As our homes become increasingly “smarter”, the race is on to create the must-have device that will allow us to manage our favorite tunes and videos, lock the doors, adjust the lights, and so forth. German-based startup Senic has tossed their hat in the ring with the Nuimo, a portable button that has not yet been launched, but generated enough buzz to raise more than $495K in crowdfunding support.
Nuimo is pretty simple in design, a small (78mm X 19mm in size and only 190g), round button with that allows users to control various online services, such as your favorite platform for streaming music or video, to adjust the lights or temperature, and so forth. But what I like about this device is that it is not simply a device that users can press to turn the lights, music, videos, etc. on or off, but can also be used to adjust the volume (through the metallic analog ring on the outside) or for other actions, depending on gestures that the user can set (this video provides a good idea of what I mean). The top of the device also includes an 11×11 programmable LED dot matrix that can provide simple notifications and demonstrates which actions the user has taken.
Senic states that the device comes with an exchangeable battery capable of lasting up to 4 months and is capable of connected through Bluetooth with your phone, tablet, or computer. What is cool about this product is that the company highlights the fact that they are manufacturing it in Germany, ostensibly ensuring that the workers are well-treated and allow buyers to contribute to the local economy.
This is not the first funding for Senic, as they actually participated in the program at Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator in 2013. Senic is similar to other hardware-focused startups in turning to crowdfunding, but this startup is unusual in that they have actually run two campaigns, initially picking up just over $285K from more than 2,500 backers (closed on April 30, 2015) on Indiegogo and then quickly jumping over to Kickstarter to take in a shade over $210K from just over 1,600 backers (closed on June 12). Running multiple campaigns, especially in quick succession, is a pretty unusual step, so Senic took to Medium to explain their reasoning. The full post is worth reading, but they essentially decided that they wanted to take the feedback from the first campaign and ship more products, expand the product’s capabilities (including integration with more “smart” devices in the home, for example), and become a leading Kickstarter campaign from the German market.
It may be too late to pick up one of the devices through Kickstarter or Indiegogo, but it is still available for pre-order at $159 through their website or later for $199. For those who do end up ordering one, the device is expected to arrive in October.
Back in October, we profiled the Bttn, a similar programmable button developed by a Finnish startup. The buttons strongly differ in terms of appearance, as well as price, with Bttn retailing for a one-off fee of 69 Euro or, if you operate a business, 7.90 Euro per month (minimum of 100 Bttns). Worth noting, however, that Senic attracted more than 5,000 backers through their crowdfunding campaigns while offering their device at the much higher price-point.