your phone, but no doubt developers are going to find all sorts of other fun things to do with the Ubi. 

The funding campaign is ongoing, so if you want your own unit, you'll need to pitch in $189. They should be hitting retail in early 2013 for $199. Who's biting?

 

Reader comments

Ubi plug-mounted Android device gives your phone eyes and ears in the home

17 Comments

For a $100 maybe, $200 no way.
Now the engineer in wants to grab one of these and see whats inside and what else I can do with it. Looks like it could do some cool stuff!

Yeah, I prodded them for a look at how it would work on Android devices, and they sent me that new header picture of notifications running on the Nexus 7. 

It looks like it'd be a mess to configure, user notification/interaction isn't good enough, and it doesn't have straightforward interop with existing devices which is absolutely crucial.

A home system needs to function as a single "brain", not have a few independent little "brains" plugged in everywhere.

Other companies, like Motorola, are already working on better solutions.

Good idea but their implementation needs a crapload of work and I don't think they can correct that before better solutions hit the market.

I agree, one main "brain" with multiple sensors working wirelessly in different parts of the house communicating back to the central unit. That would also drive costs down as well and the sensors will be priced cheaper.

Heck, when I talk to my wife it is like talking to the wall anyways.....at least now with the Ubi the wall will respond back.

I'm not sure how to think of this, strange but pretty neat.

For some reason the only thing that keeps getting stuck in my head is it turning into HAL from Space Odyssey and taking control of my whole house.

the lights just turned on in your bedroom

romantic music just turned on in your bedroom

WTF my wife says shes at work

*drives home and catches wife cheating*

Is it only me? Am I the only one that think "Emperors New Clothes"??????

What a pile of ****. I smell something fishy here.
If this makes it to market I will be surprised, personally don't see it.

Keeping my money in my pocket thanks.