A 10,000 foot view of Sense, Snap, Setup, Seek…

These names refer to the suite of hardware and software products we are developing.

We began our product development with a sensor, whose name could only be “Sense”. The rest of the family — Snap, Setup, Seek — followed.

SensePi : in the enclosure (with a 5 rupee coin for size reference).
And the innards. :)

Sense refers to the family of sensors . We don’t have 5 senses yet :) but we are getting there — we have created a PIR-based motion sensor (SensePi) and an active beam sensor (SenseBe). The next two in line are an acoustic sensor (SenseAc) and a thermal imaging sensor (SenseTi). In addition to the specific sensor that each Sense device is based on, each of them will also carry a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) chip. Our design will use this chip as a means to configure it via a mobile app, as well as communication with other devices.

Snap refers to the device that a Sense will report the alert to. Snap devices also carry a BLE chip for both communication and configuration. Snaps could be an interface to a camera or a phone or data collection device or a long range communication device that could propagate this alert further away. Our first iteration of Snap will be a camera trigger. The reason to separate the Sense from the camera with another device will be made apparent with the introduction of Seek.

Seek refers to the wireless communication protocol that Sense and Snap will use to talk to each other. This protocol will enable multiple Sense devices to wireless-ly trigger one or more Snap devices. No more messy cables. Seek is a custom protocol in the 2.4 GHz spectrum and allows many to many communication between the nodes. This way, a Sense only has to know to send the trigger over Seek. When that trigger is received by a Snap, it can trigger a camera, or save to a log, or further propagate the alert, based on its configuration. In addition, the same trigger can received by multiple Snaps to carry out parallel actions.

Setup is the app that can be used from android, or iOS or a web interface from any device with a BLE chip, to configure the Sense and Snap devices. Parameters like thresholds, trigger points, night or day mode, video or still mode are just a few swipes on your phone.

Setup: Scans for Appiko devices and connects to enable configuration.

Future posts will delve into more details of each product. All our work is open source and is on Github, so all details will be published and we look forward to collaborators and contributors.

So in the initial scenario that we had envisaged with camera traps, a Sense (SensePi) will detect motion and send a wireless signal via Seek to a Snap device that would be connected to a camera and click a picture. One or more SensePis could trigger one or more Snaps, enabling pictures to be taken from multiple angles or videos to begin shooting in advance of the subject entering the frame to provide continuity.

SensePi connected to a camera : on the lookout for visitors to our balcony

Where are we now?

We are almost done with the development of the SensePi device and the Setup app. We are currently working on developing the suite of tests to be done on each of the devices manufactured in the factory to ensure their quality.

SensePi will send triggers over a wire for now. The development of Seek is still a few months away.

Setup, the app, is an ionic framework app, and has already been deployed to Google play store for internal testing. The release of the iOS version is underway.

So that’s where we are. Development is going full steam ahead. And we hope to have more to share, more often from now on. Stay tuned!