Kickstarter is quite the phenomena nowadays and I love stumbling across projects that incorporate the ARM architecture. oort is one that recently caught my eye as I was searching Prefundia, a new website that showcases projects about to launch on Kickstarter or other crowdfunding websites, and I knew right away it would be one of the few that would successfully surpass their funding goal.
And...what do you know, they just topped their $100,000 goal with less than three days to go in their campaign. Congratulations to the oort team! There is still time to back their Kickstarter project before they begin production.
I had the opportunity to ask their CTO "tech guru" Adam Handzlik a few questions about oort.
oort is a system of intelligent connected devices that lets users control their whole living environment with a single app on iOS or Android. It is the first complete, universal wireless Bluetooth Smart / iBeacon smart home solution and powers wireless communications for a wide range of devices – beacons, lights and power strips, among others – regardless of manufacturer.
oort lets users build their own IoT system. They decide which devices to purchase and aren’t restricted to one device manufacturer. Although the hub is necessary when you want wireless connectivity to your home devices, it isn’t required if you’re in close proximity because every device can be controlled via Bluetooth Smart. Moreover, everything is controlled with a single app that is available for iOS or Android.
oort Hub works with any Bluetooth Smart compatible device, regardless of the manufacturer. Competitors offerings rely on protocols such as ZigBee or Z-Wave to pair products with compatible devices, which ultimately reduces how many devices can work with their systems.
Yes, an entire family using different mobile devices can connect to the oort Hub. They can even connect via web browser. Of course, you’ll have to figure out the logistics in your own family when one sibling decides the lights need to be really bright and the radio really loud and another wants just the opposite.
oort will provide data to users from any device or sensors connected to their personal oort Hub. Our vision is to enable users to analyze every detail of their environment for limitless potential to dive deeply into their devices’ data to keep making their home smarter.
Our biggest challenge was deciding what to develop first. There are so many possibilities with the IoT that almost every day the team thinks of new product ideas comes to minds. Eventually we had to make a choice and narrow down the starting point for our IoT adventure.
oort is for people who want to build their own wireless smart home or business, but don’t want to have to use a different app to control each device individually. Imagine being able to use a phone or wearable device as a remote control for everything in a house or office. We knew that because we were designing a system for everyone to use, it had to be both easy to set up and affordable. Pairing takes minutes and it is easy for people to start building their own connected custom smart home ecosystems with their hubs.
Most of our connected devices use chipsets equipped with ARM Cortex-M0 processing core which controls BLE transceiver on one hand and multiple sensors on the other hand. In most cases this ARM microcontroller offers sufficient processing power while the system power consumption is minimal.
oort hub is a bit different. For it, we use ARM Cortex-A9 core which is powerful and has a lot of interfaces. Hub offers wireless connectivity (BLE and WiFi) in normal operation but we still use Ethernet, USB and UART communication interfaces for programming and testing as well as SD for data storage.
My first project was one I was really proud of, it was an electronic music synthesizer. It was quite complex and sounded like a true Moog synthesizer. I was a teenager still discovering new areas of electronics.
Talk about your ideas a lot and make lots of prototypes.
If I wasn’t an electronic engineer, I would become a musician. My next connected device will be an audio vacuum tube amplifier with BLE monitoring and control – the first connected vacuum tube audio amplifier on the market.