At first glance, Node looks like a little LED flashlight, but upon closer inspection, you'll see that it's a powerful sensor that has the ability to do things like telling you if you've got a fever just by aiming its temperature-taking module at your forehead.
Node was created by Dr. George Yu, CEO of Variable Technologies, and was a project he put up on Kickstarter to get funded. Before beginning work on the Node, Yu worked with NASA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
There is no one configuration for Node. Node is made up of two parts: 1) the cylindrical body that charges via a Micro USB port and 2) the modules, which are interchangeable. Yu says to think of the Node like a Swiss army knife — it can be whatever you want it to be, so long as you have the appropriate modules.
There's A Module For That
Each module will relay different information to an app on an iPhone 4, iPad 3 or Android device via Bluetooth with a range of up to 50 meters.
For example, the KORE module consists of a triaxial accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope and can measure physical motion in space and orientation.
Another sensor is called CLIMA and it can measure temperature, humidity ans barometric pressure, which Yu says is ideal for measuring local climate, building efficiency, house inspection and home automation.
A third module sensor is called the LUMA, which is a series of eight bright LEDs that can be individually controlled or programmed for flash patterns.
Finally, our favorite module is the THERMA. This module can measure how hot or cold something is just by shining an infrared sensor at it. No more faking your fevers!
Ready, Set, Tinker!
As of March, the Node successfully managed to raise $76,340, or $26,340 more than its original $50,000 goal with only 373 backers.
With Node, Yu wants tinkerers to play with it and then come up with their own modules and apps. As of this writing, Variable Technologies has added a carbon monoxide and radiation sensor into the bag of purchasable modules for the Node.
game controller module.
The Node sells for $150, the KORE ($50), CLIMA ($50) and LUMA ($25) and THERMA ($75). All should be available by July 2012.
For more demo videos of the Node, hit up the Node's Kickstarter page.
With an open framework, who knows what developers will come up with. The Node can be anything you want it to be.